Friday was a tense day for Nintendo as it launched its new Switch games console, which is crucial to the Japanese company’s future.
The hybrid console went on sale to long lines of enthusiastic gamers outside shops worldwide, but it is its wider and long-term success that is essential for Nintendo in its competition with Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, particularly given the disappointing sale of its previous consoles – the Wii U and the 3DS handheld.
Video: Gaming fans queue up for the Nintendo Switch in Japan https://t.co/hvZ5MXcdYj— AllTheBestNews (@AllTheBestNews) March 3, 2017
In Tokyo one of the first buyers enthused: “I have been playing the games made by Nintendo and now I have its newest console, I am so happy.”
Another was keen to try out the features of the new device: “I like the concept you can carry it anywhere. It also features all the up-to-date technologies, so I’m eager to see how it works.”
The console – which is Nintendo’s first new offering in four years – can be used at home using the built-in display, plugged into a TV, or out and about. It works as a handheld whose remote controller section detaches from the left and right sides of the main part of the device’s display.
Srsly, in a dream world the Switch could become the platform for indies https://t.co/62ZciC4fjV— Ars Technica (@arstechnica) March 2, 2017
80 games, just not yet
One disappointment was a lack of games for the launch, though 80 titles are promised through 50 software makers, including Electronic Arts and Sega.
In the Swedish city of Stockholm the first buyer was Stanislav Izotov, who had been waiting outside the store for 16 days. He said it was worth the wait: “Because Nintendo has been around for a long time, and they create great game experiences. And it’s not every day they release a new completely unique game experience like Switch.”
A refreshingly informative review from
gamespot</a><br>Nintendo Switch Review<a href="https://t.co/h6LVUEiiIa">https://t.co/h6LVUEiiIa</a> <a href="https://t.co/Z8upkzlGKr">pic.twitter.com/Z8upkzlGKr</a></p>— Plipo Gamez (PlipOGamez) March 3, 2017
Nintendo is forecasting sales of two million of the consoles in the first month.
But for Switch to be a success the technology giant needs to win over new, younger players and buck the trend of gamers using smartphones and personal computers to play.
The fact that the rollout went smoothly helped Nintendo’s share rise on Friday.