There is no doubt that the PS4 is dominating this generation and will keep doing so for the foreseeable future.Its slew of great game, with its good hardware, is making a killing and I don’t think anyone is going to be able to challenge it to the point that Sony needs to worry about.In the other side of the coin, Nintendo just had its worse selling console with the Wii U, and seemed to be out of touch with gamers, specially with the release of recent flops and badly received games like Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, and Metroid Prime:Federation Force, just to name some titles.And yet, Nintendo managed to turn things around with the Switch.And that, in my opinion, is due to two things:That Nintendo is a great company with excellent talents, and its recent willingness to learn from their mistakes and from its competitors successes.
The first thing would be the marketing.Even though we all know that the early PS4 success is largely due to the total screw up by Nintendo and Microsoft (the 2013 E3 is certainly memorable because of this), it’s easy to forget that their marketing strategy also played a large role into this. It’s not the amount of ads on TVs or promotions on local retailers that I’m talking about, but the content and theme of the marketing itself.Its something we take for granted now, as if it were obvious from the beginning, but the majority of people that game nowadays are usually adults in their mid 20 and 30s.People that grew up with gaming, and now have a stable income and can afford himself or herself to spend a little more money on hobbies such as gaming.And Sony marketing reflects that.Now look at the marketing strategy ever since the Switch was first revealed back in October.See a resemblance?Nintendo commercials used to be to good with the Wii and prior to that console, but with the Wii U it did not only not convey the message well about what the system is, but also tried to appeal to the wrong market, since the Wii U was mostly made up of more hardcore gamers, not casual ones.But with the Switch,Nintendo finally understood that its current fanbase is older now, and the overall gaming community also is.Not only that, but the ones that buy consoles in its launch, or even in its first year, when its more expensive, is the more dedicated gamers, which usually are young adults.And even Nintendo acknowledged that.In it’s recent fiscal year report, Nintendo said the majority of Switch buyers were men in their 20s and early 30s.And its ads certainly reflects that.
The second thing would be games.Back in December, I was really impressed by the range of games that Sony showed in their annual Playstation Experience conference.The games showed there were not only your typical first person shooter, or your usual open world game, but there were also platformers(Crash Trilogy),Visual Novels(Danganronpa V3),fighting games(Marvel vs Capcom Infinite), JRPGs(Ni No Kuni II), a myriad of different indies, and many more.That conference basically encompassed the reason why Sony is winning this generation:game diversity.And Nintendo seems to be doing just the same with the Switch.First up, they opened with a huge open world adventure game, in the form of Zelda Breath Of The Wild.Next up, they carried the momentum with a world renowed racing game Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.In June, they will release their new take on the fighting genre with ARMS.In July, they will keep everyone interested with their different take on the third person shooter with Splatoon 2.Betwenn that and December, believing Nintendo insistence that it will launch this year, Switch will get its big open world RPG with Xenoblade Chronicles 2.And finally, to end the year with a high note, Nintendo will release a game in the platformer genre with Super Mario Oddysey.And that’s not even to mention the smaller games that have been/will release, such as Fire Emblem Warriors and Snipperclips, which also covers different genres.Nintendo in not only worried with the release of great games on a steady pace, but since it does not have the advantage of depending on third party like Sony does, Nintendo knows it needs to build up diversity early on through its own games and studios, much like Sony did with the cooperation from third party games, so that later on, with an install base big enough, it can relly on other companies, since they would be more willing to invest on the platform with a bigger certainty that their game can sell there.
Wether this strategy ultimately pans out and Nintendo ends up with a success on their hand, I think it stands to reason that, at the very least, Nintendo is learning with its mistakes.They know that giving a different experience than what the others are giving and making a desirable piece of hardware isn’t enough, you also need to market it right and make games that people from all walks of life wants to play.While its hard to say at this point in time wether the Switch will be a success or a failure, I think its safe enough to say that we wont be seeing another Wii U unfold in our hands.