Anyone who has owned a Nintendo Wii U will be the first to tell you about the dreaded time period between the releases of new Nintendo titles.
Since around the time of the GameCube, owning a Nintendo console has meant that you’re buying into the ability to play new Nintendo games. Any other great – or even good – games the console may get that weren’t made by Nintendo are simply the cherry on top. This hasn’t always been the best arrangement, but it’s one that Nintendo fans have begrudgingly learned to live with.
So, when Nintendo recently announced that the Nintendo Switch has surpassed the lifetime sales of the Wii U in less than a year, many suggested that it did so on the backs of two incredible Nintendo releases; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Those same people have spotted a potential issue with the Switch’s 2018 lineup. We know the Switch is getting a new Yoshi game, a new Kirby game, and a new Mario Tennis, but Nintendo has not yet revealed what is generally considered to be a major entrant in their most popular franchises. If Nintendo decides to not release something like a new Metroid game in 2018, can they continue to sell Nintendo Switches at a record pace?
Yes, actually, they can, and they probably will.
While it’s far too early to say that Nintendo has no more major releases in the pipeline – those announcements will likely be coming at this year’s E3 – it is very likely that Nintendo’s 2018 first-party lineup won’t be quite as strong as 2017’s. In that past, that may mean less incentive for people to buy a Nintendo console this particular year.
It is likely that Nintendo has saved a big announcement or two, but even if they haven’t, there is very little reason to believe the Switch can’t weather that particular storm. The easiest way to validate that argument is to suggest that Nintendo’s increasing reliance on indie and third-party developers means that the famed “Nintendo drought,” may not be as impactful as it has been in the past, but that’s quite the case. After all, we have a hard time believing that Nintendo will sell 14 million more Switches because of old ports and a few notable indie games.
Instead, the biggest reason you should trust in the Nintendo Switch to continue its growth is that Nintendo has clearly already appealed to those fans who don’t buy Nintendo systems just for Nintendo games. They proved that when the Switch outsold the Nintendo Wii U in under one year. Now, Nintendo seemingly has the attention of people who just want to play fun games on a system that allows them to take console gaming anywhere.
That makes the potential growth of the Nintendo Switch almost impossible to really predict. The last time Nintendo truly had the attention of people outside of their core audience, they produced one of the best-selling consoles of all-time (the Nintendo Wii). While the Switch isn’t quite as popular in the mainstream (not yet), it is proving to be very popular with a more cynical group; those who don’t just buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games.With those consumers on-board, Nintendo might just be in the rare position to “take a year off” from a major release and still watch the Nintendo Switch shatter sales records.
You may want to see Nintendo release another couple of major new titles this year, but don’t think they have to for the Switch to continue its tremendous growth.