Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch, will finally be here on March 3. Fans are waiting with baited breath to see if this addition to the Nintendo library of consoles will live up to expectations. The Wii U, which was released five years ago, has been considered a commercial failure for quite some time. There’s certainly a concern that the Switch might run into the same problems, which could be extremely detrimental to the already struggling Nintendo company.
It’s clear that Nintendo needs the Switch to succeed to have any hope of being able to continue in the console gaming market. If they have another disaster like the Wii U, they might genuinely be in serious financial trouble. There’s one thing in particular that makes it painfully obvious that Nintendo understands this fear. In the lead up to the Switch’s release, they’ve been trying some unusual marketing tactics. (Which we reported on here.) These attempts at viral marketing betray Nintendo’s deep-seated concern that the Switch might not do well at all.
There are so many legitimate worries that consumers have about the Switch even before launch. The hardware seems pretty weak; it can’t compete with the Xbox One or PS4 in this degree. The internal storage of the Switch will only be 32GB, which is appalling compared to other current consoles. The graphics are already considered to be potential garbage, at the least there most likely won’t be immediate 4K or HDR compatibility. The accessories and the console themselves are a bit overpriced for the current market. You can get a different current console usually bundled with a different game right now for the same cost. The launch lineup, weak library of games, and numerous ports of old games rather than new are also hurting the Switch. There’s also the simple fact that Nintendo is just jumping around to different gimmicks to try to find something that works.
All of these concerns combined with the current marketing tactics are making it feel like Nintendo is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. With some smoke and mirrors distractions (and John Cena apparently), they hope to pull consumers away from their fears and dazzle them with what could be. But will it be reality? Only time will tell but the facts are not looking good.
Another interesting point to make is this: where was all of this bedazzlement when the Wii U was coming to the market? There’s no easy answer to this, but some theories exist. Maybe Nintendo was simply too overconfident after the hype from the Wii. They figured they had no concerns on marketing another successful console, so they just went with it and had no regard for consumer reaction. The name of the console itself is another factor that people often point to. Does Wii U mean an addition to the Wii? Is it just a new controller for the Wii? Does it mean something totally new? The reason for the Wii U’s lax and failed marketing is really neither here nor there at the moment considering it was a terrible failure that Nintendo would probably rather forget. But it’s important to point out because it seems Nintendo is going the total opposite direction with the Switch.
It makes sense that Nintendo would try to take everything they did wrong with the Wii U and turn it around in the case of the Switch. They need to be able to learn from previous mistakes if they’re going to survive. The Switch living room pop-up attempts at viral marketing is certainly a step in the right direction, but will it be able to save the console, and Nintendo as a whole?