2017 has been a great year for video games.
In fact, some are already making the argument that this is the best year for video game releases in the last 10 years or so. Between PC hits like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, 3DS titles like Samus Returns, and console games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, and even upcoming releases like the Super NES Classic Edition, it’s no stretch to say that there is a great game out there for almost anyone.
However, only one console can win the upcoming holiday sales race. At present, there’s very little reason to believe the Nintendo Switch will not be that console.
It’s fair to say that most people didn’t see the Nintendo Switch coming. Nintendo was still reeling from the failure of the Wii U when they announced another high-concept console that was underpowered, seemingly overpriced, lacking in third-party support, and – inevitably – understocked.
Despite all the negatives, the one thing that those who doubted the Switch underestimated was its appeal as a mobile gaming device. When you think about it, the Nintendo Switch is really the first gaming device to offer a mobile gaming option that is largely free of compromise. The Switch let you play console quality games anywhere. That spoke to people.
Even more impressive than the Switch’s incredibly successful debut is what Nintendo has done with the console since it launched. Already, the Nintendo Switch has received two stellar exclusives in Splatoon 2 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Some would even add Arms and Mario Kart 8 to that list. Not to mention the impending release of Super Mario Odyssey; a title that may end up being the game of the year.
But Nintendo’s almost assured holiday victory has little to do with game quality and everything to do with the way Nintendo has treated the Switch like it is a must-have item.
When Sony released the PlayStation 4 Pro, they treated it like a console that wasn’t for everyone. Right from the start, they appealed to a select group of gamers who they knew were going to be excited about the console’s increased power level and 4K capabilities. Microsoft is doing something similar with the Xbox One X. Their message is that the Xbox One X is a console for those who already know it is for them.
The Switch is different because it is, at least theoretically, for everyone. You may not be specifically interested in it, but between the raffles that occur in Japan just to get one, the numerous celebrities who have been spotted playing their Switch in real life, and the remarkably steady flow of must-have exclusives the Switch is enjoying, it is the one console released in the last year that has likely been on the mind of every gamer at some point.
The only question now is whether or not Nintendo will be able to put enough Switches on store shelves to meet the inevitable holiday demand. If so, they’ll have the hottest console on the market on their hands. If not…well, the scarcity will likely somehow make the Switch more desirable than ever.
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