While it may be the underdog in terms of raw horsepower and the size of its library, the Nintendo Switch continues to prove popular with players worldwide. In fact, this hybrid home console has managed to shift more units in its native Japan over the course of its first year on sale than any other machine in the history of video games. IGN reports that the Switch was even able to outpace the venerable PlayStation 2 after spending less than 12 months on sale, breaking a historic record which looked like it was unlikely to be topped. Demand stayed fairly solid throughout 2017, culminating in almost 850,000 being sold in the run-up to Christmas. Analysts suggest that this momentum is likely to be maintained going forwards, with titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild encouraging more people to part with their cash.
Power isn’t everything
It is particularly impressive to see the Switch sold more than 10 million units globally following its release last March, given that it is not quite as capable as its key rivals, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, in terms of processing grunt. This leaves cross-platform titles performing worse on Nintendo’s machine, especially when it is docked and played via a TV rather than used in handheld mode. Of course, the Switch has a lot of catching up to do. At the moment, the PS4 has surpassed global sales of 70 million, while the Xbox One is sitting at a little over the 40 million mark. But if it continues to outpace the PS2, even if only in Japan, then it could quickly eat into the market share of its bigger, smarter rivals. This news will be especially galling for Sony and Microsoft given that both companies have released beefed-up versions of their own home consoles recently. The suggestion that consumers are less interested in what’s under the hood and more about the quality of the interactive experiences that are available is one that has constantly kept Nintendo in favour with its millions of fans. Meanwhile, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are seen more as boutique items aimed at a limited, hardcore gaming audience looking for crisp 4K resolutions over content in its own right.
Likelihood of longevity
Where the last-gen Wii U suffered was in a lack of support from third party game developers. Even the all-conquering Wii, released back in 2006, did not fare well in this respect, leaving the PS3 and Xbox 360 to sit as the platforms of choice for people who wanted to play anything other than standard Nintendo games. The Switch has made some progress, but its long term success will ultimately be reliant on whether it continues to attract outside firms to develop titles for it. The line-up for 2018 looks solid enough, albeit propped up with re-releases such as Bayonetta 2 and the promise of yet more Mario Kart 8-style ports for franchises like Super Smash Bros. The durability of the hardware will also be significant, as people with multi gadget insurance policies may want to protect the Switch as part of their cover if they are planning to take it out and about. From scratches and scrapes to smashed screens and dodgy controller damage, it makes sense to have UK gadget insurance to keep the console safe when it is used on the go. Thankfully, the best gadget insurance should prepare Switch owners for a variety of worst-case scenarios. And Nintendo’s position in the market looks set to go from strength to strength.