The first look at Nintendo’s new hybrid Switch console generated plenty of buzz, but one report suggests disappointing sales could mean game over for the Japanese gaming giant’s console business.
A new chart from Statista underscores the importance of Switch’s success to Nintendo, which has its U.S. headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Nintendo has sold close to 62 million units of its original NES console since it was released in 1985 and another 119 million Game Boy handhelds since 1989. Sales of all subsequent releases didn’t live up to these original offerings until the mid 2000s when Nintendo released the DS and Wii, the company’s most successful console and handheld to date.
But follow ups 3DS and WiiU couldn’t replicate that success, and Xbox and PlayStation have since established themselves as the dominant players in the video game world.
“Nintendo desperately needs the Switch to be a hit,” according to Statista. “As our chart illustrates, the company’s most recent console releases haven’t lived up to their predecessors’ successes and if the new console flops, it might very well be the company’s last.”
As shown in yesterday’s trailer, Switch will be a portable device that can also be hooked up to a TV via a docking station for big-screen gaming. The new console will be released next March.
Nintendo is betting that gamers will enjoy Switch’s hybrid home-mobile gaming capabilities enough to make up for the likelihood that it won’t be as powerful as Xbox One or Playstation 4.
The console will have two detachable “Joy-Con” controllers on either side. When gamers are on the move, the controllers can either be attached to the screen for a fully handheld experience or detached while the screen rests on a kickstand. When it’s time to play at home, controllers can be removed for multi-player gaming while the system is on the TV dock.
Nintendo says the system makes a seamless transition from playing on a TV to mobile mode. The controllers can be used in several ways: a single player can use both, one in each hand or docked together in a hand-held port; two players can use one a piece; or more serious players can opt for a “Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.”
There’s still a lot we don’t know about Switch. What kind of battery life will it have? What games will be available at launch? And how much will it cost? Nintendo says it will reveal these details as it gets closer to releasing the console.