One of the frequent criticisms of the Nintendo Switch's launch is that the line-up looks weak; that the software launching with the game isn't entirely appealing outside of Legend of Zelda and that Nintendo should have waited to release the system. Well, Nintendo explains why the launch looks weak and why it may not be such a bad thing after all.
In the financial briefing to investors, which is available on the Nintendo of Japan's website, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima answered a series of questions from shareholders about the upcoming release of the Nintendo Switch. One of the questions centered around the supposed "weak" lineup of the Switch's launch titles, which has been criticized often by gamers and the media. Kimishima states...
Some of those who have seen this lineup have expressed the opinion that the launch lineup is weak. Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps.
Kimishima goes on to say that by spacing out the games that they can maintain media buzz and keep gamers interested in the Nintendo Switch all throughout the year instead of just throwing out the games on the launch day or piling all their big titles into the holiday season of 2017.
Technically it's a much smarter strategy than what they initiated with the Wii U, which launched with a weak lineup of games but never recovered when the following year had no consistent release of exclusives or big games to help maintain interest either with casuals or hardcore gamers.
The idea is that they'll have a mixture of single-player and multiplayer games throughout the launch window of the Nintendo Switch to target as wide a demographic market as possible. Kimishima also notes that they've even fine-tuned games like Splatoon 2 to accommodate Western audiences by adding in voice chat, which was missing from the original Splatoon.
Launch lineups can definitely improve or hamper the sales of a new console, but the Nintendo Switch in itself is such an innovative concept that I doubt lacking as many games in its lineup as say, the Xbox One or PS4 when they launched back in 2013, will matter. The big difference is that the actual first-party offerings from both consoles were thin but the third-party support helped make up for it. Both systems had various remasters available from the Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as third-party multiplatform games in addition to the first-party offerings.
Nintendo doesn't have the luxury of a massive catalog of remasters at their disposal nor a bevy of third-party games lined up either. The integrity of the Nintendo Switch's sales will be dependent on the quality and longevity of their first-party offerings. If the hardware sales move big units throughout spring and summer then we'll likely see a lot of last-minute third-party remasters and multiplatform titles released during the fall.