Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 18, 2017

Email: Another possible constituency for the Switch…

Tablet games.

The Switch has a touchscreen so it has the hardware necessary for many tablet games, whether or not they get ported over just depends on the developers ability to work with Switch’s architecture, and if it’s worth it to develop a port.

Kids who own a tablet may want a Switch, but kids who own a Switch may not want any other tablet. Kids only want these things for entertainment, after all. Assuming Switch will have Netflix, an internet browser, and all that usual fare, the only thing separating it from other tablets for a lot of kids will be what games they can play on it. If the Switch takes off we could very well see a lot of tablet or even mobile games get ported to it. I think it would benefit Nintendo to support getting these games if they want young kids to get a Switch.

I’m sure there’ll be some Art Academy type games and art programs available too.

Whether or not we would start to see other non-game apps get put on it, I don’t know. But it’s definitely a possibility. Nintendo has sold cookbooks on DS and 3DS, there have been multiple language learning games for both of those systems, and 3DS even has an audio guide for the Louvre. Nowadays these types of things are usually just on tablets and smartphones. I’m not sure if those types of tablet apps being ported over to (or similar new ones being made for) the Switch would feel out of place or at home on it.

It’s interesting that the Switch is literally a tablet, but nobody is really talking about how it might compete with other tablets. I’m sure Nintendo will treat it first and foremost as a games machine, which is exactly what they should do (and exactly what I want them to do, personally). But who knows what could end up being made for this system, by them or by third parties. But regardless of all that, I think the most popular and successful tablet games will eventually be ported over.

Let me sideline your email by pointing out that we have seen no gameplay with the touchscreen which is odd. Does Nintendo have an order that all Switch games be playable in both mobile and dock mode? Maybe.

But what is that touch screen going to be used for? Why have it there? We could just place Joycons on it and save an extra expense.

Nintendo has a habit of stuffing their hardware with ‘tech possibilities’ only to utilize such tech a year or two later down in the lifecycle for ‘surprise!’. This is an Iwata custom. DS only started using its wifi a year afterward (which, ironically, was also when the DS began to take off).

Nintendo likely is placing their strategy around their manufacturing. The first consumers they are targeting now are those who have money and early adopters. Guys like Malstrom want a new Bomberman, a new Street Fighter 2, and such and will pay $60 for that new Bomberman (yes, I know…, but that Bomberman is still better than all your shitty AAA games, and I’ll still be playing it twenty years from now too).

Nintendo may use the touch capacity to target non-gamers at a later date.


For newer readers who don’t know what is meant by ‘constituencies’, it is a term I stole from Hudson concerning the Turbografx 16. The Turbografx 16 wasn’t exactly a failed console because it created ‘constituencies’ that continue to exist to this day and prop the system up in cult worship. The Turbografx 16 had three of them. They are:

-Hardcore Arcade Gamers (These are shmup fans. Blazing Lazers success made Turbografx 16 THE shmup console of all time as every shmup ever made at the time was put on the console. Some games like Legendary Axe too also is greatly appealing to these gamers.)

-JRPG Fanatics (Turbografx 16, especially the CD games, created a constituency among RPG fans. Unfortunately, many of the PC-Engine RPGs are not translated, but the console does rival the SNES in its RPGs.)

-Bomberman cult (Three bomberman games came out for the Turbo [Bomberman, Bomberman ’93, Bomberman ’94] which created a sort of mini-cult around the game.]

A constituency is someone who keeps returning to the system for that type of game. For SNES, a big constituency is RPG fans as SNES has many RPGs. Platformers are also a big constituency for SNES as well as NES. Genesis had its constituencies but one of its most important was its sports fans which took them away from SNES despite NES having them.

The N64, Gamecube, Wii, and Wii U have ‘party constituencies’. They are all fantastic local multiplayer consoles, the Wii especially.

The way how a constituency is made is that a hit game appears on the console and a flood of imitators appear (because that is what the game industry does). Then those imitators sell because there is so much demand for that type of game. A good example of this would be Super Mario Brothers and the flood of platformers afterward.

I think Switch will continue Nintendo’s ‘party constituency’ and take in new ones such as their handhelds and Vita’s ‘RPG constituency’. We will see.

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