With some controversial aspects of the Switch from it’s price, online, launch lineup, and relative lack of 3rd party support, some are already proclaiming the Switch is a failure and Nintendo will Dreamcast itself into 3rd party status. While there are perfectly valid reasons to be concerned about the Switch, I wouldn’t call doom and gloom just yet. Yes, there are worrying aspects to it, but then again, it calls to mind to other Nintendo platforms that were supposedly going to fail because they were under-powered, had terrible launch lineups, and were overpriced for what they were. The DS and 3DS.
The Nintendo DS in particular was ridiculed for it’s ugly design, “gimmicky” features, under-powered hardware and perceived lack of 3rd party support during it’s initial launch window. Many thought the system would be crushed by the far more attractive PSP. In fact, for a brief time in 2005, the PSP was actually outselling the DS despite it’s higher price tag. One revolutionary game, and one much needed hardware revision later, the DS became only the second most successful platform in gaming, with the PS2 edging it out by only a few million.
The 3DS had a much simmilar story. It was overpriced for what it was, it was under-powered compared to the PlayStation Vita, had a weak launch lineup, and many thought it would be crushed by the Vita as it was the same price, and seemed like a much better product. Well after a huge price cut, and improved stream of quality software starting in 2011, the 3DS, while not the same sales juggernaut as the DS, went on to become a very successful platform.
I’m not saying the Switch will follow the same trajectory per-se, but it feels like history repeating itself. The Switch may struggle out of the gate, due to some valid criticisms, but I don’t see it being a Wii U failure. A big reason why the Wii U failed was because it had some fundamental design problems that made it a pain to market clearly. The Switch doesn’t seem to have anything wrong with it design wise. It’s already much more straightforward than the Wii U ever was. So while it may start off slow, there’s still a chance for it to succeed in the market. The Wii U TBH, would’ve still failed no matter what Nintendo would tried to do to salvage it, as it’s problems go much further than just bad marketing. The Wii U’s overall design was just bad. From the gamepad, to the slow OS, to the overall look and execution of the core concept. It had failure on it from day one.
The Switch, so far has no fundamental design problems that could hamper it. Really it’s only biggest problem are it’s price, weak launch lineup, and confusing online strategy (seriously, they better explain how this nonsense is going to work come launch). The Switch I feel is the beginning of a new Nintendo, but it’s not going to happen overnight. It will take a while for it to find it’s footing. That’s why I get annoyed at people calling this Wii U 2.0 because they’re not weighing out the pros and cons of the Switch, and are instead only focusing on the negative aspects.
But, who knows, maybe the Switch will fail spectacularly and Nintendo can do nothing about it. All I’m saying is, don’t write it off just because of a handful of controversies. The Switch has an uphill battle to face, but I doubt it’ll be another Wii U.