In 2006, Nintendo set out to reinvent the video game market, when they did something different than everyone else with the Nintendo Wii. A system vastly under powered for the generation against the heavyweights; the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. What many believed would mockery of what video games had evolved to, one that encouraged grandmas and grandpas to wiggle and waggle their controllers instead of the latter’s cutting-edge graphics. A system that developers would be challenged to develop for due to downgrading their masterpieces to meet system capabilities of Nintendo’s newest console, not to mention in some cases completely reworking engines to make games even function. The Wii was destined for failure and surely would be a console that wouldn’t see the support that would be needed to survive. Wrong.
Instead the Nintendo Wii took the market by storm; myself included. I stood there on a cold winter morning at five o’clock in the morning outside of a Circuit City, waiting. At the time, just myself and a fellow gamer a month after the Wii had released. For those that don’t remember or maybe were just too young, the scarcity of systems that we see today was nothing compared to that of the Wii. A system that had made even the least likely consumers to ever consider buying a console turn into a crazed shopping mom looking for that one item that everyone is buying for their kid at Christmas. You couldn’t find one anywhere, unless you had a beat on delivery schedules and even then, it was a crap shoot. I had just been fortunate enough to figure it out for one store. Money in hand and ready to buy, the Wii had captured me too.
Flash forward to 2017 and the Nintendo Switch was announced. While the system didn’t meet quite the same level of uncertainty, some still expected it to play second fiddle to the big two the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Personally, it was love at first sight. A portable system that was playable on the big screen too; not to mention you didn’t miss a beat when transitioning the process of one to the other in terms of the experience. For me it was like déjà vu. The same song and dance 11 years later, there I sat on the floor of a GameStop on launch night with my ticket in hand. Except this time, I wasn’t late to the party. Instead I was going to be one of the first. And boy am I glad that I was
While it hasn’t been as scarce or hard to find, thought it did have its moments, Nintendo has done it again it appears. With the announcement by Takashi Mochizuki of the Wallstreet Journal stating, via his Twitter, that analysts are becoming increasingly confident that the Switch’s holiday sales numbers will help them achieve their fiscal year 2018 forecast of 20 million units sold. A number many thought was unrealistic, even from the inception of the initial estimations. Nintendo did what many didn’t expect and that was sell their innovative idea like gangbusters.
See Nintendo may have had a blunder with the Wii U (well not maybe they obviously did) but to say that Nintendo wouldn’t learn from their mistakes and the clock would strike midnight twice on them with the Switch was a thought process based in zero reality. Nintendo has always learned from their mistakes. Think back to what was previously named their largest failure, the Gamecube. How did they follow that up? With what was previously the fastest selling console of all time, the Wii. What did they do with this generation after flopping with the Wii U? They simply reinvented history and did it again, creating the fastest selling system, the Switch. That is why Nintendo is the king of owning their mistakes and learning from them. I applaud them for not staying stuck in convention but instead having conviction to set the trend. While it might not always work out the way that they would like, they learn from their missteps and move forward like history never even happened.
That’s why Nintendo stays relevant, and that is why they are the innovators and the kings of gaming in my book and why it is no surprise that 20 million unit sold isn’t just a pipe-dream after all. Instead they stand to challenge the other two competitors to at least consider what the next generation should actually look like. They can do this because of two simple truth about their philosophy in creating great gaming hardware. Number one, they never hesitate to challenge what people think games should be and number two, they move forward like history never happened, but they never forget that it did.