For video game fans, the holidays can involve some compromise. They’re an opportunity to check in with friends, reunite with family, and take a much-needed break from the onslaught of work and the unrelenting news cycle. Yet traveling to a different time zone, or perhaps even a different country, also means putting down whatever games you’re playing and leaving them to collect dust for weeks. But this year is a bit different, because this year we have the Switch.
Nintendo’s new handheld-console hybrid, which the company first unveiled in October of last year and launched back in March, is a dream come true for hardcore fans and lapsed players alike: it’s a full-blown console that you can take with you, wherever you go. It’s the one device that you can easily play on an airplane, and travel with it tucked into the pouch of a backpack. It can be played whenever you want, without an external controller or screen required. It was a big gamble, combining the best of the company’s 3DS handheld with the learnings from its stumble with the Wii U. But it paid off in a big way, with 10 million in sales as of this month.
The Switch has created an entire new generation of Nintendo fans. It’s also revitalized the company’s nostalgia-fueled brand in an era when video games feel ever more reliant on realistic depictions of gunplay and aping Hollywood-style blockbusters. It’s too early to tell whether the console will hit the heights of the original Wii. But if Nintendo has proved anything this past year, it’s that we should never underestimate what the company can pull off when it’s put everything on the line.