Since its three and a half minute reveal, the Nintendo Switch has prompted a lot of debate and conversations. While there are plenty of positive reactions and vibes to be found, on the flipside you have a sharp decline in share value and some cautious words from analysts.
Hours after the reveal GamesIndustry.biz got the viewpoints of a number of analysts, whose viewpoints took into account the messaging of the video as well as the device. In our own reactions we were mostly zeroed in on the actual device, but the advert's cast of trendy 20-somethings legitimately has some considering Nintendo's target audience.
Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at IHS, focused on this and the market space for the Switch.
Nintendo's Switch reveal trailer unveiled a product positioning which aims to defend against the increasingly robust encroachment of the smartphone and tablet gaming opportunity yet still appeal to traditional console gamers that are looking for a big-screen gaming solution in the home. It has designed the Switch to deliver a flexible solution to cover multiple types of usage, but must avoid delivering a substandard experience by trying to be all things to all users.
Interestingly, the Switch reveal trailer was squarely targeted at young adults, which suggests that Nintendo is refocusing its early marketing on more traditional console gamers and those that also increasingly like gaming on the move. To build success with these buyers the offering must include third-party titles that are supported on other platforms. Nintendo looks to have killed off its motion controllers with the Switch and opted for a more traditional form of gaming experience. This suggests the company is serious about getting third-party publishers to support the platform with multi-platform titles. Potentially, this will help Nintendo's ambition to target young adult gamers.
Nintendo's ability to market a clear use case message to the audience [will be key]. Nintendo failed to do this with the Wii U and paid the price
SuperData's Joost van Dreunen wasn't particularly keen on the demographic put front and centre in the reveal, though.
I have my reservations with regards to the breadth of the audience it targets. The Switch will likely be most popular among a younger audience: its functionality is uniquely geared toward pre-teens and teenagers. While the device seems much less like a toy than we're used to from Nintendo, its features like backseat multi-player and the ability to have several people play using a single piece of the controller target Nintendo's traditional audience. The reveal video makes a lot more sense to me if you swap out all the adults in it with kids.
As for the concept itself, Dr. Serkan Toto (a familiar name here on Nintendo Life) is unsure about the broader concept's commercial prospects, and in particular whether it can bridge the gap to smart device-focused gamers.
Sorry, but is a portable/home console approach really that innovative in 2016? I am most concerned about the target group of the device: who else but die-hard Nintendo fans will buy the Switch? The Switch lacks a killer feature, and I think it will be very difficult for Nintendo to win back the casual gamers that are mostly on mobile now.
In Japan, for example, the mobile gaming sector is already 2-3 times bigger than consoles. Even the PS4 struggles over here. It's going to be a huge challenge to try to reverse that trend.
I find it very difficult to picture a scenario where a critical number of mobile, free-to-play users converts to console and buy hard- and software for several hundred dollars upfront. Different markets, very difficult to bridge.
As for price, the consensus is clear across the board - $250-299 should be the target, matching up in price with other major gaming platforms. Naturally there could be scope for pricier bundles to suit more eager early-adopters, and van Dreunen hopes "they'll keep it under $300, ideally bundled with a Zelda or Mario Kart. Anything over that will severely limit its market potential."
There are a lot of fair points here, and like with any new hardware diverting away from previous systems there's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about whether it'll take off in the market. We'll be tackling some of these topics in an editorial later today.
In the meantime, what do you think on these topics? Hit up the comments and let us know.