This coming March the Nintendo Switch will turn one year old – and what a first year it's had. With more than 10 million sales at the close of 2017 the console has been a far greater success than the Wii U that came before it, and Nintendo's president Tatsumi Kimishima has even said he believes it could rival the success of the Wii.
Kimishima isn't getting too carried away with this initial success, however, as he also said, in an interview with Japanese publication Mainichi, that the Switch's second year will be "crucial" in securing the "long lifespan" he believes the console has.
The sales goal for the Switch's second year is now 20 million, which is a high target to set. To achieve this, Kimishima has said Nintendo's aim is to expand the console's user base beyond traditional gamers and include those "who barely touch game consoles".
A console for everyone
In order to do this Nintendo will have to continue to expand the Switch's library of games, which is already off to a fairly good start. More than any other Nintendo console in recent years, the Switch has a reasonably wide range of games to play.
We've seen the guaranteed first-party hits like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, which will draw in the early adopting Nintendo fans, as well as mature third-party titles like LA Noire and Dark Souls, which are more likely to appeal to older gamers who are less likely to pick up a Nintendo console for its first-party creations.
We've even seen a significant rise in e-Shop based indie darlings like Thimbleweed Park and Stardew Valley to tide Switch owners over between big releases and draw in the fans of smaller titles.
While Nintendo is guaranteed to continue to release excellent family-focused titles, it'll be the continued expansion of its third-party offering that will keep the console's momentum going and continue to draw in the most diverse audience.
At TechRadar we've already acknowledged that the console's more mature games are a huge improvement for Nintendo. However, we've also suggested that the company will need to secure newer third-party releases, rather than simply re-releasing older titles from the older PlayStation and Xbox generations, if it's to remain relevant and interesting rather than novel.
With modern mature third-party games behind it as well as Nintendo's more family-friendly first-party titles, the Switch becomes competitive and original in terms of software breadth as well as hardware.
Whatever Nintendo's immediate plans are, from Kimishima's words it's clear that the Switch's successful first year isn't being taken for granted, and that Nintendo will push harder on the software front to secure a more successful second year for the new console.
While the novelty of the Switch’s hybrid form certainly has a wide appeal, that can't be relied on to drive sales forever, and it's the games the console is able to offer that will truly make or break it.
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