Nintendo’s history promises success from ‘Switch’

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Nintendo’s recent console announcement has been the buzz of the media world since its initial release. After mystery and confusion surrounded what was then called the Nintendo NX, Nintendo finally decided to break the silence, revealing a console that Nintendo hopes is the next revolutionary product from the seasoned gaming company.

Now called the Nintendo Switch, this new console, judging by the flashy announcement trailer, will likely be another winner.

Now, it is too soon to say whether the Switch will actually be a success. However, given the pattern of Nintendo’s business practices in the past, I am willing to predict that the Switch will see an enormous following and ultimately be a success for Nintendo.

Nintendo has always been a company looking to differentiate itself from the standard gaming consoles that Microsoft and Sony have been putting out for the better part of a decade. With great innovation, however, comes great risk. This is the same reason why Hollywood fails to put any bids on original projects and instead green lights films like “Rocky 7 ½” and “Jurassic Park 5: The Dinosaurs Are Bigger This Time, We Swear.” New ideas are dangerous, but Nintendo has always been brave.

This model has lead to tremendous success; however, Nintendo has not always been so wildly successful.

After hitting it big with the NES and later the SNES, Nintendo finally decided they wanted to try their hand at something cutting edge and crazy.

Enter the Virtual Boy.

On paper, this sounds great: a portable gaming system that allows one to play games in 3D. It was sort of a quasi-virtual reality experience. Even with such a neat concept, in practice, the console was a horrible failure. For whatever reason, the games were all featured in eye-straining black and red that made some games nearly impossible to play. That is, if one could even find a quality game. The Virtual Boy failed so miserably that there were only 13 games released for the console.

Immediately after the Virtual Boy was released, Nintendo jumped back on the train of success that was proudly conducted by Link, Mario and cart racing games. It was not until the Wii that Nintendo shook up the gaming market again.

But what came after the Wii? This, of course, was Nintendo’s next failure, the Wii U.

While the Wii U was by far a greater success than the Virtual Boy, the causes of its commercial failure were quite similar. The Wii U came with a “gamepad,” touchscreen, controller that was clunky, inefficient to use and drained quickly. Though it had its well-crafted games, it still did not have the same third-party support that competing consoles had, which harshly stifled its sales numbers. It sounded great on paper but failed in practice.

Now, from the ashes of Nintendo’s most recent failure comes the Switch: a console that has already got off on a better foot than the Wii U. Its goal to seamlessly integrate home console and portable gaming is one that could change the face of gaming. Or, it could end up as a set of giant, red goggles on a stand sitting in a pawn shop for 20 bucks like the Virtual Boy.

The ball is in your hands, Nintendo. Do not screw it up.