Nintendo was in quite the dire position a little over a year ago. The success of the Wii led to the Wii U, but that console didn't quite catch on with the public, and was a disaster for the company, critically and financially. This led many to be skeptical about Nintendo and its announcement of the Switch, seeing it as simply an iteration of the Wii U. While this might have been the case, the Switch went on to become an incredible release, selling over ten million consoles in a year's time. As we now bask in the glory of its success, we can look back at some of the moments in its short history.
Upon its debut, many questioned whether the company's game plan of providing an experience was really going to pan out, especially when its competition, was going over the top with technology, offering 4K, HDR, and more. After all, it had failed miserably with the Wii U, and the starting game line up for the Switch wasn't exactly filled with a lot of winners. Despite a wide assortment, many were just ports from PC and older titles, with the only real stand out being The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game carried the console in its first few months, assisted later by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
It was around this time, that things really started to change. While it could be coincidence or part of a carefully crafted strategy, many developers were now coming out of the woodwork pledging their allegiance to the Switch, announcing that games were either in development or would be making an appearance on the platform. To an outsider, it looked like the success of the Switch had started to win over those that had initially been skeptical. Whatever the reason, Nintendo now seemingly had the backing of plenty of third-party developers, and this was a very good thing.
With the firm still teeming with the success of Zelda and Mario Kart, it began the next phase of its attack, with the release of Arms and also a confirmation date for Super Mario Odyssey. The energy of the public was clear, as the firm had a packed booth at E3 2017. A month later, Splatoon 2 would arrive to retail, continuing the success of the titles previous to it. At this time, supplies of the console started getting better, meaning you could actually find them on the shelves at local retailers. With summer coming to a close, Nintendo would finally unleash its biggest title yet, Super Mario Odyssey in October, selling an estimated sell two million units upon release.
With a new year upon us, Nintendo announced Labo, a DIY 'build-and-play experience', and that the Switch eclipsed lifetime sales of its Wii U console in a mere ten months. Although it had an excellent 2017, its second year is what will really put the console to the test. In year one, it pulled out some of the big guns, so one has to wonder what it has in store for its sophomore year. From the official website, it looks like third-party support will be strong. But there are some healthy offerings from the console's first-party catalog, like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Tennis Aces, a new Yoshi title - not to mention, it will debut the Nintendo Switch Online service later this year.
The honeymoon phase for the Switch is over, ending what was an excellent first year. However, let's see what it can do going forward, and how a revitalized Nintendo will leverage its success.