The generation-defining portable console with over a hundred millions units sold now celebrates it’s five-years anniversary since launch
From Gameboy Classic to the Nintendo Switch – Today, we will explore the timeline of events leading to the introduction of the Nintendo Switch, then to what happened after that to make it what it is in the present day. To begin with – let’s look at the lead-up to the launch of Nintendo Switch.
2016: The First Announcement
It all started as early as April 2016, when Nintendo used Twitter to reveal that the then-untitled Wii U Zelda game (Breath of the Wild). Shortly after, the playable demo was released on the Wii U, and Nintendo said almost nothing about the switch at E3.
Finally, on October 19, 2016, the rollout for the Switch began in earnest. Without warning, Nintendo tweeted that they would reveal their new console early the next day. It’s hard to explain how high the hype level was for this reveal–speculation and ridiculous rumors based on patent filings and active imaginations had been running wild for nearly two years. This was finally the moment that Nintendo would pull back the curtain. The trailer would receive immediate widespread attention across the gaming world.
On the 12th of January, 2017, Nintendo conduction a conference-like livestream event streamed around the world. This presentation explained the more obscure capabilities of the Switch: HD Rumble, the IR camera, the touchscreen, and motion control in the Joy-Con.
Despite the initial hype surrounding the new, innovative piece of technology, it was not received without it’s critics. To begin with, the initial conference for Nintendo Switch saw many parallels to the initial Wii U announcement from 2011, with a wide range of promises that turned out to fall short in the end.
Meanwhile, the negative aspects of the console–the lack of any Virtual Console, for example–were revealed only at the very end of the marketing push, after excitement had been clearly established. The “bad news” was effectively buried by the timed embargoes for “Previews” of Switch reviews by major press outlets.
Furthermore, at the time the novel idea of a portable console was seen as a last-ditch attempt for Nintendo to mesh with the new generation of mobile gamers.
Finally, as March 3, 2017 dawned, many retailers created midnight launches, and Breath of the Wild was one of the best-reviewed games in game history. The system became a hot commodity overnight, the bad press surrounding it was near instantly dissolved.
With further original Nintendo titles swamping the market during each quarter of the following years, games such as Mario, Super Smash Bros, and Platoon, there is no one who could say that the Nintendo Switch was not an qualified success.