Experts project Nintendo will sell 40 Million units by the end of 2020. This would make it worse than the Wii in sales, but well ahead of the Wii U, which only sold 13 million units. Gamestop’s director of merchandising Eric Bright has even said, “[The Nintendo Switch] could eclipse the Wii.” after examining the system’s first couple of weeks on the market.In this series, we explore how the Switch can be a mega success comparable to or better than the Wii. Each article explores how Nintendo can compete in different spaces to help the Switch beat the Wii. In the last article, we examined the Nintendo Switch’s incoming Paid Online Subscription Service and server reliability for online play is a must no matter the price point Nintendo decides on. This article we will examine an option Nintendo seldom considers with their Home Consoles (other companies typically have them) but frequents with their portables, various builds of the system.
One Build to Rule Them All
Nintendo usually only ever releases one build for each of their home consoles, and if they do make multiple builds, they only differ in minor, sometimes compromising ways. For example, they released the Wii Mini which was just a little Wii that couldn’t play GameCube games. For the Wii U, there was an 8 GB version and a 32 GB version, the smaller of the two had almost no room left over after the operating system was installed and updated. With their portables Nintendo has behaved a little differently, releasing multiple builds with little to no compromise. The 3DS line illustrates this perfectly with the 2DS, 3DS, and 3DS XL all giving the exact same experience with the only differences being in regards to screen size and 3D capabilities. The Nintendo Switch is both a Home Console and a Portable System, which makes it difficult to decide which route they will take. If they do choose to create multiple builds, here are the builds that will be most beneficial to the system.
Home Only – Nintendo Switch Home
For most people, the Switch’s greatest draw is its portability, but some people are unable to visualize themselves playing on the go. Nintendo should eventually make a slightly cheaper version of the Switch for these people. Pricing a home only version anywhere from $200 to $250 and giving it double the memory could prove quite lucrative for Nintendo, perhaps it could come with a Pro Controller as opposed to a pair of Joy-Con. Nintendo could even make it compatible with the Wii U GamePad for a streamed play off of the TV. And just because this build of the console wouldn’t be a detachable tablet itself doesn’t mean it couldn’t be compatible with a portable version of the system. With game downloads now being tied to an account and not a system, Nintendo could allow saving files to sync when a mobile build is close to this home build.
Which brings us to the need of an exclusively portable build of the Nintendo Switch. One of the gripes people have about the Switch is that it is too big to fit comfortably in your pockets with the Joy-Con attached. To counter this complaint, Nintendo should release a smaller variant of the Switch that works exclusively as a portable, with a slightly smaller screen, permanently attached controls (perhaps sliders as opposed to the conventional joystick), compatibility with typical Joy-Con and other controllers, and without TV play compatibility. This rendition of the system could retail in the same price range as the home the only version at between $200 and $250. The biggest issue with this possibility is it would put the Switch in direct competition with the 3DS, Nintendo’s portable system they are adamant the Switch is not mean to replace, so we will examine the 3DS’s future further in the next article.
Tablet Too – Nintendo Switch Tab
One of the primary reasons for the rise of cell phone and tablet gaming is people’s desire for one device that can do everything they may need it to. If Nintendo wants to reach these customers, they should make a build of the Switch that can do everything a regular Tablet can do, as well as everything the typical Switch does. A Nintendo Tablet that can also play tablet games, use other apps, word process, stream video, take pictures, and web browser would surely be popular. Likely, such a build would cost a little more than the standard Switch, anywhere between $400 and $500 would be reasonable if Nintendo can prove it has a competent tablet for consumers. This build would likely require Nintendo to work with another company, one that has experience in the tablet space, which may prove difficult but not impossible.
Memory Max – Nintendo Switch Max
Another common complaint against the Switch is its small memory, almost requiring players that intend to download games to buy an SD card to expand the space for saving games. These days 32 GB is embarrassingly small for a console, both Sony’s and Microsoft’s current systems have a standard build with 500 GB of internal memory. Nintendo could probably get away with offering half that much on an otherwise identical build of the Switch. Or they could go all out and slap a terabyte on it and call it the Nintendo Switch 1000. Realistically though 250 GB would be doable at a $350 price point and anything with more memory could get away with a $400 price tag. This is the only build Nintendo should consider releasing before holiday season 2017.
It would be wise to wait a year before announcing anything with builds, but after the system’s first launch day anniversary, an announcement of new builds would be very welcome. This would bring in consumers to the system that may have been confused or turned off by a particular feature but still, want the Nintendo experience. Not to mention the fans who would buy a second Switch to have the exact model that matches with their play style! What builds for the Switch do you want to see? Hopefully, at E3 2018 Nintendo has some new builds to show us.