Blast off

Nintendo aims for post-Pokemon success with the Switch

BY Editors | Mar 3, 2017 | Opinion

The games console arms race continues. Nintendo’s Switch targeted at Sony’s PlayStation 4. To be precise, it's meant to displace the Playstation from its orbit.

Launched in Tokyo yesterday, the Switch has a removable screen that lets players dock it at home and also use it on the go like a tablet with detachable controllers – called Joy-Con – on both sides.

It’s meant to give gamers a more immersive experience with realistic physical sensations matched to what’s happening on-screen.

A remote control feature means players can take their eyes off the screen to face off, punch the air in a boxing game or get into a gun duel.

The Switch costs USD299 blends Nintendo’s Super Mario history in the console business with its fledgling mobile gaming strategy, which got a big brand win after Pokemon Go's success last summer. (Nintendo did not develop Pokemon Go but owns shares in the Pokemon Company.)

Kyoto-based Nintendo aims to sell more than two million Switch consoles in its first month. It’s the spiritual successor to the smash-hit Wii, which sold over 100 million units worldwide after its launch a decade ago. The Wii’s successor, the Wii U, was a damp squib.

Nintendo once owned the console market. Gamers are still misty-eyed for the Nintendo 64 or GameCube, and portable devices likes GameBoy and the DS handheld.

Can the Switch bring post-Pokemon success for Nintendo in the multibillion-dollar games console market?

The pundits say...

"Switch is probably one of the most important consoles for Nintendo in the past decades," says Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based games industry consultant.

"[It's] the first time where Nintendo basically combines portable games and home console games into one device, into one platform."

But trying to score a win in two different markets is risky, he adds.

"Some people could say that Nintendo is trying to kill two birds with one stone and that it could actually land in the middle and not really catch any of the target groups.”

While it has dipped a toe into the mobile gaming market, the Nintendo also needs to keep up with console maker rivals Microsoft and Sony, which has racked up huge sales of the latest PlayStation, which has sold more than 53 million units globally since its debut in late-2013.

Source: AFP