Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 21, 2017

Switch sells out in Japan in minutes

But “it don’t mean anything” because initial shipments are easiest to sell. True. And “we won’t know what actual demand is until December 2017.” True.

And until then, it SELLS.

Many gamers in Japan have been left without a pre-order for a launch day Nintendo Switch, which has caused the reselling market in Japan to explode with resellers in Japan already selling the console on Amazon for double the price of the retail price.

We can hear it all now: Wii U sold its initial units well too. This all means nothing. Yada yada yada.

A real analyst puts out different scenarios for the future. One scenario may very well be that Switch follows the path of the Wii U. The question is that why aren’t the other scenarios considered?

The only scenario that is impossible is a Wii like trajectory. The reason why this is impossible is because the 2006 economy is not present. The necessary positive macroeconomic forces are not around at this time (this could change).

When we look at Zelda games, what are the break out hits and social phenomenons? I can only really think of the original Zelda and possibly the following three. Ocarina of Time most definitely. But since then? Zelda has sold well, but it was never a barn burner.

I think it is a mistake to automatically assume Breath of the Wild to follow the impact of past Zeldas. What if Breath of the Wild is a breakout hit like, say, Ocarina of Time? What if BoW “Wow!” has an impact of, say, Grand Theft Auto 3? “Not probable.” Most certainly not probable. But it is not impossible. Even I knew Twilight Princess wouldn’t hit it that big. But BoW “Wow!” has a quality element that could catch big sales fire in the West as Skyrim, Witcher 3, and other such open world games have done. The fact that BoW “Wow!” is only being discussed in a closed ‘only Nintendo Zelda fans will buy it’ certainly isn’t being analytically honest.

Generation 9 looks like we are going to be a fight on the definition of video game value. I think Western AAA games have low value because their graphics age fast and their gameplay has low replayability. Meanwhile, I think a game like Super Bomberman R has very high value for the same reason why Super Bomberman on the SNES has high value and commands a premium price despite decades after release (around $40 for a loose cartridge).

Let us put forth a scenario that the Switch sales are very strong. Not Wii insane, but very strong. There are going to be analysts and Hardcore Gamers who will be baffled. With the Wii, they just said ‘gimmick’ and ‘casual gamers’. both of those cannot be explained for any Switch sales. All they have is to say the Switch’s hybrid nature gives it and the software all this additional value. Nintendo may even start to believe in that too.

But what if the games have that 16-bit value? Is Super Bomberman R a high value game? It is if you are familiar with the value of the SNES Super Bomberman. If all you know is an Xbox Live download of Bomberman, then Super Bomberman R will confuse you. Do turn based JRPGs like Octopath hold value? They do if you are a SNES fan.

“But I hail from Europe where NES and SNES were not big over here. Why do I want the Switch and games?” Clearly your value spectrum matches that of those gamers.

Two things I am observing about the Switch software. One is that the software seems to be deliberately multiplayer (I am Setsuna adds on multiplayer) which seems to be laying down the groundwork software for Switch’s paid online (which may be better than we think due to all these low expectations the hate fest brings). Two, the Switch software may be trying to get back that ‘high value cartridge’ that the 8-bit and 16-bit had.

Take Super Bomberman R. Aside from the multiplayer, there is a robust single player that can be co-op. There is also some sort of in game currency that must unlock something. Point is, there is content in the game.

Take Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. With all the DLC and battle mode added, this is the most content packed game I have seen in a LONG time. What a great deal if you didn’t have the Wii U version!

Take Disagea 5 Complete. It has all the DLC. It’d take 100 hours to go through all that. High content game perhaps.

Take Binding of Isaac. The PC price for the game and expansions is $35. The Switch game will be $40 (extra due to manufacturing). If you value BoI, this is a high value physical game card.

Take Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Every Zelda game offers a good serving of content. But this Zelda may be going beyond what we are used to in terms of content. No one, not even the haters, will say Zelda BoW “Wow!” is a low content game.

What has me excited about the Switch library that I think many observers are missing is that I see games that are ‘high value carts’. The ports have all the DLC. Games like Dragon Quest Heroes I and II are TWO games in one! I think the multiplayer of Bomberman and Tetris is infinite so I see those games as having high playable value. I am not seeing low value games in the launch line up. This is why some people think the Switch line up is the best ever. (There are few low value games like Let’s Dance, 1, 2, Switch, and such. But there are so many others people want to BUY.)

We have made the mistake to assume the consumers who buy Nintendo consoles have the same value spectrum as those who buy PlayStation or Xbox consoles. Take a game like Sonic. Sonic sells the best on Nintendo consoles because Sonic is seen as an old school game. The AAA Gravy Train games do not sell as well on the Nintendo console not because of competition from first party Nintendo games but because the Nintendo gamers do not value AAA Gravy Train games.

So should the Switch sell well, we will see a war break out over the definition of value in video games. Already, I am seeing much freak out and ‘run around in circles’ behavior over the Switch as it is weeks from launch. What are they going to do a year from now? If Nintendo can turn that disaster known as a 3DS into something meaningful, it is going to be much easier with the Switch with all Nintendo development going to it (and some for phones). Add in the Vita pipeline of Japanese third party games, and you have a clear winner on your hands.

The more the analysts talk and Hardcore Gamers run around in circles, the more this feels like ten years go. Feels like old times already.

Above: Go to 2:20. “Feels like old times already.” “Old times!”

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