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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Biggest reasons why the Switch historically popular?


Will the Switch end up outselling the PS2?

Yes 12 26.67%
No 33 73.33%
Soundwave said:
SvennoJ said:

It's the only dedicated handheld on the market (no I don't see Steamdeck as competition) with combined user base of Wii/Wii U/3DS and PS Vita.
It's a portable, not that expensive, much lower barrier to buy multiple. We have Switch original and Switch lite in the house and I haven't even touched either in years.
It plays Minecraft and Fortnite (which is what my youngest mostly uses the Switch lite for)
It still has the Wii appeal (my youngest still likes to play 1-2 Switch with the grandparents now and then on the original model)
And it's the only place to play all the Nintendo magic, now combined in one device.

Hmm, almost looks like a monopoly and exclusives aren't that bad?

None of Minecraft, Fortnite, or the "Wii type titles" are even among the peak sellers (20+ million club) on the system though. 

Mario Kart, Zelda: BOTW, Smash, Animal Crossing, Mario Odyssey, and various Pokemon games are the main sales drivers for the Switch (all 20+ million in sales). 

Those other games help sure and have a part to play in the overall puzzle, but the above mentioned games deserve to most credit. 

I think the aging up of Nintendo's fanbase in particular has drove IP like Smash and Mario Kart to new heights and Zelda: BOTW represents a turning point that franchise achieving sales success far beyond any previous Zelda game. 3D Mario also ... once thought to the be "too complex" ... well now you see Mario Odyssey putting up 25+ million in sales, crushing Mario 64 and even Mario Galaxy in sales. Mario 3D All-Stars sold 9+ million despite only being available for a short period of time, that should really be 15+ million if Nintendo had allowed it to sell, Mario 3D World selling well also. 

What I think is happening is you're seeing successive building of multiple Nintendo fan generations who keep playing and enjoying Nintendo games well past age 18 ... this is also what's driving the Mario movie to sky high box office. 

Also maybe its anecdotal but this generation's 19-30 year olds seem very, very into Nintendo IP like Smash and Animal Crossing and what not. Like the enthusiasm is sky high. Every time I'm in a Switch section of a store, it just feels like there's a lot of 20 somethings particularly whereas in the past if felt like the Nintendo section skewed younger than that, but Nintendo's own demographic stats also seem to back this up (popularity of Switch with 20-somethings). 

I think something is happening demographically here, it's less taboo for 20-somethings to be into anime, comics (or comic based movies), etc. etc. and I think this has benefitted Nintendo too. The late 90s and 2000s could be hostile to Nintendo in this respect, but the 2020s is much warmer waters for them. 

Oh sure, but still the most played by my kid while using his laptop to talk to his friends. Nintendo lacks in the online social experience, but kids have found plenty ways around that and still prefer to play on the handheld instead of simply playing it on the laptop they communicate through.

It helps that Nintendo has evergreen franchises in Mario, Zelda and Pokemon. Hence you get this multi generational interest and why the movie is doing so well. Once you're hooked on those games, you'll can keep enjoying them for life. And also much easier to pass your enthusiasm on to your kids when it's still the same IPs. New Nintendo games have nostalgia build in, powerful stuff.

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Unified development.

Usually it's split between two systems.

Games sell consoles.

 Despite limited power and capabilities. It's developer friendly. Easy to develop for hardware and API. Nintendo became more friendly working with developers. Dev Units are cheap. $500.

Proper support 1st and third parties.

Marketed extremely well and very clear on what the system is.

The gimmick is a good one. It doesn't feel like you need some wierd ass controller or control scheme to enjoy it. It's a normal system than can also be taken on the go.

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

For me it's the hybrid nature of the machine. When playing Xenoblade 3 for example, I would play the story missions on the big TV and take in all the cinematics in all their glory. I would play it in handheld curled up in bed when I needed to do a couple of hours grinding, it's just so convenient.

Flexibility. I can play on the TV, handheld at home if someone wants the TV, on a plane, in a hotel, etc. It is seemless. Also good price and amazing games. It is one of the best consoles released.

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I think the demographic thing is also tied to the Switch being a system that feels like its made for 20 somethings rather than people getting to an age and having to choose between wanting to stay a Nintendo fan or keeping up with undesirable hardware.

Like if you're 25 years old do you really want to be carrying around a 3DS with its year 2000 tier level visuals and dated form factor? You really want a Wii U in your living room? 

The Switch is much more appealing to a 20-something. It doesn't look like a toy, it has a large screen display with a more tablet like form factor that is more reminiscent of a higher end electronics style device than something for a kid. 

The hybrid nature gives it flexibility for the life style of an older gamer, you can play on your TV, take it on your flight, etc. The games are "real" console games, not watered down Game Boy styled "baby versions" of franchises too.

All that adds up I think to someone in their 20s saying "I grew up with Nintendo and love the brand, but now I feel like I don't have to ditch the brand because there's a hardware offering suited to where I am at in my life now". 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 01 May 2023

I think it's just a case of being the right product at the right time and having the right software to go along with it. Everything had to go right, and it did.

The Switch is popular because it's a concept that is easy to understand, it was well marketed, it launched for a good price, and created one platform for all Nintendo games to be played.

- The convenience and (then) novelty of the hybrid console/handheld

- Sheer quantity of games, particularly strong for ports and indies

- Popular evergreen titles like Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing, Pokemon, etc. 

- Has a nice balance of the Wii appeal (with superior motion controls, easy and quick to pick up and play) that appeals more to the mass market while also further embracing the deeper more "core" games.

- Relative reliance and solid nature of the hardware (though they dropped the ball somewhat with the drifting controllers and weak battery on the og Switch model)

Edit: oh yeah and one key detail many seem to neglect - the handheld nature of the Switch also means multiple people per household will often buy their own unit, adding to the hardware sales.

Last edited by DarthMetalliCube - on 02 May 2023


"We hold these truths to be self-evident - all men and women created by the, go-you know.. you know the thing!" - Joe Biden

It's pretty obvious. It combined the best of Nintendo's home consoles & handhelds. It was a well-made machine. Nintendo did a good job of marketing it. It had a reasonable price point for what it was. And it had a lot of damn good games, so many of which had excellent attach rates even by Nintendo standards, with more games selling over 10 million copies than any other system in history, handheld or home console.

Also, it helped that the...

Eh. You know what? Never mind.

Soundwave said:

5.) COVID lockdowns were just a particularly fortuitous timing for Nintendo. It happened right as the Switch was in its mid-cycle strength, so it got a big boost from that. The biggest global disruption since World War II. Not only that, Nintendo had Animal Crossing ready for launch right as widespread global lockdowns were happening which was another lucky break. You couldn't really have timed it any better. 

Wman1996 said:

4. COVID-19: Switch was the easiest to manufacture of game platforms during COVID-19, the library was already strong and growing by the time the pandemic hit. Switch also has some of the best if the not the best local multiplayer experiences of any of the current platforms. That helps appeal to families during a pandemic. We don't know where the Switch will end up in total units sold. But I have a feeling without COVID-19 it might've sold around PS4 & GB/GBC numbers. Maybe even more like Wii & PS1.

Don't ention-may the erm-jay. Remember what happened to the last guy? :p


In accordance to the VGC forum rules, §8.5, I hereby exercise my right to demand to be left alone regarding the subject of the effects of the pandemic on video game sales (i.e., "COVID bump").