Nintendo addresses "weak" Switch launch lineup

President Tatsumi Kimishima says company wants to avoid long gaps without new games, pledges continued support for 3DS

When the Nintendo Switch launches next month, it will do so with just two major Nintendo games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the casual-focused 1-2-Switch. The lineup of third-party releases for day one isn't much deeper, prompting criticisms that Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima addressed in a post-earnings results briefing posted on the company's site today.

"Some of those who have seen this lineup have expressed the opinion that the launch lineup is weak," Kimishima said. "Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps. This encourages consumers to continue actively playing the system, maintains buzz, and spurs continued sales momentum for Nintendo Switch."

Interestingly, this is the same reasoning Nintendo gave investors for the Wii U's thin first-party launch lineup five years ago. Unfortunately for Nintendo, the Wii U strategy fell apart when Wii U launch window titles like Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, The Wonderful 101, and Game & Wario were delayed, prompting Satoru Iwata to apologize for a post-launch drought of new titles. This is something of a running theme for the company, as Nintendo of America executive Reggie Fils-Aime cited the need to avoid gaps between big releases as one of the biggest lessons the company took from the GameCube in the run-up to the Wii's launch over a decade ago.

Kimishima also addressed speculation that the Switch's introduction will signal the beginning of the end for the 3DS, which is now nearly six years old.

"We have heard speculation that Nintendo Switch will replace the Nintendo 3DS, as both are game systems that can be played outside the home, but Nintendo 3DS has unique characteristics that differ from those of Nintendo Switch," Kimishima said. "Furthermore, the price points and play experiences offered by the two systems are different and we do not see them as being in direct competition. We plan to continue both businesses separately and in parallel."

He pointed to Nintendo's slate of in-development 3DS titles like Pikmin, Mario Sports Superstars, two Fire Emblem games, and Yoshi's Wooly World as evidence of continued support, and also noted anticipated third-party titles like Dragon Quest XI and Monster Hunter XX in the works for the system.

"We will have several follow-up titles from popular franchises on Nintendo 3DS and we are developing many other unannounced titles to continue to enrich the software lineup going forward," he added.

Touching on the rest of the company's business, Kimishima addressed the shortage of Nintendo NES Classic Edition consoles, apologizing and saying the company is working to increase production on the retro system. To date, the various regional versions of the NES Classic have combined to sell through 1.5 million units worldwide.

Less encouraging was the company's update on Amiibo. Over the first three quarters of its fiscal year, Nintendo shipped 6.5 million of the toys-to-life collectibles. That's compared to 20.5 million toys the company shipped in the comparable period of the previous year.

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Latest comments (3)

Anthony Chan4 years ago
From a Gamer POV, I will cautiously celebrate (at least for the time being) the fact that my 3DS has been saved from the coffin!

It would be interesting to predict, but I strongly believe 3DS has many years to come (especially if the Switch fails) since it is really the only fantastic offering from BigN's hardware stable.

To kill 3DS on a gamble that Switch will take over the world, is a bit reckless.
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Bob Johnson Studying graphics design, Northern Arizona University4 years ago
It doesn't mean the 3ds will see any more major titles though. The games they announced are games that they can ramp up quick and that are cheap to make.

Plus they never kill off the old system immediately. They always say it will stick around. Nintendo released Kirby Mass Attack for the DS 6 months after the 3ds launched. Pokemon Black/White 2 were released for the DS over a year after the 3ds launched.

Nintendo also released a micro-Gameboy a year after the DS was released.

Yet in both those transitions, the new system eventually replaced the old system.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bob Johnson on 1st February 2017 9:45pm

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Azlin Kassim Old Time Gamer, Bio Quality and Audit4 years ago
"Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps. This encourages consumers to continue actively playing the system, maintains buzz, and spurs continued sales momentum for Nintendo Switch."

True but remember the Wii U is no longer being produced so Nintendo fans would then focus on the Switch and 3DS only (if what he says is true). The major concern here is that there are not enough variety of games to fill in the gaps as well. Sure everyone will play Zelda BoW but after that? Splatoon 2? There should be an addition of 1-2 games to cater to different audiences whether they be RPG, FPS or casual players. Not sure if packing 3rd party games that have been released on other consoles would spur gamers to buy the Switch.

There's also the chance that Sony or Microsoft could further reduce the price of current gen consoles forcing Nintendo to "switch" strategies. I'm not bashing Nintendo its just that the signs are not good and we gamers would not want a repeat of the Wii U fiasco. That would really hurt Nintendo really badly.
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