Some people will recognize "open your eyes" as a quote from an upcoming video game that releases on Nintendo Switch, but it is more than that. It doesn't just mean that you should make predictions while essentially being blindfolded by your own choice. Open Your Eyes is also the name of the level 3 finisher of Baten Kaitos Origins' character Milliarde that hits all enemies for high damage. That's what this thread is going to do.
Over the past couple of days it was hard to miss how negative this forum has been in regards to Switch's sales prospects. What bothers me the most is that the vast majority of people think that decline for Nintendo is a given, some even going as far as already high-fiving each other because now it's only a wait of a couple of years more until they will be able to play Nintendo games on PlayStation. I know it stings that PS has sold hundreds of millions consoles, but has always missed out on the best games; people long for the day that this devastatingly long streak comes to an end.
At this point some people will already be upset enough to hammer in an angry response, but you really should read on. I am going to challenge the assumption that Nintendo has nowhere to go but down, so I will list many smaller assumptions that typically feed into the one big assumption. Not everything will apply to everyone, but at least something has to apply to everyone, otherwise you wouldn't arrive at the one big assumption that makes you throw out numbers like 20, 30, 40 or 50m units lifetime
1. "Nintendo's mindshare is on the decline."
Let's start with an obvious one. People aren't interested in Nintendo anymore. They have given up on them. But is this really true?
Since we are on a sales website, it stands to reason that we use sales data to make predictions. If we look at what Nintendo has done in the recent past, we won't get around their smartphone games which had a verifiably positive effect on Nintendo's hardware and software sales. When Nintendo announced that they would be making smartphones and provided their strategic outlook, people kept ignoring it and instead opted for the line of thinking that Nintendo is selling out or already planning their exit from the dedicated gaming hardware market. But instead things played out like Nintendo expected and the sales of their dedicated gaming hardware and software received notable boosts. Following the release of Pokémon Go, the 3DS won an NPD month out of nowhere and was up year-over-year in all following months. Japan showed a similar effect. For Europe we don't get any numbers, except for Nintendo's shipments; they were up too.
Nintendo's strategy for IP awareness is working. Nintendo's mindshare is on the rise.
2. "Most Nintendo fans here don't like the Switch all that much."
This is expanded on with reasons like "price is too high" and "Nintendo fans want powerful hardware." But how many of those people are really worth listening too?
For starters, most of those people bought a Wii U for $350. At that point a red flag should go up, because we are on a sales website and can easily check whether or not someone's opinion is in line with actual market reception. Since the Wii U was a huge failure, anyone who thought that it was worth $300 isn't exactly the best person to talk to when it comes to judging price and value of a Nintendo console. Regarding powerful hardware, we have options to look at. Firstly, the GameCube is the best example of powerful Nintendo hardware; it was a failure. Secondly, if Nintendo fans truly valued powerful hardware, then each Nintendo home console should have comfortably outsold its handheld counterpart in each generation; sales data begs to differ.
An irrelevant minority shouldn't go into sales analysis, or at the very least should not be considered as representative of the majority.
3. "Switch is screwed because people got burned by the Wii U. People don't trust Nintendo anymore."
A look at sales data should make it obvious that the majority of Nintendo fans skipped the Wii U altogether, so the only people who got burned by game delays and droughts are the ones who bought a Wii U. Everybody else didn't really give a damn about the Wii U to begin with and the only hard feelings that would have existed date back to over five years ago when Nintendo announced that they would make a piece of trash. Sane people do not hold grudges over video games forever.
Also worth of note, Nintendo is clearly rebranding itself. A new generation means that a company can get rid of baggage. GC being a failure didn't harm the Wii.
4. "No Western multiplatform support means that Switch is dead on arrival."
Sales data of all previous Nintendo systems shows that multiplatform support, especially from the West, didn't play much of a role. Nintendo isn't like PS and Xbox, and people do not buy Nintendo systems to play PC ports. The most important games from America and Europe (important means that we can say they have a notable positive effect on Nintendo's hardware sales) that are still relevant today are IPs like LEGO, Skylanders and Just Dance. Nintendo has no trouble getting them anyway.
5. "The Switch launch lineup is weak."
For the love of Din, Farore and Nayru, take a look at sales data! Notice a pattern here? You are supposed to use numbers, not feelings, when making sales predictions. In March and April Nintendo will already have ticked the boxes for epic single player game (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and massively popular multiplayer game for both online AND offline modes (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). How many consoles in the past launched with such juggernauts?
"But Zelda and Mario Kart are on the Wii U."
What did I say about sales data? Use it, you simpleton. Not only was the Wii U a huge failure, but ports of great games have sold well on previous consoles. Market reception tells us that games like The Last of Us, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and, of course, Grand Theft Auto V are more desirable than almost all of the new stuff that has come out.
And if you belong to the trolls who push lines like "Nintendo fans buy the same games over and over again" and "Nintendo fans buy anything Nintendo puts out", then that would be all the more reason that you conclude that the Switch launch lineup is a beast.
6. "Nintendo didn't show many of their own games. Looks like there will be Wii U-like droughts again."
You are too used to other console reveals where wild promises and announcements are made. All Nintendo games that were announced are scheduled for 2017. You are also oblivious to the fact that Switch will get all of Nintendo's games as Switch will be the only Nintendo console this generation. Droughts like on the Wii U are simply not going to happen.
7. "Nintendo can't sell a system primarily with their own games."
Ever heard of sales data? You can browse the topseller lists of all Nintendo systems here on VGC. Take a look at Nintendo's two most recent consoles:
There are ten unique IPs that sold more than 4m copies with individual installments. No other video game developer has such a varied and successful portfolio of IPs. Nintendo games have always been the main pillars for success, regardless of how many third party games were put on their platforms.
8. "3DS and Wii U hardware had no problems, or at least not as many as Switch has."
I don't think anybody would say this, but a lot of you must be thinking it regardless. If you expect further decline for Nintendo this generation, you basically must believe that the 3DS and Wii U were better executed than Switch.
What is wrong with you?
9. "Nintendo's addressable market is limited to Wii U and 3DS owners."
Oh man, this is the point where you really have to open your eyes and not be so narrow-minded. You let your personal feelings dictate your sales predictions. "Switch is expensive, doesn't have Western multiplatform games etc." You project your idea of what console gaming has to be on everyone else. You believe that people who do not own and want an eighth generation system (Wii U, 3DS, PS4, PSV, XB1) are not interested in consoles, period. You don't want to consider the possibility that all of the eighth generation systems might suck to a lot of people. I mean, look at the choices of the eighth gen: Nintendo does what they want with no respect for previous sales data, Sony and Microsoft offer dumbed down PC gaming, plus a handheld that doesn't get any games worth of note.
Now Switch comes and offers completely different values. A passionate gamer who couldn't care less about the crappy eighth gen could look at Nintendo's new console and say: "Zelda is a massive open world game again, that's right up my alley because that's the Zelda I loved. I can take this thing to my office, effortlessly set it up during breaks and rock games like Mario Kart, Bomberman and Street Fighter 2 with my colleagues. And it's only $300? Are you kidding me?"
The point is, the value evaluation for Switch in the real world will be very different to what is done on gaming forums where local multiplayer and leaving your house are frowned upon. In the real world the gaming of the NES and SNES days is highly valued. On gaming forums SNES games are considered worse than indie games, because "indie games are newer". Switch is set up to resonate strongly with the passionate gamer of the old days who nowadays has no console made for them. If you weren't so close-minded, you'd realize that Nintendo doesn't even need non-gamers to make Switch a big success. There is a large market that is not properly catered to, and that's the former gamer.
10. "Switch's price is too high."
This is the best point that is made for why the Switch will have problems. But is it really that big of a concern? What are the alternatives to Switch? There is none, so Nintendo can be bullish with the price. Eventually it will come down and have different bundles.
I'll leave this thread incomplete because it is already too long as it is. Discussions on VGC should make more use of sales data again. It's not smart to assume everything will stay as it is, because when did that ever hold true? It's also not smart to underestimate Nintendo. The VGC community still feels the burn from Splatoon where it was a foregone conclusion that the game would fail because Nintendo's trajectory was one of failure and the game was different in pretty much every way to regular shooters. And now the community looks at Switch and doesn't hesitate for a second to use the same logic that was applied to Splatoon. Did you not learn anything? Switch offers different values than any console Nintendo has made before.
Didn't proofread, so there's a good chance that some things are missing in the points that I brought up. Want to watch football now. I regret that I didn't put in more insults, but that stuff requires fine-tuning.