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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
aikohualda said:

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

Samus is a woman, I'm safe! :PP



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I am not sure what exactly you are trying to say with the headline and thread content. One correction that I want to get out upfront is that Nintendo confirmed in January 2019 that development of Metroid Prime 4 got restarted by Retro Studios, so since then the game hasn't been expected to release before fall 2021.

Nintendo won't abandon Switch like the Wii, because for one, they don't have as many consoles to juggle (DS, Wii, 3DS and Wii U during the transitional period), and two, they don't have as many consoles anymore. The 3DS saw prolonged first party support after Switch had launched, Switch will eventually be the low-price Nintendo console that the 3DS was and it's important for Nintendo to cover both the low end and high end of the price range with both their hardware and software.

But until then Nintendo is going to ride Switch and make its lifecycle as long as realistically possible. This year will have at most value-added bundle; I don't expect a price cut on either model, nor do I expect the launch of a new model. Fall 2021 would then be a good point in time to launch a set of revisions akin to the New 3DS where both Switch and Switch Lite get better battery life and screens (but no significant boosts to processing power) while inheriting the $299 and $199 price points. Another form factor may very well be introduced down the line too, but that timing will really depend on the sales performance of the other SKUs. Price cuts will inevitably happen at some point, but that too depends on sales. One year ago it was expected that Switch would see a price cut in 2020, but now hardly anyone believes that anymore because the sales have been too good.

Out of the three poll options, "a long lifecycle with many revisions" is the most reasonable one. All Switch consoles are portable, and portable means that there's always room for tangible improvement in the form of battery life because that's something that has value to virtually every consumer. The term "second wave" is appropriate in the sense that most of Nintendo's top development teams got their first wave of games out in 2017, so they were always lined up for lower output in 2018 and 2019, followed by a more dense concentration of new releases in 2020 and 2021. Switch is Nintendo's only console, so their developers weren't going to work on anything else. Nintendo's second string developers haven't done a bad job to maintain momentum in 2018 and 2019, and their next wave of games would be coming in 2021 and 2022.

The above is really why there hasn't been a big visible benefit of Nintendo having only one console yet. It was always normal for a Nintendo console to have a strong first three years, so the major difference will only materialize once people see that the following three years are on par or even better than the first three years, because a strong release schedule in the later years has not been the norm for Nintendo consoles due to the responsibility of supporting two consoles concurrently.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Given the technological age we live, I think the lines between new console short life span vs new iterations long lifespan is a bit tricky. What I hope to see is a "switch 2". Its a switch with a massive power boost. Too powerful to be considered a "switch pro" but expanding off the same technology as the switch, making it 98% backwards compatible w little to no dev effort. Now u could argue that since it will play all (w very few exceptions) all the switch games that its a new iteration of the switch. Since the new games would command too much power for the og then id be inclined to call it a new system. In my perfect world, nintendo is already working w 3rd parties to make late ps4 & early ps5 games capable of running on switch 1 or 2 years after the ps series s releases. Hopefully we can get some same day releases and I can finally stop buying 2 consoles a generation. Thats the dream at least. Side note for perspective- I dont care about portability, I just want to play big AAA titles on the same system im playing zelda and metroid prime.



I guess it depends on how the tech and the market evolve over time. Nintendo has a lot of reasons to ride out the Switch longer than their usual 4-5 year life cycles. But with the Switch being in between the end of the current-gen consoles and the beginning of the next-gen consoles, future third party support can be tricky as we don't know how many third party developers will continue to support the Switch, even if it reaches 100 million units. The Switch will be even less powerful compared to Xbox Series X and PS5, but distinguished enough (in price, features, purpose, library, etc.) that it still has a place in the market (which shows in the current environment, even when FFVII Remake, DOOM Eternal, P5R, and other high-end console games have recently released).

The Switch 2 (or whatever it will be) will be an interesting piece of tech. While the tech is there, it would have to be timed appropriately. Nintendo would want to avoid selling consoles at a loss (which partly why they released the OG Switch at $300). Would a Switch 2 be reasonable at $350? $300? I remember some people online were taken aback when they learned that the Switch was going to launch at $300, especially when the PS4 was being sold around that price (or less) at the time and had a more established library and greater market- and mindshare. Would the Switch 2 be powerful enough to get ports from next-gen games? And how would that affect Nintendo's output?



The Game Boy-Game Boy Color wasn't really a planned thing by Nintendo, when people cite that they need to know what they're talking about. Game Boy sales had collapsed by 1995-96 (from a peak of about 16 mill/year down to about 5 mill/year).

Nintendo was working on a 32-bit Game Boy successor codenamed Atlantis at the time. It was supposed to actually be far more powerful than the GBA, it was even supposed to display 3D graphics, I'd guess probably like maybe a Sega 32X range system.

The system had development problems and never came out. So they rushed Virtual Boy to the market because Yamauchi wanted at least something to help make up for declined Game Boy sales. That flopped.

Then something completely unprecedented happened, Pokemon, which no one expected to be a hit, took off in Japan and Game Boy sales started to rise again there. To capitalize on this Nintendo slapped together a Game Boy Color model as Pokemon took off worldwide. GBC could run exclusive, specific games and was kind of like its own platform.

The rest of Nintendo's system transitions have been fairly straight forward, 5-6 year primary product cycle, a couple of revisions maybe.

What I could see is a more phased transition with more cross-platform games. For example if Switch 2 comes out in 2023 and there's a 2D Mario game, there's no real reason it couldn't run on Switch 1 and Switch 2, and just run on Switch 2 at 1080p portable/4K docked. There's lots of Nintendo franchises quite frankly that could be like that. 



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If you are saying that the Switch will be supported for a long-time, I certainly agree. It won't be dropped like the N64, GCN, Wii (drop relative to how successful it was, it wasn't dropped as quickly as the others I'm mentioning) and Wii U. Even the 3DS which couldn't quite manage half of the DS sales still is available in some stores and has not been officially discontinued yet after 9 years. Though that day is coming any moment now since all models but the 2DS and 2DS XL were discontinued last year and first-party support ended.
But if you're implying that we will probably wait until 2025 or 2026 for the Switch's successor, I very much disagree. I know Nintendo gave up on hardware parity long ago. And the Switch is a hybrid that does not directly compete with Xbox and PlayStation, but it is still a competitor. Even a Switch Pro upgrade between 2021-2023 wouldn't be enough to keep up consumer interest all the way until 2025-2026. A new platform creates interest, and to compete in entertainment Nintendo needs to strike while the iron is hot. I think the Switch's successor will probably come out in 2023, maybe 2024 at the latest.



Lifetime Sales Predictions 

PS4: 130 mil (was 100 million) Xbox One: 55 mil (was 50 mil) Switch: 110 million (was 73, then 96 million)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

"Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind." - Guru Laghima

The other thing with revisions from this point on is really what is going to be the appeal.

The Switch had two discernible aspects that needed to be revised ... a smaller/cheaper model and better battery life, and Nintendo basically addressed both issues with the Lite revision and the Mariko revision which has far better battery life.

You could increase the screen size I guess, but the standard Switch already has a fairly large display, so that's not something that's really going to blow people away.

A Pro-like upgrade where you seriously upgrade the specs comes with the issue of games potentially not being able to run on older units. And I have to think if that was coming out it would've been planned for this year.

I think they'll do a model that has a larger screen and some cosmetic differences, but that's not really going to significantly alter sales trajectory. Battery life or the need for a smaller/cheaper model are no longer things people are really clamouring for as the two Switch revisions already basically address that.



RolStoppable said:
I am not sure what exactly you are trying to say with the headline and thread content. One correction that I want to get out upfront is that Nintendo confirmed in January 2019 that development of Metroid Prime 4 got restarted by Retro Studios, so since then the game hasn't been expected to release before fall 2021.

[~a few more points I agree with~]

If I read your answer right, you ended up understanding what I was trying to illustrate: that there will be waves of software pushes within a platform rather than a new software push on a new platform. I agree that I may need to correct the headline to "multi-wave" rather than "2-wave", since I see the platform lasting a very long time, closer to the smartphone model, with a few of these cycles looped. The idea is supported by investor meetings a few years ago, and by the nature of hardware revisions as seen today even in the console world.

No problem for the correction, I'll mention in the OP that it should most likely come out either in 2021 or 2022.

Kai_Mao said:
I guess it depends on how the tech and the market evolve over time. Nintendo has a lot of reasons to ride out the Switch longer than their usual 4-5 year life cycles. But with the Switch being in between the end of the current-gen consoles and the beginning of the next-gen consoles, future third party support can be tricky as we don't know how many third party developers will continue to support the Switch, even if it reaches 100 million units. The Switch will be even less powerful compared to Xbox Series X and PS5, but distinguished enough (in price, features, purpose, library, etc.) that it still has a place in the market (which shows in the current environment, even when FFVII Remake, DOOM Eternal, P5R, and other high-end console games have recently released).

The Switch 2 (or whatever it will be) will be an interesting piece of tech. While the tech is there, it would have to be timed appropriately. Nintendo would want to avoid selling consoles at a loss (which partly why they released the OG Switch at $300). Would a Switch 2 be reasonable at $350? $300? I remember some people online were taken aback when they learned that the Switch was going to launch at $300, especially when the PS4 was being sold around that price (or less) at the time and had a more established library and greater market- and mindshare. Would the Switch 2 be powerful enough to get ports from next-gen games? And how would that affect Nintendo's output?

It's a great question. A good pricing model we have right now is that of smartphones. It seems that every new generation, the new phone costs the same as the last phone did when it came out, and the previous phone is only lowered to 100USD less than the original price. For example, the iPhone XS is currently 900USD while the iPhone 11 Pro is 1000USD. On the console side of things, the PS4 Pro for example is at 400USD while the PS5 will release at an estimated 500USD. The XBox One X (high-end model) is 499USD and the Series X Scarlett (high-end model) will come out at 500USD (essentially the same price). So in that light, we could see the switch 2 either a tiny bit more expensive, or as expensive as the Switch today, since the Switch has never dropped in price due to demand for it. As for the possibility of getting ports, you would have to read my reply to JWeinCom since it's pretty much my complete opinion.

@Wman1996 said:
If you are saying that the Switch will be supported for a long-time, I certainly agree. It won't be dropped like the N64, GCN, Wii (drop relative to how successful it was, it wasn't dropped as quickly as the others I'm mentioning) and Wii U. Even the 3DS which couldn't quite manage half of the DS sales still is available in some stores and has not been officially discontinued yet after 9 years. Though that day is coming any moment now since all models but the 2DS and 2DS XL were discontinued last year and first-party support ended.
But if you're implying that we will probably wait until 2025 or 2026 for the Switch's successor, I very much disagree. I know Nintendo gave up on hardware parity long ago. And the Switch is a hybrid that does not directly compete with Xbox and PlayStation, but it is still a competitor. Even a Switch Pro upgrade between 2021-2023 wouldn't be enough to keep up consumer interest all the way until 2025-2026. A new platform creates interest, and to compete in entertainment Nintendo needs to strike while the iron is hot. I think the Switch's successor will probably come out in 2023, maybe 2024 at the latest.

Bold is interesting, and I would like to put it into question in today's landscape.

In a new era when software transcends the boundaries of a physical platform, with now Xbox's game pass, the smartphone apps that are compatible across  vendors, across models, across OS versions, we are now in a world where people are familiar with the idea of incremental hardware revisions (with fanfare and interest) on one same base on which the apps coexist, and where app launches are the main focus. I would like to invite you to challenge the notion that a new console is required for a new "wave", a new interest to be created. What if another scenario happened: we have a new switch revision, or perhaps none, but we get a new wave of games. Imagine the wave of games we got at launch, but a new one with the same diversity and depth, but new games. In that sense, the Switch as a platform could live over many years, while pumping out game after game within a new wave of big games. Since it is always a second landscape to that of Playstation and Xbox, and doesn't need to necessarily play to their music, the Switch could litterally just continue as is with minor hardware revisions for many years to come.

In my previous reply about porting, I mentioned that the PS5 and XsX games could be ported to switch with certain modern techniques, esp. on a more advanced revision. This would cause people to organically upgrade since the game could play on OG switch, but it would have either graphical downgrades or some performance setbacks (frame rates, load times, draw distances, etc). Finally, due to the very different nature of the switch, it is important to seriously question the importance of multi-plats on the platform. We know that the grand majority of sellers on the switch are exclusive games taylored to the platform, and it is currently madly successful. Therefore it would rather point to the fact that the Switch is truly standalone and doesn't necessarily need to be able to play games that are available on the PS5/XsX. Anyway if you are interested on whether it's possible or not, I gave my own opinion fwiw a few posts above.



I think Nintendo will follow the same overall trend that the industry is moving towards.... backward compatible hardware upgrades. Similar to MS and Sony, I believe the next Switch will be kind of like a Pro or X version, with around PS4 level performance. For a handheld that would be insane. In the past, system architectures changed a lot between generations... with Sony and MS opting for x86 and Nintendo with the Arm Based Tegra, allows for future iterations of hardware to be more scalable. I think that is why Nintendo chose the Tegra. A PS4 level Switch could most likely play a lot of next gen games, albeit at lower resolutions and framerates. The same situation as now. Also, Nintedo's own games don't usually require a lot of hardware power compared to the competition, but I assume it would be like the RAM expansion on the N64. Newer games would be playable on the older hardware but with maybe less settings and features... similar to Perfect Dark on the N64 and it's requirement for the RAM expansion for multiplayer (if my memory serves correct). I could see a mid generation spike in sales of the current Switch with a price drop in anticipation of an upcoming revision.



You could do more of a phased transition like

2023 lineup like this

Switch 2 - $349.99
Switch (standard) - $229.99
Switch Lite - $169.99

Switch 2 exclusive titles -
Mario Kart 9
Splatoon 3
Metroid Prime 4
Xenoblade Next
New Platinum Games Title
Third party titles like Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Witcher 4, Resident Evil 4 Remake, Call of Duty, new engine FIFA.


Switch + Switch 2 cross platform titles

New 2D Super Mario Bros.
Ring Fit 2
Pikmin 4
New Pokemon game
New Fire Emblem game
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Octopath Traveller 2
Indie games

Cross gen games on Switch 2 run enhanced at 1080p portable + 4K docked. Pokemon just jumped to this new 3D engine so they'll probably milk that for a while.

I think that's a reasonably doable, that said Nintendo likely will want people not to linger on Switch 1 too long.