2017 has probably been one of Nintendo’s best years in the past decade. The company continues to see astounding success in their handheld-console hybrid the Nintendo Switch, a steady flow of third-party titles, and even critical acclaim with their first party released titles. But what really delivers this home? Nintendo didn’t abandon their aging 3DS hardware completely. Instead they released a reiteration of the New Nintendo 3DS XL with a new variant of the 2DS under the same model, but without 3D implementation.
But as all good things go, 2017 hasn’t been just peachy keen. Unfortunately, Nintendo still struggles to combat scalpers with their limited quantities of their re-released consoles such as the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, which are both still being scaled to this day by third-party sources (here’s looking at you GameStop and Think Geek). However, the Switch itself found a bit of trouble with supply shortages, a wonky voice chat system, but even then – 2017 was a crucial year for Nintendo. They are back in the game and doing better than ever.
But just like Sony and Microsoft, the year is coming to a close, which means it’s time to take a peek at what is left and what Nintendo has to look forward to in the upcoming year.
The Nintendo Switch Made All of US Forget About the Nintendo Wii U Woes.
Before the launch of the Nintendo Switch, nothing seemed right with the company after the loss of Satoru Iwata. The Wii U struggled to capture a fan base, ushering in one of the weakest consoles in Nintendo’s history and even left fans cringing due to its lesser quality graphics than that of the newly released PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But by March 3, it seemed all that was left behind when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched, giving Nintendo one of the strongest titles to date.
For Nintendo, this served as a reprieve as the console and game both released with a strong start, nearly universal appraise, and even becoming best-selling system and game above both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for nearly four of its six months upon release. With Breath of the Wild being a focal point for most Switch Owners, the game did quite well, even offering fans several hundred hours of gameplay before its DLC launched, expanding that playtime even further.
Even then, the Nintendo Switch launched with a well received library of third party titles ranging from I am Setsuna, Implosion, Snippeclips, and even Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. While these are all indie titles, they boasted strong sells, and even filled int he gap between some of Nintendo’s heaviest hitters that had yet to release. Even Mario Kart 8 Deluxe did quite well. Well enough the game quickly took the crown as the fastest-selling Mario Kart title of all time, which left Nintendo rather pleased by the reception.
By October, fans had already rushed into some of Nintendo’s heavy hitters such as Arms, the well received Splatoon 2, and even Nintendo’s Tekken style Pokémon themed fighting game – Pokkén Tournament DX. Let alone did these games do well, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon bode quite well for the company on the Nintendo 3DS, offering plenty of time for fans to reacquaint themselves with the Alola Region.
Nintendo’s Switch Third Party Support and Future Games Right the Wrongs of the Wii U
On the Wii U, Nintendo struggled to roll out some of their biggest franchises to date. Games like Metroid, Shin Megami Tensei, and even Pokémon managed to stay away from the console, only delivering a select few strong titles for the console and ended up leaving fans mildly underwhelmed during 2016. However, much of that’s changed as of E3 2016. Nintendo has continually rolled out some heavy hitting names, having already teased Metroid Prime 4, which has been absent since the Nintendo Gamecube, Fire Emblem, Shin Megami Tensei V, and new games for the famed Yoshi and Kirby franchises.
Even with those simple facts, Nintendo has continually delivered some great first-party titles, which helped the Switch start off strong, and continued to remain strong. Publishers such as Bethesda have jumped on board, bringing their smash-hit DOOM, The Elder Scrolls and Wolfenstein franchises to the handheld, and ultimately ending Nintendo’s family-friendly focus.
But it doesn’t even stop there. Nintendo even reinforced their partnership with Ubisoft, having had Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto guest appear for Ubisoft’s E3 press announcement for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. This test case proved strong as the game became well received, selling strongly in most regions and even receiving a warm reception from the press. But the most surprising wouldn’t even arrive till November with the release of Rockstar’s cop themed noire title L.A. Noire.
The best part of this? It continually shows Nintendo’s willingness to reach out, work with developers, and even pony up for cross-platform play with Microsoft after discussions with Xbox boss Phil Spencer. After all, who doesn’t want a little bit of Rocket League and Minecraft cross-play?
Even With the Legacy, Past Issues Remerged
While Nintendo can easily say 2017 has been their most successful since the highly anticipated Nintendo Wii, the Switch still has one of Nintendo’s biggest problems, and one they haven’t managed to push past in recent years: powerful hardware. While the Nintendo Switch is highly admired due to its portability, Nintendo still faces hefty criticism due to their lesser quality hardware.
Unlike the Wii U’s GamePad – an underutilized and poorly constructed gimmick we rarely enjoyed – the Nintendo Switch has proven to be everything other than a poorly constructed or gimmicky hardware. Instead it’s proved that its portability is a novelty, one that allows Nintendo to boast their ability to innovate and put their competitors behind. Not like they were concerned about a console war or anything. Even though the Nintendo Switch lacks the horsepower of the Xbox One X or the PlayStation 4, it easily sets itself apart thanks to how smoothly and beautifully it plays games such as Breath of the Wild, DOOM, and Skyrim regardless of which mode a user chooses it to be in.
The Joy-Cons Reinnovated Motion Gaming for Nintnedo
Nintendo has even improved their now-standard motion controls via the Joy-Con. These bad boys show Nintendo isn’t shying away from high quality vs implementation. Instead, these suckers are just what the doctor ordered and offer fans a chance to toss out that annoying sensor bar. Thankfully, the Nintendo Switch’s different control schemes with the newly implemented motion controls are rather admirable. The Joy-Cons easily had shown that one could make a single controller appear as two, or even offer a chance for gamers to grab a Pro Controller and lounge back in their couch without the need for adapters or Joy-Con charging.
Even then, the Joy-Cons remain the best motion-based controllers out there. This is demonstrated quite well with both Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 for those that gave them a whirl, and even seemed to be the best way to play either game. Then again, that is up to the player and dwindles down to ones own personal preference. But even then, a few standard Nintendo annoyances still remain.
Nintendo still hasn’t learned to support built-in voice chat and still struggles with designing a proper friends list. Top this off with the persistence of using friend codes, Nintendo might as well write off what we can do with our friends, and even how we can do them. Nintendo’s best opportunity at testing this could have easily been with DOOM and its incredibly fast-paced multiplayer modes. Additionally, Nintendo has still still struggled to allow friends to communicate. After all, who doesn’t allow message sending these days?
Even then, Nintendo still has a few other features under their belts to address. Fans are still hungry for support of Virtual Console, which saw staggering success on Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS. After all, fans love these kinds of things, and don’t shudder at the idea of getting their hands on some of the best games that Nintendo and partners had to offer at the time. Even then, Nintendo has delayed their paid online service for the time being, but don’t expect this to go away. Nintendo has already stated that the Nintendo Switch will require an annual fee for fans to play online and has already stated that the service will be roughly $20 USD per year.
Here’s a Glimpse of Nintendo’s 2017:
- Nintendo manages to prove quality of life still remains for the Nintendo 3DS by launching titles such as Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, Metroid: Samus Returns, and even Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
- Nintendo manages to sell more than three million SNES and NES Classic consoles
- The Nintendo Switch ushers in a new golden age for Nintendo in March, delivering smash-hit and critically acclaimed titles.
- Nintendo still struggles to get a grasp on scalpers
- Third-party support for the Nintendo Switch displays Nintendo’s willingness to move away from their kids-only focus group.
- Nintendo teases some of their upcoming games from both first and third-party developers exclusively for the Switch
Since 2012, Nintendo has struggled to captivate fans around the world. From lackluster sales to poor support from third-party developers and publishers, Nintendo had seemed to have lost it all. However, 2017 seems to erase five years of bad luck, and has seemingly given Nintendo a fresh breath of air. Even with Iwata having passed on, Nintendo seems to be in solid hands, and continuing forth with his legacy.
Even with their outdated quirks such as lack of voice chat, cloud saving, and fully functional backwards support for older titles; Nintendo is heading in the right direction and could very well prove to be a force to reckon with in 2018 if they can keep their current momentum without growing weary. While 2017 hasn’t been the best of years, it also hasn’t been the worse and has displayed Nintendo is still a powerhouse to be reckoned with. One we’ve sorely missed for nearly half a decade.
- Nintendo’s Switch offers one of the strongest and steadiest line-ups since the launch of the Nintendo GameCube.
- With some initial third-party support from Rockstar, Bethesda, EA, and Ubisoft; Nintendo seems to be heading once more in the right direction.
- Nintendo hasn’t forgotten their 3DS user base and seemingly plans on supporting them for a while longer.
- The use of portability and in-home entertainment, Nintendo has seemingly brought the best of both worlds into one single device.
- Openly discussing cross-platform play with Xbox proves that Nintendo is ready for an open ecosystem, one that doesn’t limit gamers based on their hardware of choice.
- Nintendo still struggles to bring in some of gamers most desired features ranging from voice chat, to cloud saving, and Twitch streaming.
- Friend code still remain intact and continue to be problematic when looking for friends.
- Virtual console is still missing and doesn’t seem to have any indication of if or when it’ll ever move onto the Nintendo Switch.
- YouTube partnerships and videos still remain problematic. At this time, it seems this is an area where Nintendo needs to improve and ultimately accept as part of today’s modern age of gaming.
- Peripheral costs still remain outrageous and highly questionable given the fact their competitors offer some-what the same hardware at cheaper costs.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.