On March 3, 2017, the Nintendo Switch was released amid a mixture of fanfare and healthy skepticism. Nintendo clearly had a cool piece of hardware with an exciting hybrid design on its hands, but with the Wii U’s failure still fresh on everyone’s minds, it was hard not to cast serious doubt on Nintendo being able to right the ship, so to speak. I’ll readily admit that I was not overly optimistic about the Switch’s chances prior to its launch, even going so far as to cancel my pre-order when I realized that there would be little else besides Breath of the Wild to play on it at the time of release.
However, over the course of 2017, Nintendo slowly but surely began to prove to me and its other detractors that the Switch was the real deal, releasing one must-have game after another and shattering sales records in the process. Now, one year later, the Nintendo Switch is a high-speed locomotive that’s showing no signs of slowing down, having easily surpassed the Wii U’s lifetime sales before 2017 was even over. It’s impossible to say how long the Switch will be able to maintain that momentum, but that’s a discussion for another day. For now, let’s take a look at the Switch’s first year on the market and highlight why it was able to achieve so much success.
10. Indie Support
While the main draw for Nintendo consoles will always be first-party franchises like Zelda and Mario, hundreds of games were released for the Switch over the course of its first year and only a handful of them were actually published and/or developed by Nintendo. The overwhelming majority of games available for the Nintendo Switch so far have been indie titles and when combined with its portability factor, the console has become the go-to platform for smaller games.
It’s true that many of these games are also available on other platforms but it would be foolish to underestimate that portable factor. Many indie developers have openly revealed that the Switch versions of their games have been outselling other platforms and with that kind of positive word-of-mouth, the Switch should continue to be a preferred platform for indie ports and exclusive software such as Astro Duel Deluxe and Golf Story. In a way, the Switch has supplanted the PlayStation Vita as a portable haven for indie games, but with the added benefit of better hardware and actual support from the company that makes it.