The future of Nintendo's hybrid console.
Without further ado, let's dive in.
The position of Nintendo and the importance of the Holiday season
The Switch doesn't have many of these problems. The shortage problem has been resolved and it's not that hot of an item that it risks getting stolen. Lastly, if you upscale the sold units from this year to what it could be during the holidays (based on its previous holiday performance) it would easily outsell the other two consoles. We'll just have to wait and see if this projection comes true or not but I would find it remarkable if that ends up happening.
What also sets the Switch apart from the competition is, of course, its hybrid nature as well as its library of games. That you can bring it on the go is still a big selling point, even if the novelty of the concept has worn off a little by now. The Switch is also supported has a strong library of games. A benefit Nintendo has such a strong first-party titles. Games that you can only play on a Nintendo console like Mario and Zelda. Due to this, a Nintendo console has for years been a console that many have 'to the side'. They have an Xbox or PlayStation and then also a Nintendo console for handheld gaming and/or for those exclusive games. The cheaper price of the hardware will also help a great deal to set the Switch apart. A proper next-gen console will cost you 500 bucks while the Nintendo Switch is only 300 bucks. For people who don't have a lot of money to spend, and for parents looking for a present for their kid(s), this lower price is very appealing. Not only the hardware but also the software will (most likely) be cheaper. Due to a multitude of factors such as rising production costs, the RSP (the suggested retail price) for PS5 and Xbox series X games are around 80 bucks. Those for the Nintendo Switch are 60 bucks. If they keep their price like this, it means that they will have yet another benefit over their competitors.
Nintendo's potentail competition strategies
Now that I've discussed everything that sets the Nintendo Switch apart from the PS5 and Xbox series X, let's get into some of those potential strategies Nintendo could follow. I see three paths forward. Nintendo keeps doing what's it doing now, it follows the trend the other game consoles have said or do something completely different.
Simply staying the course is the most simple one. Bank on the current demand of the console, it's exclusive library of games and is status as a family-friendly console to keep filling a niche that the PS5 and Xbox Series X don't. The Switch is already doing quite well. While the new PS5 and Xbox Series X will definitely cause sales to drop a little, that won't suddenly make the Switch unsellable. The strong first-party games will also keep being a strong selling point of course. With how the PS5 and Xbox Series X are kind of lacking strong first-party games, for the time being, that's also something the Switch has going for it at the moment.
|Option 2: an upgraded Switch model. Art by Reddit user Samervho.|
An upgraded Switch model is the most likely of the three options if you ask me. It's something they've done before, would put gamer's attention back on the console and could lengthen the systems life-cycle. It would also do wonders when it comes to third-party support, something the company has historically speaking struggled with. The lower power of the Switch compared to its competitors have made porting of these titles difficult. They often have to make sacrifices like in reduced graphics or cut content. A more powerful Switch would mean that there is more potential for these third party games to come to the system.
With the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 now out, the position of the Switch is about the change. Due to stock issues and a lack of any true system sellers for the new consoles, the Switch will most likely still have a few months of strong sales ahead of it before those consoles will overtake it. After that, we'll just have to wait and see. One thing is certain though: the Switch has been a strong seller throughout its life. Nintendo is not just going to roll over for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. They'll definitely have some sort of plan for 2021 and beyond. If that is just staying the same general course, a 'Switch Pro' or something completely different.
Whatever ends up happening, I'm confident that the Nintendo Switch will wither the storm of the new console generation and keep being a strong player within the gaming industry.