Tl;dr: no facts, no stats; the Nintendo Switch won. Here’s an arbitrary list as to why:
- It sold bazillions of units.
- Everyone said it would be shit but it’s really fucking good.
- Yet another Skyrim port; but this time you can play it on a train.
Ok, ok, you may have guessed this is completely subjective. I love the Switch. I don’t play it as often as I should (mainly because I’ve just built a new PC rig) but I still truly believe it’s the best console of this generation. Why? Because it offers things the other platforms can’t.
The Switch has entered a niche in the market, offering a fully handheld console experience but with the option of being a home console. This flexibility lets it slot seamlessly into my gaming arsenal, allowing me to play on the go when I’m away from my extremely static PC gaming rig. For me personally, it’s primarily a handheld console but for others it’s the family machine. With Mario Kart, Mario Party and Smash, there are games that can bring the whole family together; but I don’t think portability is the main reason the Switch won.
Let’s talk about exclusivity.
“The other consoles have exclusives too!” I hear you cry. Yeah, but games like Uncharted and God of War don’t really make me wish I had a PS4. If I want a strong adventure game I can play Tomb Raider; if I want a solid fantasy-adventure game I have Shadow of Mordor (I know it’s old but it’s still good!). Where are the Xbox exclusives? Well, they’re a little lacking so not worth mentioning; I’m looking at you, Sea of Thieves! With most of these games also being available on PC, my Xbox spends most of its days gathering dust. There’s only one game in the past year that’s made me wish I owned a different console and that was Spiderman, but even that wasn’t enough to sway me.
So how is the Switch more exclusive?
Nintendo has always managed to retain it’s intellectual property, and what a catalogue of games! They use this to their advantage perfectly as you have to own their consoles to play their games; and they’re usually fantastic! Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won the hearts of both critics and fans, earning perfect scores and a plethora of awards after it’s release. Nintendo are still responsible for publishing games which means they have the final say on quality control, leading to highly polished games that feel finished on release. Games that feel worthy of a release day purchase without feeling cheated by the day one DLC or concerns of it being a bug riddled mess.
And they’re desirable games.
I started writing this piece on the 26th Feb; but a day later, on Pokémon Day, Nintendo have just announced the next generation of the legendary Gamefreak series, Pokémon Sword and Shield. I can easily say these game have me more excited than any release in the past 3 years. So what? Well, I don’t really get excited about games anymore. As I approach 30, I have less money to splash out on games because I have more financial responsibilities so new releases tend to pass me by. I didn’t buy any titles released in 2018 and the last game I bought was Mario Odyssey; coincidentally a Switch title. Pokémon will likely be the first game I make an effort to purchase in 2019 and it’s because it can’t be replicated by any other series. Nintendo are able to offer titles no-one else can come close to replicating.
It comes as no surpise that the Switch is the best selling console of 2018.
With Smash Ultimate, Mario Kart, and Mario Party all selling fantastically, it comes as no surprise that the hardware sales have continued to grow. Even with a 3 year gap between the releases of the Xbox One and the Switch, Nintendo are now hot on Microsoft’s heels for total units sold. And a big driving force of that is the exclusive titles available on the platform. Most AAA releases are available on multiple platforms, and if it’s available on Steam I’ll just wait to pick it up on sale.
There is one thing the Switch can’t do as well; run the regular AAA titles. The Switch is a fantastic console but its hardware does lead to graphical limitations which will leave some gamers itching for more. But my argument was that the Switch is the best console, not the best platform (which is PC by the way). If you’re a console-only gamer and want to play the latest Call of Duty, this is not the console for you; but if you want creative games that put a smile on your face then there should definitely be a HDMI port on your TV dedicated to the latest Nintendo offer.
For now though, I’m going to go chill on my sofa and play some more Mario Odyssey.