On March 3rd, 2017, Nintendo released a strange new device called the Switch. Part home console, part portable gaming device, the Switch created a new category for games hardware, and it has gone on to become the company’s fastest-selling device. In less than 12 months, it’s already more popular than its predecessor, the Wii U
Since its debut, the Switch has become home to some of the company’s best games, from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to Super Mario Odyssey to Splatoon 2. Meanwhile, major third-party developers like Bethesda and Rockstar have jumped on board, and the Switch has also become an increasingly important destination for indie games. And the future looks bright, with new Pokémon and Metroid games also on the way.
One year after its launch, we take a look back at how Nintendo’s big bet on the Switch has influenced the company and gaming as a whole, and why the device has become such a hit.
I got my Switch exactly a year ago today, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours (and dollars) on games for Nintendo’s newest console. But unlike every other console I’ve owned, I’ve bought exactly one physical game for the Switch — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — which I preordered alongside my Switch so I’d have something to play when it first came out. I know I’m probably late to this party, but the Switch feels like the first console to truly make the case to, uh, switch away from physical games for good.Read Article >
A lot of that has to do with how I use the Switch and its portable nature. I take my Switch with me basically everywhere — on the train to work in the morning, plane rides, weekends at my parents’ house — and having all my games with me to play whenever I want is a great addition. The ability to play Zelda anywhere is good, but the ability to play Zelda and Mario Odyssey and Sonic Mania and Splatoon 2 and Rocket League and Stardew Valley and Celeste and Overcooked and Mario Kart and Tumbleseed anywhere is even better.
The Nintendo Switch turns one year old today, and last week on Circuit Breaker Live, we looked back at some of the most interesting accessories for Nintendo’s new console that have come out this year.Read Article >
There’s a bunch of interesting stuff out now that you’ll want to pick up for your Switch. You can swap out that terrible kickstand with a sturdier aluminum one, for instance, or add on a pro controller for more comfortable long gaming sessions. Charging is also a super interesting place for Switch gear, since the console uses a standard USB-C port. There are full out charging cases for recharging on the go (an important thing for the portable Switch), giant USB-C battery packs that are almost too big to take on a plane, and portable chargers that are far easier to carry around than Nintendo’s own.
Mar 3, 2018
I think the first time that I ever used a Nintendo game console was an SNES plugged into a TV parked on the sidewalk outside an electronics shop in Ginza, Tokyo in the spring of 1991. In fact, I think this may have been the first time I had ever used a video game console of any kind, period. Though I had played arcade games and was the proud owner of a Game Boy, I don’t remember ever playing on a proper console prior to that trip to Tokyo. If I had, it was literally a very forgettable experience.Read Article >
Yet I vividly remember standing on that sidewalk and being enthralled by the most futuristic video game I had ever played: F-Zero. At the time, it seemed so fast and intense. Even though I grew increasingly frustrated by my constant crashing, I still remember how excited I was playing that game. It was like being on a day trip to the future.
Mar 3, 2018
For more than a decade, Nintendo’s overall hardware strategy has been easy to understand. The company doesn’t compete on power; instead, it creates accessible and attainable consoles that are really good at playing Nintendo games but not much else. Sometimes this works out well, like when the Wii rode the motion-control craze to more than 100 million units in sales. Sometimes it doesn’t work out at all, like when its follow-up, the Wii U, became Nintendo’s worst-selling console ever.Read Article >
But even when this strategy does work, Nintendo’s consoles have never been able to keep everyone happy. They tend to have trouble attracting third-party developers, and they’re rarely technically impressive. One year into the Switch’s life cycle, however, it’s clear that Nintendo has been able to overcome this perennial deficiency. It’s not that Nintendo’s strategy has changed — the Switch is still far less powerful than the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One — rather, the world around Nintendo has changed, and the company has been able to leverage this to devastating effect.
Mar 3, 2018
For a long time, I’ve felt like no piece of video game hardware could surpass the original Nintendo DS in my mind. It checked so many boxes for me. It was a device that had an absolutely incredible and eclectic library of games, from strange musical gems like Electroplankton and Elite Beat Agents, to some of the best iterations of iconic Nintendo series like Mario Kart, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing. Its dual screens and touch interface led to all new kinds of experiences, while at the same time its sleek design (starting with the DS Lite), made it the first piece of video game hardware I owned that didn’t feel like a cheap toy. It matched my clickwheel iPod perfectly. For years I’ve kept some iteration of the handheld with me pretty much wherever I go.Read Article >
But with the Switch, I think I have a new favorite.