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2K Games banks on Carnival Games to recreate Wii success on Switch

Multi-million selling mini-game franchise returns as efforts to attract a mainstream audience to Nintendo's new console continue

So far, Nintendo has been doing much of the heavy lifting in attempting to entice more than just the core demographic to Switch - but now 2K Games is contributing with a potentially significant release.

The Carnival Games series was among the biggest third-party success stories on the Nintendo Wii, with its motion-controlled multiplayer mini-games leading to millions of sales for its publisher.

In fact, 2K reports 9.5 million units were shipped worldwide since the 2007 original. This figure includes the DS and Kinect-powered Xbox 360 entries, but the Wii versions were by far the most popular.

The series is now set to return later this year with Carnival Games for Nintendo Switch. While it touts the same title as the first game, the publisher claims this is "built from the groud up" for Nintendo's new console. The title features a mix of previous mini-games and brand new ones designed to make use of the Joy-Con controllers.

Thus far, 2K's support for Switch has solely comprised of its annual NBA outings. Speaking to at E3, Take-Two CEO Straus Zelnick said that, "What we've put out so far has been successful" and promised more products are coming to Nintendo's console (We'll have much more from our interview with Zelnick later today).

Due for release on November 6th, Carnival Games is arguably the most notable third-party attempt to attract a broader audience to the Switch. Nintendo has previously attempted this with launch title 1-2-Switch, although this received a lukewarm reception, and the experimental Nintendo Labo with its cardboard companion accessories.

The platform holder is all too aware that bringing in families and non-traditional gamers will be the key to not only maintaining the incredible momentum Switch has seen since launch, but also propelling it to become the 100-million selling device Nintendo hopes it will be.

Earlier this year, Nintendo veteran Shigeru Miyamoto reiterated the company's "ultimate ambition for a Nintendo Switch to be owned not just by every family, but by every single person", and offering a broader range of content will be key to achieving this.

Whether Carnival Games will enjoy the success on Switch that it saw on Wii is up for debate. In the previous instance, Carnival Games was appealing to an established family audience thanks to the console's initial success, with Wii Sports and the like drawing in families from the get-go.

While Switch is off to a great start - around 18 million units sold worldwide, as of April 2018 - it's not clear whether those units are in the hands of the families and younger gamers 2K will be targeting.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was
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