When a new console launches, there’s always a period immediately afterward where many gamers sit on their money and wait for that console to become worth a buy. The time following launch can be a defining period for a console – if it achieves wide appeal, that attracts more developers to support the young platform and increases its value. If, on the other hand, it only manages a niche or small appeal, growth can flounder and scare developers away.
The latter is what happened to the Wii U. Following in the footsteps of the Wii, which was one of the most popular consoles in video game history, the Wii U failed to meet expectations across the board. Though it was popular at launch, sales dropped off quickly, scaring developers away and turning the Wii U into a poor value proposition for gamers who were considering buying it.
Depending on who you talk to, you might hear that the Wii U eventually became a worthwhile buy. From a first-party standpoint, that much is true; by the end of the Wii U’s life cycle, Nintendo had put a respectable number of its franchises on the console. Still, some important titles were missing. There was no Metroid, no Mario game in the vein of Super Mario Galaxy, and no new Zelda title until the Wii U was in its death throes.
Is it any surprise, then, that some people were hesitant about the Switch in the lead up to its release? Would it be surprising to find people who are still nervous about shelling out for one? The answer to both of those questions is no. The Switch is no different from any other console – it had to prove to consumers that it was worth their money, only this time around, it had to do so under the shadow of a failed console that even Nintendo abandoned well before it should have.
It’s clear now, just over 8 months after the Switch launched worldwide, that Nintendo knew this. It knew that marketing needed to undergo sweeping changes with the Switch, and that confidence in a platform has to start with the platform maker before it can grow elsewhere. Nintendo has performed a complete 180 with the Switch, leaving little question about just what it is through marketing and seriously committing to getting big franchises on the console within its first year.
It’s working, too. The Switch is performing a lot better than anyone expected and even though we’re quickly closing in on the one-year anniversary of its launch, that momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As a result, developers appear interested in bringing their games to the Switch, and although there are some developers who won’t fully commit just yet, we’re hearing them say that the Switch is being considered a lot more often than we ever heard the same about the Wii U.
While I can understand why someone would still want to wait on the Switch, I feel confident in saying that it’s worth buying now. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest is that it successfully brings something different to the table for the first time since the Wii.
Microsoft and Sony have been fine trading blows over who has the most powerful hardware or the best exclusives, and all the while, Nintendo has been busy experimenting. With the Wii, those experiments worked and set off a motion control craze that rippled throughout the games industry. With the Wii U, on the other hand, Nintendo clearly failed.
With the Switch, however, Nintendo’s risk has resulted in a console that does what no other one can, as it lets us play console-quality games without being tethered to a TV. This is more than just mere novelty, as the majority of my time playing the Switch is spent using it in portable mode. Whether it’s at my computer desk, in bed, or on the road, I can play the Switch where ever I happen to be. Though it seemed like a gimmick at first, I’ve come to realize that in reality, it’s just plain awesome.
The second reason why I’m confident the Switch is now worth your money centers around games. Nintendo has spent 2017 bringing a huge number of first-party titles to the Switch. The Switch has received more first-party support in its first eight months than many consoles do in their first 18 months of availability.
READ MORE: Super Mario Odyssey ReviewThose first-party releases have been very high quality as well. Very rarely do we give video games (or anything, for that matter) 10 out of 10 ratings, but two Switch games have already earned such a distinction. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first, launching alongside the Switch and completely shaking up the long running Zelda franchise. Super Mario Odyssey is the latest to earn that rating, thanks to its fresh and legitimately exciting take on the decades-old platforming series.
Even beyond those two, there’s plenty of great games to be found among the Switch’s library. Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Fire Emblem Warriors come to mind, along with third-party titles like Sonic Mania, Pyuo Pyuo Tetris, and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. There’s also an extensive library of indie titles worth checking out, including Stardew Valley, Golf Story, Shovel Knight, and Gonner.
It isn’t often that we can look at a console that’s only eight months out from launch and say that it has enough games to warrant a purchase, but with the Switch we can. There seems to be plenty more coming up, too, as Nintendo has already confirming new Metroid and Yoshi titles along with a mainline Pokemon game for the Switch. If you were waiting for the Switch’s library to fill out a little bit, the wait is definitely over.
Obviously, the Switch isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been considering buying one, you can confidently take the plunge. If you do decide to take my advice, you might want to buy one quickly, because I have a feeling that Switches are going to be hard to come by once the holiday shopping season is in full swing.
Do you own a Switch? If so, do you think it’s worth a purchase, or should curious gamers hold off for awhile longer? Head down to the comments section and share your thoughts!