In the final chapter of GameRVW’s look at the big three on the gaming landscape, we take a peek at Nintendo, the omnipresent outsider to their slate grey colleagues at Microsoft and Sony. It seems to have always been this way, even before Microsoft entered the fray and positioned themselves as Sony’s direct competitor. One of the key differences with Nintendo, of course, is that, as the other two major console producers push on towards greater realism in gaming, they have remained notably steadfast in their production of fun, brilliant and hugely polished titles. The release of the Switch has only served to further the capabilities of developers everywhere as games so good it seems scarcely possible, like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, hit the shelves in the wake of the console’s arrival.
So with the fact that Nintendo continues to forge its own path, as it has done for such a long time now, GameRVW asks what’s next for the video game giant?
There is a strong argument to say that the hybrid Nintendo Switch’s release was actually the start of the ninth generation of consoles. For me, it was more 8.5, a hugely impressive achievement but one that will be outstripped, technologically speaking, by the next set of hardware from Sony and Microsoft. That being said, it was never really about having the most advanced complex console on the market, but more about having a design that was so well thought out that it served every purpose without anything unnecessary being included. The Switch does this perfectly and so, for the foreseeable future that is, it will continue to be the host of some of the most well-founded franchises in history. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be arriving at the end of 2018, shortly after Super Mario Party arrives in October, so its clear that an alteration of the winning formula is not on the cards.
Whilst the Nintendo Switch is very much breaking new ground as a console, it is clear that the old Nintendo formula remains very much the same. The flagship franchises have pride of place, with interesting and innovative indies raising levels across the board. One area which is relatively new, and exciting to see, is the porting of popular titles from PC and console, to the handheld device. The perpetually popular Skyrim is the most notable example of this, with continued commitment to the platform being sounded out by Bethesda, as well as the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and other notable classics. As a company, Nintendo has become slightly more involved with its supposed competitors in recent times, including the much publicised cross-play PR effort from Microsoft, but the strength of the company lies in its ability to distance itself, and remain unaffected by the machinations of others.
It’s hard to say what the shelf life of the Switch will actually be, but we can safely assume it will be longer than the much less popular, and greatly inferior Wii U. Having almost kept pace with the PlayStation 4’s sales in its first year, there has rarely been a better time in recent years to be a Nintendo fan.