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Opinion Mea Culpa - who else thought that the Switch would be a failure?

Kazza

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With the 3rd anniversary of the release of the Switch upon us, would anyone else like to confess to thinking the Switch was going to be a flop? For me, I think the word "failure" would be a little too strong to describe my attitude at the time, I just thought it would experience relatively middling sales (maybe 20 million by now). My reasons for thinking so were as follows:

1. Price. $299 for a console not much more powerful than its predecessor, the Wii U, and far weaker than similarly priced PS4 and Xbox consoles.
2. Hardcore Nintendo fans being reluctant to jump on board after feeling burned by the Wii U, as would third parties
3. A lackluster launch line-up. A full priced port of a Street Fighter 2 remake which had already appeared for budget price on other consoles, an average Bomberman game, and a cheesy party game (1-2 Switch - also sold for full price). The only big title was Zelda: BotW, and that was also already getting a simultaneous release on the Wii U (and unlike upcoming cross-gen PS5/XSX titles, the Switch version wasn't even much of an upgrade)
4. Jack of all trades, master of none. While sounding neat in theory, the hybrid concept meant that the Switch seemed too small and underpowered to be a decent home console, while also being too big and battery draining to be a decent portable. The compromises made to the joycons to allow them to be able to be taken off and used as separate controllers also seemed to have a negative effect on the comfort of actually playing on the console. When combined together with that little grip to form a single controller it just looked awkward and uncomfortable next to the PS4 and Xbox controllers, the individual joycons themselves looked too small for anyone other than small children, and a traditional d-pad was sacrificed as part of the design.

To be fair, my doubts were pretty reasonable. Even if you could travel back in time and tell me the kind of software that would be released over the next 3 years, I still would have stuck to my original prediction. In fact, that knowledge would have made me even more sure of it:
- are Nintendo really going to re-release so many Wii U titles? What, at full price too!? Those games didn't help sell the Wii U, why do Nintendo think they will help the Switch!?
- so you're telling me that despite being able to concentrate pretty much all their efforts on a single platform, the only big new first party titles Nintendo are going to release are a new Mario game and another Luigi's Mansion? But surely they will release a new F-Zero or a new Metroid game, right? What did you just say about Metroid Prime 4...
- at least they'll be getting that new Shin Megami Tensei game though. What, it still hasn't been released?!
- ah but you say they did announce a new Bayonetta game, thank god for small mercies. Oh....

It's usually pretty easy to make arguments after the fact as to why something went the way it did, but I'm still not entirely sure why the Switch has been so successful. If I were to guess, I would give these reasons:
- it has been seen as a successor to the 3DS rather than to the Wii U and Nintendo portables have always been successful (eventually anyway)
- Nintendo managed to claw back some of the casual Wii crowd, after the Wii U failed to make an impact
- although not particularly great as a traditional portable, the design has been good for older gamers who can now game on the couch while their other half/kids use the main TV
- better advertising?
- they lucked out with Sony and MS both releasing mid-gen systems, so delaying the next-gen (which could have made the Switch tech look even more outdated than it already is)
- the Wii U made so little impact on most consumers that the re-releases from that console all seemed like brand new games

It's interesting to speculate on what Nintendo's next move would have been if the Switch had sold as badly as the Wii U. Would they have doubled down on the 3DS? Launched a new portable only device? Launched a new powerful home console? Taken another weird and unexpected term and gone full on into VR? Going third party even? I think Nintendo would have had enough money saved up so as not to be in any kind of serious financial trouble, even in the event of the failure of the Switch, but would they have continued to support the Switch?

Still, it's good to see Nintendo sill doing well despite competition from gamepasses, free to play mobile games and Sony/Xbox.
 
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Diddy X

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I thought it could fail due to the WiiU, but Nintendo proved to be way bigger than one console failure.
 
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Thaedolus

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If those cheesy vids at the beginning were actually what the thing could do: pop in and out of docked gaming and have portable multiplayer scenarios without much fuss, I thought it would be a hit. Turns out those scenarios actually exist. I played Smash Bros against 3 other random people on a flight to Cancun last year...

I stood in line at Target to get a launch console and Zelda and don’t regret it at all
 

jufonuk

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Nah.
Sounds odd because
The relative failure of the Wiiu made me think Nintendo would do something random left field, Nintendo like. when I saw it would also be handheld I had a good feeling that it could do 3DS numbers. Maybe even more. If it ever hit DS number. Holy shit. As a fan I can only hope.

Also in hindsight. The hybrid idea made too much damn sense.
 
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ROMhack

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It's usually pretty easy to make arguments after the fact as to why something went the way it did, but I'm still not entirely sure why the Switch has been so successful.

Honestly, I think it's because of the amazing line-up of indie games, coupled with some actual support from third-party developers and a good selection of Nintendo products (which IMO have dried up recently).

The console would genuinely be the Wii U 2 without the hard-work and talent of those indie developers. It massively helps that the console supports a trend of smaller-quality products that don't necessarily require tons of horsepower - and simultaneously it's instilled this belief in the player-base too. That's a strong testament to the foresight of Nintendo who have filled a handheld gap left by both the 3DS and Vita.

I'd further argue that the way Microsoft and Sony work now has given a lot of freedom for Nintendo. Sony have basically avoided associating their console with indie games over the past 3 years. You can see a massive shift in their perspective given how they funded and pushed titles like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and What Remains of Edith Finch prior to the Switch's launch. They've stopped promoting these and have shifted all attention to 3rd person story-games like Horizon, God of War, Death Stranding, etc. A lot of players don't care for these as they prefer more gamey-games.
 
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Stiflers Mom

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It's usually pretty easy to make arguments after the fact as to why something went the way it did, but I'm still not entirely sure why the Switch has been so successful.
I remember calling a friend of mine after that first video (with "Karen on the rooftop") dropped, telling him this thing will sell like hot cakes.
 

Naibel

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I was hyped to no end right after the October 2016 trailer. It was straight to the point, showing the console's great concept, and a refreshing change of marketing strategy after the Wii U blunder.

Then after the January 2017 presentation, I was certainly a tad disappointed. I thought the machine, and especially its accessories, were too expensive to reach mass market. 1/2 Switch seemed like a rehash of Wii Play, and going back to the Wii days was something I wanted Nintendo to avoid. Mario Odyssey looked very weird, and I also massively underestimated Zelda's killer app potential for this machine.

All in all, I was afraid that the Switch would end up being Nintendo's Dreamcast, even though I still rooted for this console, being a Ninty fan to the core. 30/40 million sales total was my estimation at the time.

If was of course very happy to be proven wrong, even though some points of contention are still there, like the high price of accessories and the less-than-stellar online service.

The hybrid concept was just too good to fail I guess.
 
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jts

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Nah. The concept blew my mind. A portable Nintendo with their main offerings, and can also be easily played at home, and it's multiplayer out of the box. We in forums got used to things fast and take them for granted even before they are out, so a few months later the collective hive was naysaying, but the thing was always going to be a hit when it hit the shelves.
 

siekro1983

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I thought it would do 50-60 million since Nintendo handhelds have always been very popular with the kids, and have always sold well for Nintendo. Never thought it would be this successful.
 

ROMhack

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I remember calling a friend of mine after that first video (with "Karen on the rooftop") dropped, telling him this thing will sell like hot cakes.

You know, I thought that advert was pretty dumb because it seemed unfitting of a gaming audience but I guess it perfectly captured the convenience that we expect of modern life.

It's certainly true now that I find the idea of sitting down at a big TV to play games a little anachronistic these days.
 
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mcjmetroid

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I predicted that it would sell more than the WiiU because how couldn't it but be way less than the Wii.

I waited a while for the Switch but gave in with Mario Odyssey.
 

TheCockatrice

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I have no need to purchase one which means in my eyes it failed to get my attention. Maybe when it'll have at least 15 exclusives that I'd be interested instead of 3 I will buy it but until then it's a failure.
 

Stiflers Mom

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You know, I thought that advert was pretty dumb because it seemed unfitting of a gaming audience but I guess it perfectly captured the convenience that we expect of modern life.

It's certainly true now that I find the idea of sitting down at a big TV to play games a little anachronistic these days.
It's the message that worked for the Wii, and it worked again for the Switch.
 

Kazza

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It's certainly true now that I find the idea of sitting down at a big TV to play games a little anachronistic these days.

Haha, I'm completely the opposite. I find it weird these days that so many people seem so happy with using tiny screens, whether it be on a phone or a Switch. I remember using the tiny 14 inch CRT in my bedroom (or taking my console downstairs to play on the "big" TV when my parents were out of the living room) and dreaming one day of being able to play on a huge 40+ inch screen. Now that dream has become a reality, and yet so many people choose to use their phones to play games (or even watch movies...at home!). I don't get it (although I suppose the resolution on some Switch games doesn't make playing on a TV an attractive option - especially something like Xenoblade Chronicles)
 

Hawks Eclipse

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I wouldn't say I expected it to be super successful but my thought process with regards to Nintendo is very simple: if it's a handheld, they've most likely got it in the bag and if not they'll make sure it's supported.
2. Hardcore Nintendo fans being reluctant to jump on board after feeling burned by the Wii U, as would third parties
I think even if all the Wii U owners bought a Switch on day one it still wouldn't be a success.
 

AV

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The Switch simply being the next Pokémon platform alone gave it an automatic 16m sales. Tack on new Zelda at launch? Not a chance this thing was going to fail.
 

JORMBO

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I thought it looked dumb and would fail. It is too bulky to carry around outside of the house and the graphics are weak.

I ended up liking it after buying one.
 

Dr.D00p

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Hoped, not thought.

Despite the fokesy, cutesy public persona, Nintendo are a ruthless, arrogant, anti consumer wank stain of a company, run by corporate suited assholes who never miss an opportunity to gouge they're blindly loyal fanbase into paying for content they've already purchased numerous times over the console generations.

They need a good kicking, and I was hoping a Switch failure would deliver it.

..Maybe next time.
 

mejin

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less than those who thought WiiU would be a sucess, no doubt.

Anyway, from nintendo you can always expect heaven or hell.
 

Vawn

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I figured most here would say, "totally knew this would be a hit", yet history shows otherwise.

 
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Jeeves

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I figure the big, broad-stroke reasons for its success are twofold:

  1. The console, while having a fun gimmick, is not confusing in a marketing way, and doesn't look like a fisher-price toy.
  2. People still want to play Nintendo's games.
Seriously, I think you're underestimating just how poorly the Wii U was marketed, OP.

To answer the question the thread poses, I knew it would do a hell of a lot better than Wii U for the reasons above, but it did surprise me with how much better it did. And I was reluctant to buy it at first because I was going to play BotW on Wii U and the launch library was poor beyond that. Ended up buying it right before Splatoon 2 came out though.
 

bhunachicken

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I'll admit I laughed when I saw the announcement video. I figured it was yet another one of Nintendo's ideas to be different and was expecting it to backfire. Nice to be wrong.

I also laughed when I watched the trailer for Iron Man (the 2008 movie). I figured that would be a crappy superhero film. Fast forward 11 years and was sitting in a packed cinema at 10am on 25th April for the first screening of Avengers : Endgame ...
 

-Troid-

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Personally I haven't gotten a Switch for several reasons:

1) I felt pretty burned by the WiiU. I got one for Bayonetta 2/Xenoblade X and expected a bunch more first party games for it and even that was pretty scarce (Unless you really like Mario and his spin offs). Plus a Nintendo system without a new Metroid game is a detriment to it for me.

2) The handheld nature of it is a selling point for many people, but not me. I don't have time to play games while I'm out and about and gaming is more of something I do to unwind from everything. I'd play the Switch docked 95% of the time.

3) Most of it's games are just ports of 360/PS3 games or WiiU games. Zelda was a system seller but I have a WiiU so I didn't need a Switch. Any game on the Switch I'd want I can already play on systems I own and I don't care about having portable versions of them. I just don't need one except for 3 exclusives that aren't out yet (No More Heroes 3, Metroid Prime 4, and Bayonetta 3)

4) The Switch lacks a good Virtual Console selection of classic games and puts any classic games behind a shitty online service. They should make it so anyone who had a WiiU could link their accounts to the Switch and get access to all their VC games, but of course they want people to pay for shit for the hundredth time.

5) This is more of a tangential reason, but Switch fans are really annoying to me. Go to youtube or something and you always get someone port begging for a Switch version of some game that obviously wouldn't work on it or saying the meme of being able to play "X" on the toilet. They try to tell everyone to get a Switch, especially WiiU owners. "Get a Switch it's so much better than the WiiU!" "WiiU owners should upgrade to a Switch." It's not an upgrade. The only "upgrade" is portablility and Funkey Kong memes.

But I get why its popular; it has the more casual croud of the handheld gamer and noone else is really doing handelds, because Ninty always dominates that field.

The Switch is overrated though, plain and simple.
 
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Thaedolus

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Personally I haven't gotten a Switch for several reasons:

1) I felt pretty burned by the WiiU. I got one for Bayonetta 2/Xenoblade X and expected a bunch more first party games for it and even that was pretty scarce (Unless you really like Mario and his spin offs). Plus a Nintendo system without a new Metroid game is a detriment to it for me.

2) The handheld nature of it is a selling point for many people, but not me. I don't have time to play games while I'm out and about and gaming is more of something I do to unwind from everything. I'd play the Switch docked 95% of the time.

3) Most of it's games are just ports of 360/PS3 games or WiiU games. Zelda was a system seller but I have a WiiU so I didn't need a Switch. Any game on the Switch I'd want I can already play on systems I own and I don't care about having portable versions of them. I just don't need one except for 3 exclusives that aren't out yet (No More Heroes 3, Metroid Prime 4, and Bayonetta 3)

4) The Switch lacks a good Virtual Console selection of classic games and puts any classic games behind a shitty online service. They should make it so anyone who had a WiiU could link their accounts to the Switch and get access to all their VC games, but of course they want people to pay for shit for the hundredth time.

5) This is more of a tangential reason, but Switch fans are really annoying to me. Go to youtube or something and you always get someone port begging for a Switch version of some game that obviously wouldn't work on it or saying the meme of being able to play "X" on the toilet. They try to tell everyone to get a Switch, especially WiiU owners. "Get a Switch it's so much better than the WiiU!" "WiiU owners should upgrade to a Switch." It's not an upgrade. The only "upgrade" is portablility and Funkey Kong memes.

But I get why its popular; it has the more casual croud of the handheld gamer and noone else is really doing handelds, because Ninty always dominates that field.

The Switch is overrated though, plain and simple.

I think only the virtual console point here holds up to any scrutiny. Not an upgrade from Wii U? Casual crowd? Don’t own it but it’s overrated...riiiight
 

Batiman

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I did. The reveal trailer was brutal IMO.
Still like it overall but I had a better time with the WiiU easily
 

Zannegan

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I certainly didn't think it was a guaranteed success or anything, but the core concept was much stronger than the Wii U's. The look and feel of the hardware was nicer, and the advertising from the beginning was much clearer.

As someone already mentioned, that initial trailer with Karen on the rooftop (and Mario Odyssey!) did wonders in terms of communicating what the console was and what it was about. The Wii U didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, while the Switch had a clear and obvious vision.

Would I have predicted that it would be selling on par with the PS4, launch-adjusted, three years later? Not on the heels of the 3DS and Wii U. But it certainly felt like more of a winner, and it couldn't really do worse. lol
 

LordKasual

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I didn't.

Nintendo is the Apple of gaming. Their fanbase is loyal beyond reason, their marketing strategy/audience is pretty precise, and they peddle nostalgia very well. It was going to sell regardless. The Switch is a great piece of hardware but as an overall console, it's extremely mediocre.

It's painful to watch people in 2019-2020 go through what i went through as a lone gamecube owner for most of the PS2/Xbox/GCN era.....


begging for ports of modern games, getting excited for ports of 8 year old games they can finally play on their Nintendo machine that everyone's already enjoyed, and praying for new Nintendo games because they get maybe 1-2 exclusive titles in a year worth getting excited for.

Oh, and being overly blown away at things like Zelda for having gameplay elements that have literally existed for decades in game genres that never made it to Nintendo consoles before.
 
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ROMhack

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Haha, I'm completely the opposite. I find it weird these days that so many people seem so happy with using tiny screens, whether it be on a phone or a Switch. I remember using the tiny 14 inch CRT in my bedroom (or taking my console downstairs to play on the "big" TV when my parents were out of the living room) and dreaming one day of being able to play on a huge 40+ inch screen. Now that dream has become a reality, and yet so many people choose to use their phones to play games (or even watch movies...at home!). I don't get it (although I suppose the resolution on some Switch games doesn't make playing on a TV an attractive option - especially something like Xenoblade Chronicles)

Don't get me wrong, I think phones are still wayyy too small to do anything on myself but I get that people like the 'convenience' factor. The Switch's screen is just about as small as I'd go in terms of a gaming experience, and even then it doesn't work with some things (online Smash for example, which is made so much harder than when playing on a TV).

Conversely, I find the portability aspect so good for RPGs. Haven't blade Xenoblade though so can't comment on that directly.
 
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quest

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Why would anyone be surprised Nintendo hand helds have almost all done well. Now if they return home console market with success then I'll be shocked. It's like being shocked a Sony home console does well duh sky is blue and Nintendo hand helds dominate that market.
 

Saruhashi

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After the Wii U I thought Nintendo's future would be going 3rd Party on Playstation consoles and/or mobile gaming.
To some extent I still believe this is what will happen down the line.
Unless we get to a point where streaming takes over first.

Sparse release dates, no real "cutting edge" games etc etc. Everyone has heard the arguments before.
While the Switch is my favorite console by far, and I also loved the Wii U, I cannot imagine being into gaming having a Nintendo console as your ONLY console.

At the time though I thought it would be a pretty interesting gadget that would ultimately not do well.
 
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Bolivar687

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I honestly thought it was an untethered Wii U and couldn't understand who would be in for that if they weren't already in for the Wii U. I didn't understand that they were basically converting their handheld business into the living room.

Glad to be wrong, the thing is just awesome to pick up and play. You also have to give Zelda a lot of credit for its success.
 

bRacing

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I knew it would do well based on the concept alone. I just suspect the software from Nintendo and also third parties would take advantage of it so well, so quickly. I also wasn't sure it would be popular enough to also be their handheld offering, but they did it. The 3DS sales almost immediately fell off a cliff.
 

Alx

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I expected it to be either a huge success or a flop, but to be honest I thought its potential was for "party gamers", the kind who would use their switch during parties, cocktails, class breaks, group travel etc. and play local multiplayer. I didn't expect it to be used so much as a mobile device.
 
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clem84

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At the January 2017 reveal, I honestly wasn't sure. I thought it looked kinda goofy. On the surface it seemed very similar to the WiiU and that thing was a gigantic failure so I didn't know how much of that would rub off on the Switch. Zelda and Mario Odyssey looked promising but outside of that, Nintendo has always had a problem with keeping 3rd parties so yeah I really wasn't sure if it would tank or be successful. The rest is history.
 
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Jooxed

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I was super stoked as soon as they announced it. Was not apart of GAF at the time, but idiot me did not pre order anywhere and everywhere was sold out of preorders when I got around to it. Someone dropped a hint on Reddit that FYE was taking walk in pre orders so I was able to get one there.
 

Vawn

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At the January 2017 reveal, I honestly wasn't sure.

I felt the same. And I was someone who liked my Wii U.

That presentation really turned me off. It looked like Nintendo wanted to go back to the Wii days (my least favorite Nintendo console).

I can't explain it, but I was insulted by that 1-2 Switch ad. Arms wasn't much better. Even games like Snipperclips played with those tiny joycon, bothered me. They calling passing the joycons around as "Sharing the Joy" ticked me off.






Part of me was hoping for Switch to bomb after that reveal. I love Nintendo games, but not Nintendo gimmicks.

Luckily, the actual Switch we got was so much better than what that ad led me to believe. It has ended up being one of my favorite consoles ever. I use mine close to 50/50 between docked and handheld and the thought of consoles being completely tied to a TV set now bothers me.
 
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NAI1210

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I am a huge Nintendo fan I love their consoles but after the snes days they kinda struggled the n64 brought us some great innovations and some absolute classic games but got destroyed by playstation, and probably has their weakest library apart from the virtual boy, the Gamecube I love and is the system I have the most physical releases for xbox360 being a close 2nd but it didn't fair well against the competition, the wii sold extremely well but the software sales probably not so much everybody might have had a wii but in a lot of cases it wasn't played, the wii u, I do like the wii u but it really was a huge failure.
Obviously Nintendos handhelds have always done well beating all the competition even when the competition had better performing handhelds, the 3ds had a rocky start mind you.
When the switch was first shown I did think it would be successful, but I wouldn't have predicted it to have been as successful as it is, I'm very glad to see it doing so well
 

NAI1210

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I felt the same. And I was someone who liked my Wii U.

That presentation really turned me off. It looked like Nintendo wanted to go back to the Wii days (my least favorite Nintendo console).

I can't explain it, but I was insulted by that 1-2 Switch ad. Arms wasn't much better. Even games like Snipperclips played with those tiny joycon, bothered me. They calling passing the joycons around as "Sharing the Joy" ticked me off.






Part of me was hoping for Switch to bomb after that reveal. I love Nintendo games, but not Nintendo gimmicks.

Luckily, the actual Switch we got was so much better than what that ad led me to believe. It has ended up being one of my favorite consoles ever. I use mine close to 50/50 between docked and handheld and the thought of consoles being completely tied to a TV set now bothers me.
Actually yeah I must admit it was probably not until the ad with the guy playing botw outside and then docking it when getting home, the kinda lifestyle ad, that I thought oh yeah this is looking good 😀
 

DonF

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Smash, Zelda, Mario and Metroid....clearly a winner. That's what i told myself when i got one...
 

Azelover

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Yeah, I thought it was gonna fail too...

I don't even remember why. I just thought they had tried a similar approach before, and the public didn't much care for it. But the quality of the games spoke higher, I think. And the device itself turned out really good.
 
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