Nintendo has been in the console space longer than any current console manufacturer, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that a lot went wrong with the Wii U. From the initial announcement up until now, the system was plagued with issues. Thankfully, Nintendo seem to be making amends with the Nintendo Switch. Their three minute trailer has gamers excited as they move towards a unified home console/portable experience.
It’s an uphill battle for Nintendo as they aim to regain their title as the King of Hardware but here’s seven things that Nintendo need to do in order to give the Nintendo Switch the best chance success.
Nintendo really dropped the ball with the software lineup of the Wii U. They were banking on New Super Mario U and Nintendo Land to be enough at launch but it simply wasn’t. Nintendo Land was never going to match up to Wii Sports and New Super Mario U was just not the 3D Mario that we were asking for.
Unfortunately, Nintendo were incredibly slow to keep pushing out titles and never recovered. We didn’t see another notable Nintendo title until Pikmin 3 in June (7 months after released) and then the Wind Waker HD in October (almost a full year after release).
This is largely due to the fact that Nintendo were new to the HD development game and for the first time found them delaying games past their original release date. It was also due to the fact that Nintendo were struggling to support both the 3DS and Wii U development at the same time, which is why the Nintendo Switch merging their software teams is the best possible decision for Nintendo.
All you have to do is to look at the fact that we never saw a new mainline Zelda game or proper 3D open-world Mario game to realise that the Wii U software lineup ended up being potentially the worst in Nintendo history.
Also, third-party support is incredibly important. I’m not talking about ports, I’m talking genuine console exclusives. Games like ZombiU and Bayonetta 2, whilst not commercially successful, are incredibly important.
This is a no-brainer. It’s probably not so important in this day and age, where for the most part, games are released worldwide at the same time, but if there’s a publisher that still issues with releasing games months apart in different regions, It’s Nintendo.
In-fact, you just have to look at the drama surrounding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at the moment. There’s rumours around it releasing in America/Japan on launch day but not in Europe due to localisation issues. Sure, region free doesn’t fix this but it does allow the hardcore Nintendo fans to be able to pay extra to import a copy from America.
I think the pricing is going to be a tricky one for Nintendo. People have different thresholds when it comes to how much they’re willing to spend on a console. The Wii U launched at $429 for the Premium and $350 for the Basic and it never really dropped from there.
Ask any hardcore gamer and the main reason they never purchased a console was due to the fact that the hardware was too expensive and software was expensive. For Nintendo to lower the price of a console, they need to sell more units in order to have better buying power of their parts. Obviously this never happened with the Wii U.
Nintendo can get away with charging $350-$400 AUD providing that have a great supply of software. This means that they can’t keep releasing games on the 3DS in order to ensure that people upgrade.
Nintendo can go in a bit higher with the price point initially taking into account that they’re probably not going to have a whole lot of stock come March anyways. I think that they can then drop the price or bundle in a Pokemon Stars come the holiday season for great success.
SMART RELEASE DATE
With the Wii U, we constantly saw Nintendo putting new IPs and smaller Nintendo franchises up against big AAA hitters such as Uncharted, Call Of Duty and Halo and it was clear that they were never going to stand a chance.
With Mass Effect: Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn headlining an already packed March, Nintendo need to be smart with they release date and ensure that they can own at least an entire week. Our wallets are strapped as gamers and no decision is an easy one.
ONE CONSOLE SKU
There’s been a lot of talk around Nintendo releasing two different console SKUs again with the Nintendo Switch and I think that this is a terrible idea. This absolutely didn’t work for Nintendo with the Wii U. The hardcore gamer might be informed enough, but the casual gamer wants to go to a shop and buy a product without having to think and be crippled with decision.
I guess you could have a cheaper bundle with smaller storage and a more expensive bundle with a Pro Controller and more storage, but due to the fact that it’s incredibly likely that the Nintendo Switch is going to have removable storage, there’s really no point.
Put the bare essentials in the pack, make it as cheap as possible and let people decide how much they want to spend on storage and extra accessories.
PROPER ONLINE SUPPORT
Nintendo has come a long with with their online ecosystem in recent years but it still doesn’t come close to Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. It was only last month that I had organised to play a 3DS game with a friend only to realise that it didn’t even have online, it’s far too inconsistent – Some games have you playing against other people in your region whilst some have you playing against people around the world.
Nintendo are in the best position to charge for their online. Imagine paying a fee and having access to proper online + any old-school Nintendo game or a certain number of games per month. It’s easy money.
UNIFIED ACCOUNT SYSTEM
Nintendo need to make sure that they’ve got a unified account system that ensures our digital purchases are justified. My Nintendo is a great step towards this but I’m still not confident in my account being a one stop shop for all of my Nintendo content.
It’s even more important for Nintendo than Sony/Microsoft as there’s literally 10 years of Nintendo games that you’ve been purchasing digitally with the Virtual Console.