Yesterday, Nintendo premiered its latest Direct special, and while there weren’t a ton of surprises revealed, the company provided more details on its games that will be arriving over the course of the rest of the year, and some hints as to what’s on the horizon, including a new Kirby game and Bethesda’s Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
While the special didn’t quite overwhelm Nintendo fans, it did solidify the company’s status in the game industry, as it continues to slowly but surely build up a strong audience for the Switch, as well as the Nintendo 3DS. And it has more than enough games to back it up this holiday season, including Super Mario Odyssey, Fire Emblem Warriors and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
So the real question is, can Nintendo keep up this momentum? We believe so, and there are a few examples pointing out how the company is going into 2018 smelling like a rose…
First off, we haven’t seen a line-up of loaded games for a Nintendo console in its first year of release since the days of the Nintendo 64. We’ve gotten a ton of great games thus far, including the innovative ARMS; the fun sequel Splatoon 2; and the still legendary The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And that’s not counting the four titles coming over the next few months, including the aforementioned games and Pokken Tournament DX, which will have players fighting next Friday.
And before you say, “Well, yeah, but there’s the third parties…”, Nintendo’s been doing better in that regard too. It’s managed to convince Bethesda to bring over two of its biggest franchises, Doom and Wolfenstein to the platform, alongside Skyrim when it debuts in November. EA is starting to get a little faith with the system with FIFA, and maybe more stuff from there. 2K is on board with its sports franchises, and who knows what else. And it seems like others are slowly trickling in as well.
It’s not a dominant third party presence, but still a presence nevertheless – and it could give Nintendo quite a boost when the 2018 gaming season comes around.
Some people believe that the 3DS will be forgotten about this holiday season in favor of the Switch, but Nintendo shot down that theory yesterday, with new Pokemon games on the horizon (well, “new” is farfetched, but maybe “improved”?), as well as a new Professor Layton title. And this week looks outstanding, between a new Phoenix Wright game, as well as the return of 2D Metroid with Samus Returns, which is already shaping up to be one of the best games of 2017.
On top of that, new 2DS XL models are on the way to market, including a spiffy looking orange and white model, as well as a new Pokemon edition that's sure to be a hit with collectors. So, yeah, needless to say, Nintendo still has faith in the 3DS, despite the way that the Switch is going. There’s room for both.
Nintendo pissed off a lot of people earlier this year when it discontinued the NES Classic Edition out of nowhere, mainly because they were already struggling to find one in the first place – and now it’s literally impossible without paying hundreds. But I believe the company realized the error of its ways, as it announced earlier this week that it would be bringing the system back with a vengeance next summer – and with better supply to boot.
On top of that, it totally realizes just how high in demand the SNES Classic Edition is, so it’s also vowed to bump up its production as well, beating scalpers to the punch by promising more people will be able to get their hands on it this holiday season. That remains to be seen, but the fact that the company admits it’s learned the error of its ways with these systems is a plus, and it can only get better from here, depending how hard they work on manufacturing. I have faith.
Now the real question is this – can Nintendo keep up this momentum in 2018? It’s a little hazy at this point, since we only know about a few titles that will be released next year, including the new Yoshi and Kirby games, as well as the new Pokemon and Metroid Prime games beyond that. But if it can keep making key decisions like this, recognizing traits in the markets and working with franchises that it knows will be best sellers, it could easily find its place in the market again.
There’s also its Online network to consider, which will launch next year. The prices seem acceptable enough, going for no more than $20 a year, and the services sound excellent, especially the classic games. But we have yet to see its effectiveness – and whether we’ll still have to do that awkward work-around when it comes to voice chat. It should be simpler.
Also, despite what Nintendo does, that’s not to say it’ll catch up with Sony and Microsoft. It’s got a long way to go to get to that mark, especially when it comes to steady third-party support. But it’s getting there, and the effort definitely shows, especially when it comes to recent choices and announcements to get players excited again. 2018 could be a great year for the company – it’s just a matter of whether they keep making these excellent choices or not.
And by that, yes, Nintendo, give us F-Zero again. And Smash. And Animal Crossing. (Just suggestions, really.)