Nintendo’s Switch console is as good a device as you can get right now, due to its ability to be either your favourite home console or your handiest mobile time-waster. It’s also three years old now, and it has done what scientists refer to as “gangbuster” numbers on the sales chart. So what’s next for the big N? How does the company improve upon what many consider to be its finest console ever?
By focusing on iteration instead and transforming the Switch into gaming’s iPhone. Now that Nintendo stock is worth more than ever, investors want to see a long lifespan for the Nintendo Switch. According to a Bloomberg report, the traditional console cycle of introducing a successor device every five to six years effectively resets the playerbase for that hardware, and with 61 million people having access to a Switch, hitting F5 on that audience should be avoided.
“With every console generation, the install base resets to zero and their earnings power essentially resets to zero,” Toan Tran of investment manager 10 West Advisors explained to Bloomberg. The solution then is not to create a brand new console, but to rather build on the existing brand over time while keeping the current audience within the ecosystem of the Switch.
Which is pretty much what Apple does with the iPhone, which sees a new release every year while keeping several generations of users active within its own sphere of influence. “They can continuously have an install base of say 100 million consoles out there, that just moves along over time,” Tran added.
Nintendo has already begun experimenting with a more iterative model, having introduced the Switch Lite last year and saying absolutely nothing about the rumoured Switch Pro that will be released next year. Even so far back as 2013, signs of this attempt to break free of the traditional console cycle were hinted at when the late Satoru Iwata commented on unifying Nintendo’s home console and handheld divisions into a single group.
Since then, Nintendo has hinted more and more at a strategic paradigm shift, focusing on creating a constant and reliable stream of revenue from the Switch. In summary, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it or whip the gaming community into a frenzy with a tease of new hardware that will have them frothing at the mouth.
Last Updated: October 7, 2020