Switch Lineup Is Addressing The Right Issues and Can Keep The System’s Momentum, Says MIDiA Analyst
As part of our conversation with Karol Severin, Lead Analyst for research on games and the mobile economy at MIDiA Research, we also discussed Nintendo's early success with the Switch console and whether we can expect this to continue going forward.
Nintendo's Switch console has enjoyed an early success since its launch in March 2017. After the recent E3 showcase, do you believe the games line-up to be capable of carrying the momentum for the remainder of the console's first year?
For now, Nintendo’s line up mix is addressing the right issues as they bring their hybrid games proposition to life fully. They have games to please the traditional console owner, with key partnerships such as Fifa and Rocket league announced. Simultaneously, Nintendo is working on leveraging their hybrid positioning via the planned developments of Pokemon, Super Mario Odyssey, and Pokken Tournament. All are parts of popular franchise worlds upon which the company can build further distinguished propositions which are developed with this hybrid proposition in mind. While I don’t know what Pokemon on Switch will look like, I imagine leveraging the hybrid proposition in ways like creating an immersive console-like battle environment, but then making the on-the-go hunting process a lot more mobile-like. If Nintendo can maintain a healthy mix of traditionally popular and innovative title releases until it has a large enough catalog of titles which fully leverage the hybrid proposition (and therefore create a fully fledged Unique Selling Point), my outlook for the console remains positive. The counter point is that however good the E3 announcements were, Nintendo shouldn’t stop now. If it did it would start losing the initial excitement and possibly momentum.
You have written about the Switch's hybrid nature as a double-edged sword. Given that the console can be used primarily as a handheld, do you foresee the Switch potentially cutting into Nintendo's own 3DS user base?
That may be, but it’s nothing unnatural - old products get replaced by new ones. I believe Nintendo is aware of this and not worried, it’s part of their natural evolution. They have taken the decision to start ushering user bases towards Switch - the console provides a more interesting platform commercially, because besides hardware sales it has a strong subscription service proposition coming - which is an additional source of predictable and steady revenue, provided the offering resonates with consumers positively.
Interestingly, just earlier today Nintendo published their financial report for the latest quarter, which lines up with the outlook provided by MIDiA's Karol Severin. Nintendo managed to sell 4.7 million hardware units, so it should be rather easy for them to keep up with their own 10 million forecast by the end of the fiscal year - and possibly even surpass it.