When it comes to technology specifications, Nintendo has always been lagging behind its two major competitors, Sony and Microsoft. With their new flagships releasing in November, the Playstation 5 and XBOX Series X/S, respectively, the almost 4 year old Nintendo Switch will again be falling behind its modern counterparts. But, when it comes to sales and profit, Nintendo has been smashing the competition. Since December 2018, the Switch has been the top selling console, which has become an industry record. COVID has drastically helped the company as well; its stock rose by 45% since the beginning of the year. An analyst is even predicting that the Switch might possibly outsell the PS5 and XBOX Series X during the holidays.
The question now is how is it still ahead of its opponents even though its technically behind? After some research, I think it’s a combination of its technology and marketing.
Although the Switch was released in 2017, its innovation is still unique. Its ability to alter between a portable handheld to connecting to the TV has made it to portray as a 2-in-1 system. Its colorful controllers on the side can be removed and used separately so you can play with a loved one. The release of its Switch Lite, a version of the Switch that can only be played handheld, has made it even more accessible to those who want that old school handheld experience. While families are stuck at home due to the pandemic, the Switch has been able to bring them together and have fun.
Nintendo’s digital marketing has been top notch. By using its brand loyalty, exclusive Nintendo series such as The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong and Super Mario have caused fans to buy the Switch in order to play its games. The release of its best selling game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (March 20th), came right when the world started to shutdown. The game’s premise of “Your Personal Island Escape” has allowed people to avoid what’s happening in the real world and be with friends and family virtually. Its social media craze became a driving force on why it became a best selling game, with even famous celebrities joining in such as Chrissy Teigen, Maisie Williams and T-Pain. It even has caught attention to presidential candidate Joe Biden, whose team was able to make an island where users are able to visit and see signs to go vote. Nintendo’s brand positioning for the Switch was targeting working adults in their 20s and 30s due to the console’s portable concept. But, Nintendo, as a company, has always targeted causal gamers and families. With the release of Animal Crossing, specifically, Nintendo was able to bring in both target markets and reap in the benefits.
As Nintendo falls behind Sony and Microsoft on a technical aspect, its uniqueness and marketing strategy has made it the top gaming company. Its future now exists on what it should do once the new consoles appear. At some point, people will be tired of the primitive Switch, and want something new. Though there are rumors of a newer Switch in development, none have yet to be confirmed. Will Nintendo continue to keep thriving until its new flagship appears? We’ll just have to wait and see.
- “Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Your Personal Island Escape – Nintendo Switch.” YouTube, uploaded by Nintendo, 5 Mar. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_b8Y-CQepg.
- De Looper, C. (2020, January 23). Why the Nintendo Switch is still the most innovative game console – nearly three years after its release. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/nintendo-switch-console-review
- Elassar, A. (2020, October 18). Joe Biden has his own island on ‘Animal Crossing’ where you can learn about his campaign. Retrieved October 24, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/18/business/biden-animal-crossing-island-trnd/index.html
- Evangelho, J. (2020, October 19). Nintendo Switch Hits 22 Month Record With Unstoppable Sales. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2020/10/19/nintendo-switch-hits-22-month-record-with-unstoppable-sales/
- Hopkins, T. (2019, January 24). Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Nintendo: Which Company Was Best to Gamers in 2018? Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://twinfinite.net/2019/01/sony-vs-microsoft-vs-nintendo-which-company-was-best-to-gamers-in-2018/
- Lukis, J. M. (2020, July 26). Nintendo Switch: Target Marketing and (Demographics & Psychographics). Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://medium.com/@jasonmattlukis/nintendo-switch-target-marketing-and-demographics-psychographics-fd994ad5f843
- Smith, C. (2020, September 11). Why Nintendo’s Stock Will Continue Its Run Through the Holidays. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-nintendos-stock-will-continue-its-run-through-the-holidays-51599755667
- Thier, D. (2020, October 14). Analyst: Nintendo Switch Will Outsell Both PS5 And Xbox Series X This Holiday. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2020/10/14/analyst-nintendo-switch-will-outsell-both-ps5-and-xbox-series-x-this-holiday/