Unless you were somewhere without TV or Internet access yesterday, you’ll know about Nintendo’s upcoming Switch console. The majority of consumers and critics reacted positively to the three-minute reveal video, but that didn’t prevent skeptical investors causing the company’s share price to drop 7 percent.
Thanks to its innovative motion-sensitive controllers, the original Wii went on to become the fifth best-selling console of all time. But its successor, the Wii U, failed to make a serious impact with gamers. It seems the unanswered questions surrounding the Nintendo Switch is making some shareholders nervous that the machine could become another flop.
Nintendo hasn’t yet released much information about the Switch. We do know that it’s powered by custom Tegra SoC from Nvidia, possibly the Tegra X2, along with a Pascal-based GPU with 256 CUDA cores, meaning it wouldn’t be able to match the older PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in terms of graphical performance.
The Switch’s battery life – often a make or break factor for many devices – is also a mystery, as is the apparent lack of touchscreen capabilities. When asked about the latter issue, Nintendo said: “We have nothing to announce on this topic. We will make additional announcements about the Nintendo Switch hardware later, before the launch of the product."
But the biggest investor concern about the Switch is its price. If it doesn’t launch at a cost equal to or less than the price of other available consoles, it will likely struggle. “They must find a way to release the Switch at US$299 to stand a chance; that’s the threshold. It’s not impossible by offering the device in multiple versions,” game industry consultant Serkan Toto told the Financial Times. He added that Nintendo’s machine may still fail to reach a wide audience: “Who else but diehard Nintendo fans will buy the Switch?”
Nintendo's shares jumped 3.3 percent after it announced the Switch trailer was arriving, before falling more than twice that amount after the video appeared.
When the Nintendo Switch launches next year, it will not only have to compete with the current crop of consoles but also the smartphone games market, which is becoming more popular all the time. We’ll find out if investors were right to be cautious when the Switch arrives in March 2017.