Switch success means Nintendo no longer needs to make smartphone games

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,127   +154
Staff member
Recap: When the late Satoru Iwata revealed in mid-2015 that Nintendo was planning to enter the lucrative smartphone gaming arena in the near future, the industry took notice. Nintendo has been a force to be reckoned with since the 80s but at the time of Iwata’s remarks, the company was in a far different place than it is today. The Wii U had been on the market for about two and a half years and it wasn’t doing well. The Switch, codenamed NX, wouldn’t be out until early 2017 but nobody knew that at the time (nor did we know its form factor). Smartphones, meanwhile, were all the rage so it only made sense for Nintendo to see where that road would take it.

A handful of titles were launched in subsequent years including Super Mario Run, an auto runner in which players traversed levels while collecting coins, and Fire Emblem Heroes, a role-playing game that borrows elements from earlier entries in the series.

But then, the Nintendo Switch happened.

Nintendo likely had high hopes for the Wii U’s successor but even the most optimistic of executives probably didn’t anticipate this level of success. Since its launch in March 2017, sales of the Switch have held steady thanks in part to a string of hit titles including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and most recently, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

When the pandemic hit, demand spiked, making it virtually impossible to find a Switch in stock at retail.

Nintendo’s share value spiked, too, and is currently trading near a 12-year high.

With the Switch now providing a solid foundation for its games, it came as little surprise last month when Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said the company wasn’t “necessarily looking to continue releasing many new applications for the mobile market.”

By keeping gamers on its own platform, Nintendo gets to bring home a bigger slice of the revenue pie. Furthermore, the Switch allows Nintendo to avoid the unfavorable monetization options currently plaguing mobile and stand by its belief that its top franchises are best experienced with dedicated controllers, not on touchscreen-first phones.

Image credit: A. Aleksandravicius, Kelleher Bros.

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Fearghast

Posts: 511   +422
TBH Nintendo games on Android/iOS are kinda trash, so I am not sure it was ever meant as alternative to real console counterpart - it seems more like a botched demo of the full game.
But my kids 5 and 7 loved it.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,520   +2,767
Switch is a weird one. I have dozens of gamer friends but I don't know a single person who owns one, have never seen anyone playing one and apparently it's sold better than Xbox One. My own personal mystery. Perhaps people own them and don't tell anyone that they do :neutral:
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 527   +676
Switch is a weird one. I have dozens of gamer friends but I don't know a single person who owns one, have never seen anyone playing one and apparently it's sold better than Xbox One. My own personal mystery. Perhaps people own them and don't tell anyone that they do :neutral:

That's weird, I know a bunch of people with them. And while it may not be their primary console, it is still highly used. Those most of the people I know use the console mostly in docked mode. Which is probably why the Switch Lite doesn't sell as well as the bigger brother.

If they made a Screenless (Docked) version of the console, I would bet it would sell better than the Lite.

It has been my fav console over the last few years. My Wife and I love playing switch games together. They are great for when you have people over. I honestly would have expected more games from Nintendo over the last few years. Considering the Switch caters to both the console and handheld market, they don't need to make games for two different platforms. Nintendo needs to step up the pace of 1st and 2nd party exclusives. They moved over a lot of wiiu titles, while producing very little original content.
 

stewi0001

Posts: 2,751   +2,495
Switch is a weird one. I have dozens of gamer friends but I don't know a single person who owns one, have never seen anyone playing one and apparently it's sold better than Xbox One. My own personal mystery. Perhaps people own them and don't tell anyone that they do :neutral:
I know a few people that do own a Switch. IMO, Nintendo's target audience is usually the casual gamers. With the Switch, they have included some games that are more for the hardcore gamers.
 

darkich

Posts: 45   +15
Switch is a fantastic platform but let this sink in.. in half a year, it will have roughly 30-50 TIMES lower hardware performance capacity than the offerings from Sony and Microsoft.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,520   +2,767
Switch is a fantastic platform but let this sink in.. in half a year, it will have roughly 30-50 TIMES lower hardware performance capacity than the offerings from Sony and Microsoft.

Never seemed to matter. Won't matter. As much as I wanted Nintendo to make a Pro version of Switch or even update the hardware all we got was a half hearted 1.1 version with mildly improved battery life.

They could have gone from 20nm TSMC down to like 7nm TSMC. Boosted the clocks massively, doubled the RAM, called it Pro and sold it for $75 more. Be twice as fast without much difficulty. Instead they went to a four year old 16nm process and called it a day.

Nintendo just aren't that interested clearly. Maybe when the sales start to slow down in 2-3 years they will make some bigger revisions.
 

Edster

Posts: 117   +87
Switch is a fantastic platform but let this sink in.. in half a year, it will have roughly 30-50 TIMES lower hardware performance capacity than the offerings from Sony and Microsoft.

Irrelevant as a problem. What Nintendo brings to the table are things a more powerful console don't bring. A whole bunch of exclusives with the most utterly loyal fan base, volume of hardware and the niche of some portability. People on PC forums sometimes forget that, sometimes people just want to play games casually and not worry about framerates, comparing power is like saying your Porsche Carrera is so much more powerful than the family car that fits a family of 6. People want Pokemon, Zelda, Mario, they are games that just need to be artistically interesting, not mind bending realism at 90 FPS.

Switch is a weird one. I have dozens of gamer friends but I don't know a single person who owns one, have never seen anyone playing one and apparently it's sold better than Xbox One. My own personal mystery. Perhaps people own them and don't tell anyone that they do :neutral:

In terms of my friends, the "gaming" friend was the last to buy the Switch. The other friends, who generally a lot less into hardcore gaming, all own it and thats the only thing they own. It really goes back to what I said above, that a large proportion of the Switch market just don't overlap with the typical console/PC gaming market.
 

darkich

Posts: 45   +15
The problem is, games are COMPROMISED, even the flagship exclusives. BOTW is the most glaring example.
It runs at 30fps, and with heavy visual detail and resolution reductions popping out all the time.
That's just NOT good enough.
How is BOTW 2 supposed to bring any performance and visual advancements if there's no hardware upgrade?

The least Nintendo should deliver is a 60fps at 720p and 60fps at 1080p when docked, without the glaring visual penalties.
 

picka

Posts: 83   +95
Switch is a fantastic platform but let this sink in.. in half a year, it will have roughly 30-50 TIMES lower hardware performance capacity than the offerings from Sony and Microsoft.

That's irrelevant. If you have a bunch of friends over, what's the better game to play together, Mario Kart or iRacing/Assetto Corsa?

Gaming is about fun not graphics.
 

SpenReyn

Posts: 18   +12
Switch is a weird one. I have dozens of gamer friends but I don't know a single person who owns one, have never seen anyone playing one and apparently it's sold better than Xbox One. My own personal mystery. Perhaps people own them and don't tell anyone that they do :neutral:
Both of my 20-something kids have bought a Switch for portable gaming, much better controls than playing on a smartphone, and strangely cheaper as a cell phone with comparable power costs more. Bigger display, better controls, more powerful compared to cell phones or tablets, what's the mystery?
 

darkich

Posts: 45   +15
Both of my 20-something kids have bought a Switch for portable gaming, much better controls than playing on a smartphone, and strangely cheaper as a cell phone with comparable power costs more. Bigger display, better controls, more powerful compared to cell phones or tablets, what's the mystery?
There are now smartphones in the 300$ range that have around 2-3 times more power than the Switch (snapdragon 655+ gaming phones).
Also with big and far superior screens, dedicated trigger hardware etc.
Also, can easily turn in to full blown portable or TV consoles if you attach some of the superior(to the switch controller) bluetooth controllers and play the geforce now, xcloud and stadia games.