Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 20, 2016

Why Nintendo will talk about Switch’s touch capacities later

Nintendo doesn’t want a repeat of the Wii U reveal disaster. Even now, the Nintendo operatives are quick to control the narrative. “No, the dock just recharges the system and outputs the video. It doesn’t do anything else.”

One of the fair criticisms against Nintendo’s marketing was spending time at E3 talking about games for the non-gamer crowd. Non-gamers are not at E3. Gamers do not care for the ‘beginning games’. I recall Nintendo reps looked like they had been punched.

This ‘preview’, while it gains mainstream attention, is for the experienced gamers. The touch screen and motion controls are going to be highlighted in other games and software in videos coming up.

One pattern Nintendo has is that they only talk about the hardware when they have games that can use it. Nintendo went a full year (!) after the DS was released before they talked about the online wi-fi functionality of the DS.

I expect this ‘non-gamer’ type video will highlight the Switch’s OS including other functionality such as going online, social media, and all that stuff. Perhaps even the Wii Balance Board can talk to it!

I know many people are coming to this page wanting a market verdict on it. “Malstrom! Malstrom! Is it going to be revolutionary like the Wii? Is it going to be a disaster like the Wii U?” Since I am not a ‘normal’ gamer, and I have history on this page of being on the right side of those systems, there is interest in where I think the Switch will go.

The issue is that there are more shoes that need to drop. I cannot determine whether or not non-gamers would want a Switch because Nintendo has not yet released any marketing or talked about software for those non-gamers. As the Switch is revealed now, the Wii audience would not go for it because Wii audience does not give a shit about Skyrim or 3d Mario. They would go for Mario Kart and the basketball game.

The Wii’s business success is the most misunderstood story in gaming history primarily because no one wants to understand it correctly. The Wii was designed by Nintendo to ‘grow’ the market because of Japan’s declining population trends. Nintendo had to grow the market because Japan wasn’t making babies. Japan was also in a recession type environment (now a depression). But the market environment in the US in 2006 was very different. The US population is growing, not shrinking. The US also had a very hot economy going. A ‘growth expanding console’ did good to OK in macro-economic negative or neutral places like Japan, but in a macro-economic positive place like the US it was sold out for three years. The Wii sales slowed down in 2008, right in line with the shift of the macro-economic current.

Will the Switch sell like the Wii? Unless the economy changes, this is unlikely even if the Switch does everything right. Most likely, I believe Generation Nine will be one of wartime (as wartime tends to follow periods of economic depression). Will the Switch sell during wartime? With its mobility, I’d imagine it should. The issue is that there is no data. Shigeru Miyamoto has the most experience out of anyone alive in launching game consoles, but none of that experience includes selling game consoles during wartime. In a similar way, Generation 8 is a period of economic depression. The game industry has been spoiled by good macro-economic trends. They are struggling to figure out how to survive in this current climate.

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