Codename NX is now known as the Nintendo Switch, and it’s shaping up to be a spectacular turnaround for the company. The hybrid console can be played at home and on the go, combining the best elements of local and portable play.
Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii U, was a financial failure, shipping less than 13 million units worldwide since November 2012. It hardly captured the enthusiasm of hardcore enthusiasts, let alone the general public.
Following the global success of the Wii, Nintendo saw itself riding on a wave of success and hubris, yet failed to capitalise on this momentum with a truly unique successor. The Wii U was, and remains an underutilized platform with a shrinking player base.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic system with a wonderful library of games, but simply didn’t capture the imagination of the public in a meaningful way. Many, myself included, saw it as nothing but a fancy new controller for the previous platform, offering no improvement in power or performance.
The Nintendo Switch is the polar opposite of such a product, delivering a precise and confident message with its recent reveal trailer. It can be taken anywhere, supporting console-quality games through an impressive multi-touch tablet.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild headlines the Switch’s launch lineup, a redefining entry in the franchise that feels riskier than the platform itself. Nintendo is taking a tremendous step forward with the Switch, transforming its family friendly image into one that appeals to both hardcore and casual players.
Time will tell whether Nintendo can replicate the iconic reputation of the Wii, a platform which remains prominent in the public consciousness almost 10 years after its release. With any luck, it will reverse the fortunes of Nintendo, who remain skeptical in the minds of fans and investors across the industry.