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Accounting for the Success of Nintendo’s Underpowered Switch

No matter how you look at it, Nintendo’s Switch is not an especially powerful system. This was true even when it was released back in 2017, with its internal chipset based on the Tegra X1, designed for smartphones and tablets and released two years earlier.

Today, many mobile phones are capable of better performance than Nintendo’s newest gaming device. This might seem a recipe for failure, but instead, the Switch has found a place as the third-best-selling console of all time. How did this happen, and what does it mean about the Switch’s leaked and incoming sequel system?

A False Idea of Fun

Before we look at what Nintendo does right, it’s important to challenge the incorrect assumptions that are constantly pushed by many big players involved in the gaming industry. The most obvious and insidious of these assumptions is that good graphics means good games. Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, and the likes of Nvidia and AMD on PC have spent decades pushing the idea that flashier looks are just more fun, and this is patently false.

For a better illustration of this idea outside of video games, consider what goes into casino games. While the best NJ casino app absolutely leverages modern technology to make games look nice, casino games have never succeeded through flashy visuals. Instead, it’s the base gameplay and solid selection of fun games like slots and table games that help these casinos succeed. A pretty package helps, but it’s never been the driving force of what makes games entertaining.

Substance and Style

Instead of pushing raw polygon count and physical destruction, the games on Switch understand that style is more important. The cell-shaded graphics of Breath of the Wild, for example, convey a mood that more realistic titles on competing platforms rarely match. Other titles, like Metroid Dread, might cut back on fidelity to hit the 60 FPS mark, but this is chosen with purpose in the games that benefit the most from a snappy gameplay feel.

The core of this idea is that for video games, the most important aspect should always be gameplay. It might seem obvious, but this is a message that is commonly missed by other AAA developers and manufacturers, but not by Nintendo.

A Collected Library

Another enormous contributing aspect of the Switch’s success comes from how it consolidated two lines of games into one system. The Switch wasn’t just a successor to Nintendo’s Wii U console, it also was the sequel to Nintendo’s 3DS handheld. As a dual console/handheld, the Switch combined the potential of both game libraries, and in doing so effectively doubled its potential player base.

Future Expectations

With all the work Nintendo has done to make the Switch a success, we expect the Switch 2 will follow a similar route. It is almost guaranteed to be a handheld/console, and it’s likely also to feature a high degree of backward compatibility with the Switch 1.

Don’t get us wrong, as much as we’ve praised Nintendo today, it’s not a flawless company that never makes mistakes. Like any gaming system, it can be best to wait for reviews before buying. Of course, with the modern scalping market problems being so profound, it could be some time after launch that the Switch 2 becomes truly available.



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