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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Switch: a multi-wave console lifecycle (prediction)

 

The future of the Switch

A long life-cycle within 1 hardware revision 18 34.62%
 
A long life-cycle with ma... 28 53.85%
 
A short lifecycle then a ... 6 11.54%
 
Total:52

In 2006, Nintendo launched its biggest-selling home console of all time. The Nintendo Wii was a platform that hosted new gaming experiences, new motion controls and family-gathering experiences that shocked the gaming world.

In 2009/2010, the Wii was riding the peak of its popularity, with big-hitters like Donkey Kong Country Returns (6.50m), Wii Sports Resort (32.90m), Wii Fit Plus (21.82m), Just Dance (7.21m, 9.45m, 10.14m, 6.89m, 3.89m), New Super Mario Bros Wii (28.51m), Wii Party (10m), Super Mario Galaxy 2 (7.57m), Zumba Fitness (6.76m), Michael Jackson: The Experience (4.37m), Epic Mickey (3.02m), Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition (2.62m), Lego Harry Potter (2.45m), Udraw Studio (2.44m), Monster Hunter Tri (2.23m), Kirby's Epic Yarn (2.09m) and more.

But from 2011 onward, other than the beautifully romantic yet underwhelming (sales-wise) Skyward Sword, there were few games that managed to captivate the Wii ownerbase and maintain the popularity of the Wii brand. Some exceptions are 3rd party sure-sellers like Just Dance 3, 4, 2014, 2015, Mario & Sonic 2012 (in partnership with Sega), Skylanders, Zumba fitness 2, Mario Sports Mix (in partnership with Square Enix), Disney Infinity, Lego (Pirates, Star Wars), Go Vacation and some other 3rd-party sellers that made it over 1.5m. But when it came to 1st-party games, there were only 3 over-1.5m sellers when counting Mario Party 9 (3.20m) and Kirby's return to dreamland (1.66m).

Fast-forward past the misbranded Wii U to the Nintendo Switch. This amazing gadget combines AAA Nintendo home-console experiences with the convenience and bite-sized gaming of the portable line. So far, the Switch has had a steady release of games, and a high, stable sales momentum. Kick-started with the legendary Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the console gained a snowball momentum over time to have already sold 56m units to date (since its release on March 3rd 2017), and has enjoyed juggernaut releases such as Smash Ultimate, Pokemon S/S and Super Mario Odyssey.

Enter 2020, the year of the Corona Virus. For the past two months, little has been heard from Nintendo about new 1st party launches after Animal Crossing. While AC is a hugely popular release that will allow the Switch to sustain popularity over the coming quiet rest of 2020, it feels like there is a pause, a silence, and something to come. In end of May and early June, the switch is expecting some nice releases alongside the early months of Animal Crossing, such as Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, three 2K trilogy packs in the worlds of Borderlands, Bioshock and XCom, and a number of interesting games on the e-shop. Also, Barevely Default II is releasing in late 2020. Still it seems as though the Switch is expecting some kind of 2nd wave.

Enter Breath of the Wild 2. The game is expected to come out after 2020, most likely in mid 2021. Since the game is built on the same engine as BotW and is a direct sequel, it should not be too long until people can get their eager hands on it. On the Mario side of things, many people are also expecting a number of games to be rereleased for the 35th anniversary of Mario that is happening this year. Due to delays that may have been caused by the Corona virus (some reports have said that Japan is struggling to maintain productivity with the work-from-home setup), we might see them instead in 2021. Metroid Prime 4 is expected to come out in either 2021 or 2022 (thanks Rol for the correction: the game was announced in 2019 to have been restarted by Retro). And of course there's Bayo 3!! (thanks aiko 😅) It is also interesting that when games don't come out, we know that the Nintendo studios are busy churning new games. 

From a hardware perspective, it is also expected that the Switch's successor may not be a new platform but rather a major hardware revision which would allow new capabilities in games but support the original version hardware and games. These expectations, along with the release of BotW2 in 2021, would suggest that the management at Nintendo would be worlds away from reproducing the same error that we saw with the Wii from 2011-2013 by abandoning the platform to uncommitted 3rd party partners. Perhaps instead we will be seeing a new "soft" launch, characterized by a new wave of software led by Breath of the Wild 2. In that scenario, the switch would maintain another life-cycle mid-term and perhaps enjoy the longevity of legendary consoles such as the gameboy and the NES. Show your vote about this in the poll!

Last edited by padib - on 04 May 2020

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I think the Switch is going to get several hardware revisions just like the GBA, DS and 3DS did.  Nintendo is unbeatable in the handheld business.  Since Switch is a hybrid (both home and handheld) they are going to lean on the strategies that come from their handheld side.  That is where they have been the most successful.



It's possible... but there are risks in going that way. Fragmenting your fanbase is a tricky thing. We didn't see very many "New" 3DS games that were successful. Similarly, only a few Game Boy Color games outside of Pokemon were really big. And even Wii games with Motion Plus were hampered by hardware fragmentation.

Unless they've solved this problem, I don't know if that's a good idea. If they can effectively boost the switch through a dock, that may be a way to do it, but as I understand, that's not possible with the hardware.



JWeinCom said:
It's possible... but there are risks in going that way. Fragmenting your fanbase is a tricky thing. We didn't see very many "New" 3DS games that were successful. Similarly, only a few Game Boy Color games outside of Pokemon were really big. And even Wii games with Motion Plus were hampered by hardware fragmentation.

Unless they've solved this problem, I don't know if that's a good idea. If they can effectively boost the switch through a dock, that may be a way to do it, but as I understand, that's not possible with the hardware.

The beauty of hardware revisions with the new APIs is that games would be compatible with all versions, with certain visual enhancements off on the weaker hardware, a bit like the Xbox One S and X versus the original Xbox One, or the Playstation 4 Pro versus the original. It is also similar to the continual, incremental versions of mobile phones, and apps growing with it. In that way, it would be the solution to fragmentation.



padib said:
JWeinCom said:
It's possible... but there are risks in going that way. Fragmenting your fanbase is a tricky thing. We didn't see very many "New" 3DS games that were successful. Similarly, only a few Game Boy Color games outside of Pokemon were really big. And even Wii games with Motion Plus were hampered by hardware fragmentation.

Unless they've solved this problem, I don't know if that's a good idea. If they can effectively boost the switch through a dock, that may be a way to do it, but as I understand, that's not possible with the hardware.

The beauty of hardware revisions with the new APIs is that games would be compatible with all versions, with certain visual enhancements off on the weaker hardware, a bit like the Xbox One S and X versus the original Xbox One, or the Playstation 4 Pro versus the original. It is also similar to the continual, incremental versions of mobile phones, and apps growing with it. In that way, it would be the solution to fragmentation.

Maybe, but would this limit how far Nintendo can advance the hardware?  And if so would that make it harder to port games from the next gen systems?



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Switch likely wont have any more first party releases this year because of delays both from working from home and Nintendo's high internal standards. They will ride the animal crossing momentum as long as they can, but it will dry out eventually.



Dyotropic said:
Switch likely wont have any more first party releases this year because of delays both from working from home and Nintendo's high internal standards. They will ride the animal crossing momentum as long as they can, but it will dry out eventually.

Eh... I'm not really seeing the connection between this and the OP.  There's already a topic about Nintendo's releases for the rest of this year, so if that's what you'd like to discuss, that's the place to do so.

Edit:  Nvm.  Rereading the OP I kind of see the connection.  Still, I think the focus here is more about overall life cycle of the console, so lets keep it there.



JWeinCom said:
padib said:

The beauty of hardware revisions with the new APIs is that games would be compatible with all versions, with certain visual enhancements off on the weaker hardware, a bit like the Xbox One S and X versus the original Xbox One, or the Playstation 4 Pro versus the original. It is also similar to the continual, incremental versions of mobile phones, and apps growing with it. In that way, it would be the solution to fragmentation.

Maybe, but would this limit how far Nintendo can advance the hardware?  And if so would that make it harder to port games from the next gen systems?

It seems like the ability to port next-gen games is up to the strength of the dev that does the port. A good example is the port of the Witcher 3 that is a generation ahead of the Switch in terms of graphical capabilities.

Another interesting item is the impact people are expecting from the new NVMe SSDs that are expected to hit the PS5 and XsX, and how this component and new data io strategies will allow the consoles to zap loading times and increase the amount of data available per frame. This kind of upgrade would be available in a hardware revision. Of course it would make the original Switch slow in comparison, but the upgrade could be optional in games depending on the HW revision you're playing on.

There was also a really interesting thread on NVidia's DLSS v2.0 and its increased fidelity in producing quality 1080 to 4k upscaling or even very good implementations for 520 to 1080, meaning that the hardware would be required to do less churning to produce comparable results. It also makes it that the game would be the same on a weaker and  newer revision, but boosted with such a tech. https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread/242226/how-the-switch-2-could-do-4k120fps/1/

Then we also know that the next major graphical leap next gen is ray-tracing. The feature can already be turned on or off on games like minecraft, so similarly the new revision could pull off ray tracing, while leaving it off on the OG Switch.

That's as far as I can write to you, but the best way to look at it is to see how games are compatible across multiple builds in the world of PC gaming, so we can use that as a way to see what's possible in a multi-revision paradigm.

@Dyotropic said:

"Switch likely wont have any more first party releases this year because of delays both from working from home and Nintendo's high internal standards. They will ride the animal crossing momentum as long as they can, but it will dry out eventually."

Sorry, having trouble multi-quoting on mobile. I think you're right about 2020, but I doubt that Nintendo would allow a drought to last too long, and risk losing momentum on the Switch which is still wildly popular. I mean this, whether they launch a new console or pursue the Switch platform over the long haul.

Last edited by padib - on 05 May 2020

padib said:
JWeinCom said:

Maybe, but would this limit how far Nintendo can advance the hardware?  And if so would that make it harder to port games from the next gen systems?

It seems like the ability to port next-gen games is up to the strength of the dev that does the port. A good example is the port of the Witcher 3 that is a generation ahead of the Switch in terms of graphical capabilities.

Another interesting item is the impact people are expecting from the new NVMe SSDs that are expected to hit the PS5 and XsX, and how this component and new data is strategies will allow the consoles to zap loading times and increase the amount of data available per frame. This kind of upgrade would be available in a hardware revision. Of course it would make the original Switch slow in comparison, but the upgrade could be optional in games depending on the HW revision you're playing on.

There was also a really interesting thread on NVidia's DLSS v2.0 and its increased fidelity in producing quality 1080 to 4k upscaling or even very good implementations for 520 to 1080, meaning that the hardware would be required to do less churning to produce comparable results. It also makes it that the game would be the same on a weaker and  newer revision, but boosted with such a tech. https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread/242226/how-the-switch-2-could-do-4k120fps/1/

Then we also know that the next major graphical leap next gen is ray-tracing. The feature can already be turned on or off on games like minecraft, so similarly the new revision could pull off ray tracing, while leaving it off on the OG Switch.

That's as far as I can write to you, but the best way to look at it is to see how games are compatible across multiple builds in the world of PC gaming, so we can use that as a way to see what's possible in a multi-revision paradigm.

I don't think there will be anything on the PS5 that can't be ported to the next Switch, or even this Switch for that matter.  But, the bigger the gap, the more difficult it will be.  

As for the rest of the stuff, I'm too tech illiterate to understand anything beyond SSD.



wow did not mention bayonetta 3... sexist! kidding :P

but yeah i think nintendo might do a second wave of switch.... They only have one console to take care off, so might be very doable