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
Soundwave said:
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.

With that kind of 2023 lineup, there's no need for a Switch 2 in 2023 at all.



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RolStoppable said:
Soundwave said:
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.

With that kind of 2023 lineup, there's no need for a Switch 2 in 2023 at all.

That's a hypothetical best case lineup, the reality likely wouldn't be that robust, more of an example of games that could be cross gen. And it's not like that Switch 2 money is going to charity. It would make Nintendo a lot of money both ways, a lot more than just having a Switch 1. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 04 May 2020

Even assuming a major spec revision is in the cards, a hypothetical "Switch Pro" is still a Switch, and will highly likely be treated like most other hardware revision by the market. The New 3DS and DSi did improve sales, but only temporarily. The market responded to them like they would a price cut, and a late-life price cut at that:

The short-term gains are obvious, but after that initial boost sales quickly dropped back down to the previous baseline or lower over the course of 2-3 months or thereabouts.

We saw much the same with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, the first major spec revisions for a home console since the Japan-only SuperGrafx (an upgraded TG-16/PC Engine). The Pro had a minimal effect on PS4 sales, while the X1X gave a modest multi-month boost to XBO sales (at least in the U.S.).

The only time a spec revision resulted in a huge boost in sales was the Game Boy Color. While it was short-lived, it posted remarkable sales. While Nintendo never gave specifics as they never separated GBC sales from sales of older models, both NPD and Famitsu data indicate a substantial portion of Game Boy sales were from the Color. In the U.S., the GBC's share of total GB sales was at least 40% (while there's no official NPD tally for GB sales in just the U.S., based on the U.S.'s average share of Nintendo sales in "the Americas" region, it likely sold on the order of 38-39M units; NPD numbers show about 17.3M Colors sold). In Japan, the GBC's share of GB sales was a much more modest 17.5%, but it was still healthy numbers.

But the GBC had the distinction of releasing nearly a decade after the original model Game Boy did. It probably also helped that it A) had a rather high amount of exclusive games that did not work on older Game Boy models, B) was released right around the same time as Pokemon, and C) was in freakin' color. These factors resulted in gamers, especially in North America, treating it as a new console entirely even though it was technically just an upgraded Game Boy.

If we get a "Switch Pro" within the next year or two, I expect the reaction to it will be more like that of the DSi or New 3DS, being treated as simply another model like the Lite. It will give a solid but relatively short-term boost to sales, but will not serve to reverse the inevitable terminal decline in Switch sales. Eventually, everybody that wants a Switch will get one, and only those that want a slightly better model will get that one. The Switch's "true" successor will probably be a completely new platform, a clean break from the Switch. I think it may stand a good chance of being another hybrid, and if it is, it will be a true next-gen experience and not a mere spec upgrade.



Shadow1980 said:

Even assuming a major spec revision is in the cards, a hypothetical "Switch Pro" is still a Switch, and will highly likely be treated like most other hardware revision by the market. The New 3DS and DSi did improve sales, but only temporarily. The market responded to them like they would a price cut, and a late-life price cut at that:

The short-term gains are obvious, but after that initial boost sales quickly dropped back down to the previous baseline or lower over the course of 2-3 months or thereabouts.

We saw much the same with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, the first major spec revisions for a home console since the Japan-only SuperGrafx (an upgraded TG-16/PC Engine). The Pro had a minimal effect on PS4 sales, while the X1X gave a modest multi-month boost to XBO sales (at least in the U.S.).

The only time a spec revision resulted in a huge boost in sales was the Game Boy Color. While it was short-lived, it posted remarkable sales. While Nintendo never gave specifics as they never separated GBC sales from sales of older models, both NPD and Famitsu data indicate a substantial portion of Game Boy sales were from the Color. In the U.S., the GBC's share of total GB sales was at least 40% (while there's no official NPD tally for GB sales in just the U.S., based on the U.S.'s average share of Nintendo sales in "the Americas" region, it likely sold on the order of 38-39M units; NPD numbers show about 17.3M Colors sold). In Japan, the GBC's share of GB sales was a much more modest 17.5%, but it was still healthy numbers.

But the GBC had the distinction of releasing nearly a decade after the original model Game Boy did. It probably also helped that it A) had a rather high amount of exclusive games that did not work on older Game Boy models, B) was released right around the same time as Pokemon, and C) was in freakin' color. These factors resulted in gamers, especially in North America, treating it as a new console entirely even though it was technically just an upgraded Game Boy.

If we get a "Switch Pro" within the next year or two, I expect the reaction to it will be more like that of the DSi or New 3DS, being treated as simply another model like the Lite. It will give a solid but relatively short-term boost to sales, but will not serve to reverse the inevitable terminal decline in Switch sales. Eventually, everybody that wants a Switch will get one, and only those that want a slightly better model will get that one. The Switch's "true" successor will probably be a completely new platform, a clean break from the Switch. I think it may stand a good chance of being another hybrid, and if it is, it will be a true next-gen experience and not a mere spec upgrade.

Yeah DSi and New 3DS type upgrades don't really cause a long term boost. They are boring types of upgrades to (by then) very old hardware. 

GBC was a different type of situation designed more to cash in on the Pokemon craze of the time and buy them time so that GBA could be made because they screwed up with Project: Atlantis and basically had to start from scratch with the less ambitious GBA. But obviously the jump from no-color to actual NES+ tier color was a huge one. 

I don't really know how much you can do to the current Switch revisions. The Lite addresses the need for a smaller, portable centric Switch, Switch Mariko boosts battery life back to levels that 3DS/2DS had. Like I said probably they can do models with a larger screen but the current Switch already has a pretty good sized screen, don't think such a feature is setting the world on fire.

A Pro model opens up a can of worms of splintering the userbase and if its not out until 2021 anyway, I think Nintendo is just better off passing on that proposition and focusing on an actual successor for 2023. 

I think you're more or less right. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 04 May 2020

Shadow1980 said:

(~ cool graphs and interesting points ~)

The only time a spec revision resulted in a huge boost in sales was the Game Boy Color. While it was short-lived, it posted remarkable sales. While Nintendo never gave specifics as they never separated GBC sales from sales of older models, both NPD and Famitsu data indicate a substantial portion of Game Boy sales were from the Color. In the U.S., the GBC's share of total GB sales was at least 40% (while there's no official NPD tally for GB sales in just the U.S., based on the U.S.'s average share of Nintendo sales in "the Americas" region, it likely sold on the order of 38-39M units; NPD numbers show about 17.3M Colors sold). In Japan, the GBC's share of GB sales was a much more modest 17.5%, but it was still healthy numbers.

But the GBC had the distinction of releasing nearly a decade after the original model Game Boy did. It probably also helped that it A) had a rather high amount of exclusive games that did not work on older Game Boy models, B) was released right around the same time as Pokemon, and C) was in freakin' color. These factors resulted in gamers, especially in North America, treating it as a new console entirely even though it was technically just an upgraded Game Boy.

If we get a "Switch Pro" within the next year or two, I expect the reaction to it will be more like that of the DSi or New 3DS, being treated as simply another model like the Lite. It will give a solid but relatively short-term boost to sales, but will not serve to reverse the inevitable terminal decline in Switch sales. Eventually, everybody that wants a Switch will get one, and only those that want a slightly better model will get that one. The Switch's "true" successor will probably be a completely new platform, a clean break from the Switch. I think it may stand a good chance of being another hybrid, and if it is, it will be a true next-gen experience and not a mere spec upgrade.

So, in your well thought-out post, you mention two possibilities for the reception  of a new revision: either it's received like a GBC (basically as if it was a new platform), or like a New 3DS (just a variant). Let's look more deeply at what differentiates the two outcomes. I would suggest (and kind of agree with your post) that the difference lies in the games. You mentioned that the GBC was big because big games came out for it. You mention Pokemon, I could add the Zelda Oracle games, the DX release of Super Mario, the DX release of Link's awakening. Why would DX versions be needed? It's because the added hardware features are so awesome that they require an upgrade in the original games. If I'm not mistaken, the DX games were playable only playable on game boy color, but with today's backwards compatibility options available in the world of game deployment, and with a bit of creativity, it could have been possible to make the games backwards compatible.

Another point your graphs can't show because they are limited to one platform is the importance of games released on the successor to make it fly (launch). If you were able to mesh the curve of one console with that of its successor(s), you would see that it's the games that cause the upswing. And you are also only counting hardware sales, but your blind fspot in the graphs is software sales. In other words, if the switch had an abnormally long life-cycle with waves of games every 3 years, then the result would reflect not in the hardware sales curve, but on the curve of total software sales. Still, interesting graphs!



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I think the next thing coming is a Console only version. A pretty small little box with a unique colored Pro controller. It will have 100gb or more for storage, still takes cartridges. Probably faster than the other Switches, like how the New 3DS was a little faster at loading. $299.99.



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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.

They can create a special dock that takes over all processing duties, but the Switch unit itself would be doing nothing, so it would be more like a "Switch Pro" that you can recharge your current Switch handheld on.
The USB-C port on the Switch means that the dock can never "augment" the processing capabilities of the handheld, it's bandwidth is insufficient and it's latency is far to high. (Not to mention a few other technical barriers which I won't get into here with how data transmissions are managed.)




--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

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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.

just my take on that particular question.  I do buy a nintendo platform specifically for zelda metroid prime and luigis mansion, but if those were the only games available id sell my system afterwards or id simply pass on buying it.  3rd party variety is the core gamers bread and butter. To omit them would be omitting that demographic.  Id argue the last time 10do did that, we got the wii, which was wildly succeasful amomg casuals, but had a fairly poor attach rate among more core oriented titles. The backlash manifested as the wii-u. Core gamers had brushed off the wii as a 1 trick pony gimmick system and were not about to pay mind to 10dos "unprecedented 3rd party support" and rightfully so in the end. Late, underwhelming or non existent ports  became par for the course w the u and what was the backbone of the wiiu e3 demonstration? Nindendo land. Another gimmicky casual game. So, in my opinion, 3rd parties are still pretty darn important to fill out a consoles library. Unless 10dos willing to up their game and start producing a large amount of the AAA commercially successful core games their 1st party catalogs lack (which id say theyve shown almost no interest in doing), id say 3rd parties are atill pretty important.  Yeah I could b wrong. Just my take on thr subject.



Pemalite 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.

They can create a special dock that takes over all processing duties, but the Switch unit itself would be doing nothing, so it would be more like a "Switch Pro" that you can recharge your current Switch handheld on.
The USB-C port on the Switch means that the dock can never "augment" the processing capabilities of the handheld, it's bandwidth is insufficient and it's latency is far to high. (Not to mention a few other technical barriers which I won't get into here with how data transmissions are managed.)

Good point, but that's assuming that the bus would not be upgraded in a V2, which is unlikely if the dock was intended to augment the capabilities like you mentioned. Also, I want to ask the question of serious upgrades in the slab itself. Perhaps with a modified flattened form of ssd, it would be possible to sandwich a large drive inside the casing. Do you know if such a tech exists?

Last edited by padib - on 05 May 2020

2021 is probably too late for a Pro model that fragments the userbase. There will be probably in the range of 70 million install base by next year and it would be hard to make that work.

DSi or New 3DS like new model is possible, but as others have pointed out, these types of revisions don't really result in a long term sales boost. They cause a short spike and then sales go back to where they were before or even lower.

They may as well just proceed for March 2023 for Switch 2 but they can support Switch for a while longer, the 3DS was supported with new software all through 2017 even though the bulk of it was outsourced projects (ie: Arzest doing Hey! Pikmin, Grezzo co-developing Luigi's Mansion, Mercury Steam doing Metroid II etc.). So the formula is basically already there.  

If you're not sold on a system after 6 years of releases, honestly you likely never were that interested in such a platform to begin with anyway. I don't think a console provider really has an obligation to bend over backwards that late in a product cycle if you're still not onboard. 

I'm all for phased transitions and maybe trying something different, but Nintendo has such a bad history with generational transitions that they're probably just better off not getting too fancy here. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 05 May 2020