Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the Nintendo Switch, the latest console from Nintendo. This console has brought us great games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and a bunch of other fantastic games. The first year for the Switch has been nothing but successful with 14.86 million units sold as of January 2018, on track to be one of Nintendo’s most popular consoles ever!
So what is it exactly that makes the Nintendo Switch so popular? Is the ability to take it with you on the go? Or the major franchises that Nintendo owns like Mario, Pokemon, and Zelda? Could it be they joycons that are unlike any other remote? Or maybe it is a combination of all these things. Lets take a closer look and try to find out!
What is the Nintendo Switch?
If you do not know what the Nintendo Switch is or are not very familiar with it, then this post isn’t going to be very helpful to you. So let’s take a second to talk about it! The Nintendo Switch is the latest system (apart from handhelds) from Nintendo. You can play it on your TV much like the traditional video game console. You can also take it with you on the go by switching to handheld mode. All you have to do is pull it out of the dock, attach the joy-cons (or play with them unattached), and then you are able to pick up right where you left off! This is what really separates the Switch from other consoles. You can now bring it with you on a road trip or on a plane, then return it to the dock when you get back home and switch (no pun intended) back to TV mode.
We have already discussed one of the main features of the Switch, but what about all the other details like the screen size and storage? With the joycons attached, the Switch is 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long, .55 inches deep, and weighs .88 pounds. The battery life ranges anywhere from 2.5-6.5 hours depending on the game you are playing, and only takes 3 hours in sleep mode to charge back up. Much like Nintendo handheld consoles, the games are on game cards, which you put into the game card slot on the Switch. It has a built in memory of 32GB, but can be expanded up to 2 terabytes by purchasing a MicroSD card. These are just a few of the many details about the features of the Switch.
What makes these little things so special? They are different than your typical controller. They fit in your hand’s so perfectly you almost forget that they are there. With built in motion control system, games like Mario Kart and Splatoon 2 come to life.
Another great feature of the joycons is the ability to use them in various different ways. You can play with them in your hands on the TV or in portable mode. You can also slide them into a controller grip if you prefer the feel of a real controller. Or, you can attach them to the side of the Switch while you play in handheld mode. There are so many different ways to play with the joycons. These are part of the reason the Switch has gained so much popularity.
We can’t have a discussion praising the success of the Switch without talking about one of the main things that has gotten it to where it is today. Games. Two of most obvious are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, but there are also smaller games like Mario + Rabbids, Splatoon 2, and Stardew Valley that have helped it become successful. All these games, popular and less popular, have come together to make the Switch what it is today.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been one of the most popular games for the Switch thus far and is the most critically acclaimed. In January, Breath of the Wild had sold 6.7 million copies, behind Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey. In 2017, The Game Awards awarded The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the 2017 Game of the Year. One of the things that makes this Zelda game so popular is the use of the hang-glider. Having the ability to climb up to the top of a mountain and then soar off the top is one of the greatest feelings that a video game can offer. The game is also filled with different side story tasks to do while or after you are completing the main story, so the game can be played for countless hours. All of things things have made Breath of the Wild one of the most popular Switch games.
Super Mario Odyssey also has played a big role in the Switch’s popularity. Everyone’s favorite plumber is back at it again, this time chasing Bowser through various worlds in an effort to rescue Peach (read all about the latest Super Mario Odyssey update)! As of January 2018 Super Mario Odyssey has sold over 9.07 million copies since its release in October 2017. Odyssey was also a close second in the Game of the Year discussion, even though it had only been out about 2 months when the award was given! This game has been the most popular game for the Switch sale’s wise. Mario has always been one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises (read about the birth and evolution of Mario), so it is only fitting that it take a part in the Switch’s overwhelming success.
Other games like Mario + Rabbids, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 2 have also helped with the Switch’s popularity. These titles may not be ‘best sellers’, but they are still games that people enjoy playing in between the big title games. Indie games, such as Stardew Valley are also a big part of the Switch’s game library, accounting for a lot of the e-shop sales. 2017 was a big year for games with the Switch, so it will be interested to see if 2018 can keep up!
Nintendo Labo is the newest creation for the Switch by Nintendo. Coming in April 2018, the Nintendo Labo lets you build DIY sets that you can place your joycons in. For example, if you have the piano set, you will be able to build the piano, using the perforated cardboard cutout, you then attach your joycons and Switch to it. Then you can use the Labo software to play songs on your Switch! When you hit the cardboard piano keys, your Switch will produce that note. They also have a fishing rod, RC car, motorbike, house, and even a robot! This is is a classic example of Nintendo thinking outside the box and going in a direction that no other gaming company would even think to go in. Moves like this are part of the reason Nintendo has been so popular and is what it is today.
The Switch has seen a very successful first year. With almost 15 million units sold and some amazing titles like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, it is not surprise that it has been a hit. It remains to be seen if year 2 will be just as successful (or more successful) as year 1, but with Nintendo’s track record, I would guess that they have plans to keep the success and popularity rolling. Additions like Nintendo Labo and new games will play a big role in the Switch’s popularity in 2018. I am not sure what Nintendo has up their sleeve, but I cannot wait to find out!
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