Ahead of its release, promising pirates Nick Burton and Jack Cooper give their thoughts on Rare's Sea of Thieves, an Xbox exclusiveWritten by Nicholas Burton & Jack Cooper on 19th March 2018
Nintendo in 2018 – What They Need to Do to Succeed
Gaming writer Sam Nason gives us his opinion on what Nintendo needs to do to succeed in 2018
Coming out of 2017, Nintendo arguably had the best year out of any video game company. They celebrated the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch, having sold over 10 million units by December of last year, the production of two Game of the Year candidates: Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, reaping monumental praise, and a new advent for a company that was doubted due to the comparative failure of the Wii U beforehand. Suffice to say, 2017 probably couldn’t have gone much better for Nintendo. Yet while they’ve got the ball rolling, there are a myriad of things Nintendo should keep in mind in order to keep their momentum throughout 2018.
First of all, Nintendo’s 2018 depends on them releasing a steady stream of big-name titles to keep consumers interested. Like no other game company, Nintendo relies on its first party content, and 2017 provided the perfect example for how these games would influence the success of the Switch. From Breath of the Wild at the beginning, to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as an always-relevant staple for the console, to new IPs like ARMS and returning ones like Splatoon, care was taken in the release line-up so there was always a high-profile game to look forward to. Towards the end of the year this even included some big third-party titles, for example Skyrim and LA Noire.
It’s clear a vital part of Nintendo’s strategy has been to stagger game releases to always keep their player base interested. The state of the Wii U in 2016 exemplified the dangers of subverting this, leaving gamers with a pitiful drought of titles, with only 20 retail releases for the system happening the entire year. Since the Switch has enjoyed considerably more success than its predecessor, more developers may feel inclined to work with the machine and, as such, a larger library of games is created; with that in mind, it seems the practise of staggering big launches might be one initiative they’re pursuing. Dragon Quest Builders, Bayonetta, Kirby Star Allies, Mario Tennis Aces, Dark Souls - these and more are all titles releasing Q1/Q2 of 2018 and are guaranteed to keep eyes on the Nintendo Switch.
Linking onto this, another priority (while admittedly slightly out of Nintendo’s hand) should be to maintain third party support. Securing such massive titles as Skyrim, LA Noire, NBA 2K, Wolfenstein and, more recently, Dark Souls, is a major step in the right direction as the Switch ebbs closer to being a console that can compare to the PS4 and XBOX ONE. These are titles, after all, nobody anticipated seeing on a Nintendo platform.
Yet I also feel like it’s important to mention the Wii U enjoyed a degree of third-party support in the first few years of its life too, offering major franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Watch_Dogs. While retrospectively we can see why developers may have chosen not to consider the console after these first few releases (and why the Switch itself is better comparatively), it might be necessary to take a step back and see if consistent releases continue before prematurely declaring Nintendo has won over the third parties. It’s unrealistic to think we’ll go back to the Gamecube days of games being released simultaneously for all three main consoles if only because of the Switch’s power compared to the PS4 and XBOX ONE, but what Nintendo is doing is certainly a step closer.
A final key thing Nintendo should consider is keeping their intended demographics as broad as possible. Seen with the newly announced Nintendo Labo, Nintendo is still very much a company that strives to appease both young and older gamers, respectable in an industry that arguably focuses more on the teenage audience and beyond. On the one hand there is Dark Souls, a gritty, 18-rated game, and then on the other the Labo accessories aimed primarily at children. Nintendo would be wise to not confine themselves to one demographic and keep their appeal as broad as possible, something they’re succeeding at currently.
The curious thing about many Nintendo franchises is that they transcend age and appeal to so many different people and, with such massive confirmed titles as Metroid and Pokémon in sight (not to mention the unconfirmed but highly likely ones like Animal Crossing, Pikmin and even the prospect of an addition Mario or Zelda title), incentive to buy the Switch is larger than ever.
It’s clear then that Nintendo have quite the job this year in terms of retaining momentum for not just the Switch but any new projects they might pioneer, as we’ve seen earlier this month with Labo. It’s never been a more exciting time to be a Nintendo fan, and I can tell 2018 will hold just as many surprises and amazing experiences as the year prior!