- The Nintendo Switch is now 2 years old and has secured a comfortable foothold in the competitive video game console market.
- Nintendo’s hybrid console can be used as a handheld gaming system and connects to the TV using a dock.
- With more than 30 million units sold, the Switch has already doubled the sales of its predecessor, the Nintendo Wii U.
Last month marked the second anniversary of the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid video game system that functions as both a home console and a portable handheld.
With more than 30 million consoles sold worldwide, the Switch has helped Nintendo regain a significant foothold in the current generation of video games.
There’s no question that the Switch’s first two years have been a success, and there’s every indication that the console will continue to grow in popularity. Last year, Nintendo led all video game publishers in software sales for the first time since 2009.
So far, the Switch has been the best-selling console of 2019, too. Amid declining hardware sales for other video game companies, Nintendo is posting its best console sales numbers since 2011, according to the NPD Group.
Now that the Switch has celebrated its second birthday, here’s why the console has been such a smash hit.
The Switch was the follow-up to the Wii U, one of Nintendo’s most disappointing consoles.
Screenshot / Nintendo
After the disappointing launch of Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii U, the Switch offered the company a chance at redemption. Nintendo struggled to differentiate the Wii U from the Wii, and its main selling-point, a GamePad with a separate screen, was not fully portable.
While the awkward GamePad tablet was one of the most maligned features of the Wii U, Nintendo chose to lean further into the tablet concept with the design of the Switch. Nintendo developers carried the basic idea of the Wii U one step further and made the Switch a true hybrid console.
Nintendo’s decision to make the Switch a hybrid console has paid off.
The steady growth of the Switch certainly validates Nintendo’s decision to go with a portable hybrid, rather than a standard media center console like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The hybrid features are more than a gimmick; the portable nature of the Switch makes it ideal for children, and using the dock to connect the Switch to the TV is a simple process for kids and adults alike. Time and word of mouth has helped ease the initial skepticism the Switch faced upon release, and people continue to adopt the new console at a rapid pace.
The Switch isn’t loaded with all of the entertainment features that can make the Xbox and Ps4 centerpieces in a home theater setup. Instead, Nintendo’s console is focused on making it easier to play games and share them with others.
The Switch hardware isn’t quite as strong as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 at their peak, but it can handle most games just fine.
While the Switch’s hybrid features are innovative, the console’s overall specs aren’t anything too special. The portable display is a 6.2-inch LCD touchscreen with 720p resolution. The console can output up to 1080p with 60 frames per second when docked in TV mode, but games are frequently capped at 30 frames per second in portable mode.
Despite being the newest console among the bunch, the Switch is less powerful than the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. It can still handle most new games just fine, and hardcore gamers looking for the absolute best experience probably already own another console or a gaming PC. Based on data collected by the NPD Group, more than 50% of Switch U.S. owners also own a PS4, and more than 40% also own an Xbox One.
There are some features that do feel absent with the Switch, including the lack of an ethernet port for wired internet with the Switch dock, and the decision not to support Bluetooth headphones
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