Home System concept Five years on from ‘NX’ frenzy becoming the Switch

Five years on from ‘NX’ frenzy becoming the Switch


This week marked five years (yes) since the mysterious Nintendo ‘NX’ became the Switch. It was a big deal and, to Nintendo’s relief, it was well received. Let’s be honest, the reaction wasn’t going to be any worse than that revealed by the Wii U E3, when most of the follow-up questions were “So is the tablet an add-on for the Wii?” There’s no question that as an initial reveal and proof of concept, the original video did a pretty good job.

The trailer has gotten a bit iconic and meme-worthy. Yes, there were photogenic people in very nice houses doing their best, people casually playing with strangers in airports, construction work. There was also the famous rooftop party scene which was parodied and joked endlessly. Now, I haven’t been to a rooftop party with any Switch action going on (we don’t have a lot of rooftop parties in Scotland, to be honest), but I’ve seen people playing a Switch during from a wedding and in a pub or two, so he come.

In any case, it amused people on social networks. There was also a pretty catchy melody – a beautiful, White Denim; it’s pretty cool that it’s actually called Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah).

Beyond the photogenic cast and slightly silly storylines, it’s fair to say that the trailer did a great job of promoting the actual game as well. The concept had been the subject of many rumors and leaks, but seeing the transition from the dock to portable gaming and the sheer ingenuity of the Joy-Con controllers was always a light bulb moment that gave us some reasons for optimism. Let’s not forget that Nintendo also cleverly “revealed” the games (although Nintendo didn’t officially announce them for a few months), showing ongoing clips from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (although we knew that this was coming ‘NX’), Skyrim, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Super Mario Odyssey. It was perfect for getting people talking.

Don’t worry Wii U, we still love you (Image: Nintendo Life)

The cyclical hype ahead of the reveal

Thinking back to how Nintendo did the unveiling in October 2016, it’s quite amusing to see how similar this frenetic period was to the downright boring Switch “Pro” rumors, which seemed to have peaked noticeably in the E3 season. This year. Rumors for years, some achievable and others clearly made up? To verify. Nintendo continually dodges and avoids saying anything? To verify. More and more desperate and impatient fans bombarding the company on social media? Oh yes, CHECK.

The context was a little different, however. On the one hand, the Wii U was truly doomed for a few years at this point. There is often hyperbole about “chess” in games, but although many of us have a soft spot for the system, it was truly a disaster for Nintendo. Its lifetime hardware sales were 13.56 million units; In contrast, Switch’s most recent figure is 89.04 million. Now that era also had the 3DS, which hit 75.94 million units over its lifetime, so when you combine the two systems from this generation, it’s interesting how close the numbers are. . Of course, the Switch is still on and, despite the drop in demand, is still selling good numbers. Ultimately, the Switch will have sold a little more than the Wii U and 3DS combined, and other than a few late 3DS releases early on, Nintendo has only had to focus on one core hardware line, not of them.

The first mention of the 'NX' in March 2015
The first mention of the ‘NX’ in March 2015

So in 2016, when “NX” was a code name and the concept was not revealed, it was a relatively difficult time for the company. The period leading up to the concept’s reveal, regardless of its release, was also interminably long. Under pressure from investors over the woes of the Wii U and the fact that the 3DS bore no resemblance to the monstrous success of the DS, former company chairman Satoru Iwata first mentioned the ” NX “as a new” dedicated gaming platform “in March. 2015. It was a kick start for the online frenzy that follows all new material coming out of Nintendo HQ.

Nintendo said next to nothing for over a year, leaving rumors and leaks (one or two of which were genuine) to fill the void. Nintendo finally confirmed a March 2017 release window – right before its fiscal year ended, the same tactic we’ve seen with 3DS – but still hasn’t shown the concept. Famously, E3 2016 only had one game, Breath of the Wild, but it was the Wii U version. Nintendo was not going to be in a hurry and the internet became almost unbearable as a result. “Where’s NX?” “” What is NX? “” Does Nintendo dooooooomed? “

Of course, we did our best to cover up any rumors that we trusted or could verify, and dealt with many “why didn’t you cover this?” Questions. Emails for rumors that were clearly absurd. The volume was increasing and Nintendo’s message was simple – “we have nothing to share yet”.

We looked fondly (I guess) at some of our editorials on the right before the revelation. In it, we wondered how Nintendo would reveal the “NX,” and of course, the company didn’t make any of those approaches. Let’s go for the viral fall of the trailer, kind of, but tweeted just hours before the video. Not quite a stealthy drop, but not a million miles away.

A few weeks ago, we wrote that NX was testing fans’ patience, which means it was also testing our patience. Again, Nintendo had officially said next to nothing about the NX, so in the context of the time, the atmosphere online was out of control. Think the ‘Switch Pro’ talk is getting annoying? He has nothing on this late NX period.

Perfect view required
Perfect view required (Photo: Nintendo)

It all worked out in the end

In the end, the initial teaser went pretty well and Nintendo’s PR machine came to life as it began to reveal more information about the system and all that it would entail. Then, in mid-January 2017, there was a flashy live presentation of the system and many games; which launched pre-orders, previews and a deluge of information. A few months later, the system was in the wild.

And, ultimately, it was a smash hit for Nintendo, helping bring it back to the heart of popular culture and contributing to levels of profit not seen since the DS and Wii era. Move to a hybrid handheld and home console strategy in one, designed and initially implemented by Satoru Iwata way back early 2013, allowed Nintendo to flourish and regain its place at the table of leaders in the hardware sector.

It’s typical Nintendo hardware too, in that it’s the concept, the gaming opportunities, and the library of exclusives that increased its success, leaving Sony and Microsoft to fight for graphics power and teraflops. And, whatever Nintendo does next, the reasonable money will be on future hardware being similar – modest power consumption, less graphics capability than other systems, but games and a “hook” to stand out. If you’re hoping Nintendo is going to produce a tablet-sized device with the grunt equivalent of the current generation of PS5 and Xbox Series X, you’re preparing to be disappointed.

When Nintendo has new material to share, however, there will be a tremendous amount of buzz, coverage, and scrutiny thanks to the company’s notable success over the past 4.5 years.

And to think it all started with actors pretending to squint at Super Mario Odyssey on a rooftop.