What If The Nintendo Switch Fails?

For a solid couple months and weeks, the Nintendo Switch was pretty much untouchable. After that first trailer dropped, hype and optimism swirled out of control as fans began to fill in all the blanks with their own imagination. Perhaps, though, it was that original lack of information that led to near-universal disappointment when we were hit with the actual facts. It’s no secret that anticipation for the Switch has died down a bit, thanks to the mediocre presentation that was held not too long ago. The presentation revealed a lack of launch games, a lack of real third-party support, egregious accessory prices, and other tidbits of information that lowered the console down from its godly status, bestowed upon it months earlier. However, even after that, the majority of fans are still enthusiastic about the console, and I myself retain a good amount of hope for it. But what if, in some alternate future, or maybe our own, the Nintendo Switch completely bombs Wii-U style? What if the Nintendo Switch fails to succeed commercially and critically? What will that mean for the future of gaming’s most historic company? 

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Nintendo has a lot riding on the success of the Switch. The console itself has quite the momentous job on its hands. First of all, the Switch needs to restore Nintendo’s credibility as a home console manufacturer, especially after the reception of the Wii-U. Meanwhile, it also has to prove worthy as a portable device. And from its launch, the Switch will be fighting an uphill battle to gain a share of a market currently dominated by the PlayStation and Xbox. Now, if it fails to do all those things, it’s clear that Nintendo will have a lot of thinking to do. 

One of the things often recommended by gaming pundits, is that Nintendo should follow in the footsteps of Sega, and just stop with the production of hardware altogether. Unlike any other company in the industry, Nintendo is in an especially valuable place, with the sheer amount of iconic franchises they have under their name. Conceivably, if they made new entries and brought them to a system like the PS4 (where you can sell to fifty million players), Nintendo could easily make absurd amounts of money.

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However, maybe this wouldn’t necessarily be the case. As Super Mario Run has shown us, even Nintendo’s biggest giant won’t always crack the market. Although the game was downloaded by millions of people, comparatively, only a small amount of them decided to actually purchase the game once it started asking for money. But to be fair, most of that can be attributed to the fact that the general public assumed the game was free. Furthermore, smartphone games often have a certain stigma around them, meaning that a ten dollar premium price was simply too much to ask for on the app store platform. On the other hand, people have the exact opposite mindset when turning on their console. So after the Switch’s possible failure, Nintendo could potentially make a comfy living by simply becoming a publisher of games, and nothing more. 

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Now of course, in this theoretical situation, just because the Switch has failed, that doesn’t mean it’s the end for all of Nintendo’s systems. Even after five years, the 3DS is still going incredibly strong, and support for it hasn’t let up. So it wouldn’t be surprising if Nintendo decided to keep going with its line-up of portables, while also doubling down on their efforts in that market. And perhaps, later on, they would decide to launch yet another home console to remedy their failures in that area. This time, would they learn from their mistakes and become more progressive? Or would they be forever doomed to continue being the brash and traditionalist game company they’re beginning to be known for?

As of now, all of this has merely been conjecture. Other than some unfortunate things here and there, we have no reason to believe the Switch won’t be a success. Going forward, hopefully we hear nothing but good things, and that on launch, the fans get exactly what they were yearning for. But, if the Switch does fail, it will surely not be the end for Nintendo. 

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11 thoughts on “What If The Nintendo Switch Fails?

  1. Though they say it’s not, the Switch being a replacement for the 3DS will guarantee its success. The Vita never got big numbers but I love it dearly and it continued to have life even after Sony abandoned it. The Switch’s portability (especially in single TV households) will be its saving grace.

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  2. I’ve done a big old rant about this very thing, and my fear is that the Switch will fail (or at least fail to be successful) because a) they appear to be making many of the same mistakes they made with the Wii U, and b) conditions are currently *less* favourable than they were when the Wii U launched.

    I hope I’m wrong, but at the very least Nintendo are going to be relying on a lot of luck and/or hoping everybody conveniently forgets how everything worked out with the Wii U – and that’s not a particularly great strategy to be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if the launch turns out bad, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Switch will fail. There have been many consoles that have had bad starts, but thanks to continued support, began to wildly succeed.

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  3. I have a longish take on this, but I’m prepping the full version for my site.

    I went to the NYC demo and sampled everything and yes, it was a mixed bag. Many are right about some stuff, more are very wrong about other stuff.

    One point to consider is we live in the unfortunate time where almost no one wants to be surprised anymore. Back when game mags were the sole source of info, waiting a month to get news was fine and built up healthy suspense. As the internet took hold, the desire for news has driven that time down to seconds which is sad because there’s no thrill when you get hit with more news than you can take in. Add in too many writers/streamers/YouTube screamers with no journalism training wanting to be first with info making up rumors and/or using poorly sourced ‘news’ plus the fact that EVERY console announcement is followed up by more game announcements over a longer period of time… and you get the modern games ‘media’ mess.

    People ragging on the Switch during or right after the event not realizing every single launch/launch window game wasn’t going to be announced didn’t seen to consider an hour is too short a time to cover that. As you’ve seen since, quite a number of games have been announced as in the works or arriving. Nintendo has a huge uphill battle ahead, but the pre-orders seem to indicate some initial success. We shall see, of course.

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    • With so many different voices out there, it’s hard for people to get recognized without resorting to click bait or half-baked opinions. Hopefully, those kinds of creators aren’t taken too seriously by the uninformed public. I look forward to seeing the full version of this on your site.

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    • This is exactly why I wanted to be more moderate about my impressions of the Switch. Too many people out there screaming about how it sucks or singing its praises, without even knowing much about the system aside from what the general public saw. It’s funny too that the loudest critics have been the people who haven’t had a chance to get their hands on the system at all.

      I’m interested to see what your full impressions are on the Switch itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that it’s interesting that people have been contemplating the “death” of Nintendo for ages now, yet they’re still around. Even if the Switch “fails”, I think that Nintendo has enough success under its belt to continue making new systems and games. Let’s not forget that people are saying the Xbox One is a failure after all, despite selling more systems than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at this point in its life cycle.

    That isn’t to say that Nintendo couldn’t stand to modernize a bit. They need to loosen their stranglehold on content creators and improve their network infrastructure. I’d also like to see Nintendo court third party developers and publishers more.

    But only time will tell I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

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