The Nintendo switch came out almost nine months ago. At that time, he has received eight exclusive games: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Splatoon 2, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Fire Emblem Warriors, Super Mario Odyssey and today's big release. , Xenoblade Chronicles 2. While all these games received favorable reviews, ranging from warmly received to critical powers, that is not the most interesting of them. All were released in different months, with April being the only month that did not receive a major exclusive game, and all belong to different genres. Nintendo's biggest strength has always been its first party titles, but now they're doing something they have not done in quite a while: they're setting the pace.
There are, of course, other exclusive and a third important releases that have come to the Switch – Snipperclips, Pokkén Tournament, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Sonic Mania: the list goes on. Nintendo takes its time to offer consumers a steady stream of exclusive to buy, perhaps it is their secret weapon that ideally will keep the Switch healthy for quite some time. They still have many games hidden under their sleeves and there are no signs of slowing down from here. Still, there is an interesting narrative to follow on how they arrived at this point, how they have masterfully executed this release schedule and how they are likely to maintain this pace in the future.
How did Nintendo get here?
Wii U failed for many reasons, one of which was its completely inconsistent launch schedule of major games. The console was released on November 18, 2012 with New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land and not much else. Pikmin 3 was supposed to be the title of the launch window, but it slid back to the version of August 4, 2013. That was followed by The Wind Waker HD in September and Super Mario 3D World in November of the same year. In 2014 the much-needed releases of Donkey Kong Country took place: Tropical Freeze in February, Mario Kart 8 in May, Bayonetta 2 in September, Super Smash Bros. in November and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker in December. Then, 2015 received Splatoon in May and Super Mario Maker in September. By the time 2016 arrived, the Wii U might not have existed: the only great exclusives it received were The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD in March, Star Fox Zero in April and Paper Mario: Color Splash in October. 2017 naturally had The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild in March, but the enthusiasm surrounding the switch made its launch on Wii U barely registered.
Many players lamented the lack of Wii U games, but there are sixteen unique exclusives there, and there are numerous games not mentioned that were also released. The problem was that their release dates were so scattered that the Wii U never had the opportunity to gain momentum. In each of those years, months and months passed without major exclusions of Wii U, and although Super Mario 3D World and Bayonetta 2 are legitimately fantastic games, the perception of the system is that Nintendo gave up. In 2016, that perception seemed to be the reality: the most likely thing is that Nintendo has started to change almost all the development of the Wii U games towards Switch.
It is worth mentioning that Nintendo also divided its development resources between Wii U and 3DS in the last five years. The 3DS, like the Wii U, had a difficult launch. However, unlike the Wii U, the 3DS managed to change things and become a highly successful handheld with dozens of valuable exclusives that were launched over the course of almost seven years. The infamous "drought" of Nintendo games also came to the Wii console, a console that was very successful at launch, but due to the total lack of third-party support and inconsistent Nintendo releases, it lost popularity after only a few few years. In fact, Nintendo has not released a console that has had a constant stream of great games throughout its life, perhaps the Super Nintendo: a console so recognized by its games that a miniature version of it does not seem to remain on the shelves of stores 26 years later. Well, it could now be the moment of change to usurp that throne.
How is Nintendo doing this?
When the Wii was launched with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, most people forgot that they came to the GameCube and jumped the ship as fast as possible. This trick was repeated when The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild was launched next to the Switch, and somehow managed to sell more than the console for a short period of time. That important title was everything that Nintendo needed to maintain during the first two months of the Switch's existence: after all, it is a huge game, and most of the players took about that time to play it. After this, another important game was released in each following month until now. The question is: how did Nintendo handle this important change after the Wii U launch patch?
Well, that's part of the equation: Nintendo probably did not stop the development in most of the Wii U games in less than two years ago, and all games in progress (like Breath of the Wild) began the development of Switch. Of course, they used other tricks to keep this schedule so tight. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is simply an enhanced port of its twin brother Wii U, and the development of the title probably consumed few resources and took little time to complete. It is also very likely that they clung to the games that were completed long before launch so that they had their own time to shine. Super Mario Odyssey was very polished and in a state that many members of the press considered complete when it was exhibited at E3 in June. It seems that Nintendo took the intermediate time to polish it further and give it a launch date that would thrive in Christmas sales.
What is perhaps the greatest blessing for this impeccable calendar? The switch has more development power behind it than any other Nintendo system in history. This is because it is the first console that the company has launched without having also a hand system to devote development teams. Naturally, there have been some great 3DS titles that have appeared since Switch has been in the market, such as Fire Emblem Echoes, Metroid: Samus Returns and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but the development of the handheld is decreasing. All this is thanks to the hybrid nature of Switch, making it the company's flagship hand system and . Big developers like Game Freak that make Pokémon games are now working on home console titles: and no one is more interested in seeing what the first Pokémon game on the main console has in store than us. Teams that worked on great games like Luigi & # 39; s Mansion: Dark Moon and Fire Emblem Awakening for 3DS are working together with teams that created masterpieces such as Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo is one of the largest video game publishers in the world, and now can put all its weight behind the Switch in the future.
How can Nintendo possibly maintain this rhythm?
It's no secret that Nintendo has not given many definitive dates for Switch games to arrive in 2018. This is due in large part to the new respect the company has for announcing and promoting the games closest to the launch. They have many hands on their sleeve, certainly much more than Microsoft, and it is possible to launch another great exclusive every month for next year. That is, of course, if they maintain this type of programming and no major development issues spoil their plans.
The great ballad of the Breath of the Wild, The Ballad of Champions, is supposed to come this month, but do not be surprised if Nintendo leaves for January to maintain momentum and avoid cannibalism of sales of Xenoblade Chronicle 2. Then games like Kirby Star Allies and the new game of Yoshi that have already been announced could become possible in February and March. Then, the unannounced games that will surely be in development, such as Animal Crossing and Pikmin 4, can continue this rhythm. And, as always, Nintendo is sure to have Nintendo Directs planned throughout the year to announce more and more games, some for the near future and others a little later. Even teams that have already released major Switch games like Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 have naturally started to increase the development of new games that will be released later in the Switch life cycle.
Nintendo experienced a massive reorganization throughout the company in 2015 and the movement seems to have been worth it in spades. There has not been much noise around Nintendo for quite some time: they released an exciting new system and several critically acclaimed titles in less than a year. It is also the first time in a long time that fans can expect them to maintain this speed. Nintendo has the resources, they have always had the IP and now it seems that they learned from their past mistakes and obtained a new ability to program their games at an optimized pace. This perfect rhythm is Nintendo's new secret weapon and they will continue to brandish it for the foreseeable future.