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Verge 2018 tech report card: Nintendo



How do you top a year like 2017? For Nintendo it has not been a simple question. Last year the game master shouted the world with the weak success of the switch, which was helped by the release of both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at the launch and Super Mario Odyssey ] during holiday rush. After the very public error of the Wii U, 2017 was the kind of year Nintendo desperately needed.

2018, on the other hand, has been about trying to keep that momentum going. For Switch, it has meant three things: releasing more of the games fans ask for, pushing for new types of experience, and continuing to entice third-party developers to the platform. On the first front, 201

8 has been a success. Especially this holiday season, Nintendo has managed to release some amazing iterations of some of the most enduring franchises. Super Mario Party showed how suitable multiplayer chaos is for the switch, while Pokémon: Let's Go hit the sweet spot between Pokémon Go 's availability and the depth of a real role play. Later, director Masahiro Sakurai released the most comprehensive Smash Bros. games ever made with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate .

These games have a special meaning for Nintendo, who trust them to reach their high sales goals. The company has to sell around 14 million switches – almost twice as many as last year – to reach its target of 20 million Switch sales for the year ending March 31st. It seems unlikely, but Nintendo seems surprisingly safe. "We believe we are exceptionally well positioned to drive through the holidays to have a very strong quarter," Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé told The Verge in front Ultimate & # 39 ; s launch. "That's the key for us."


  Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

When it comes to creating new types of experiences, Nintendo started the year with a lot of excitement for revealing Labo, a line of DIY cardboard accessories that can turn the switch to anything from a fishing rod for a piano. It was the kind of thing that could only come from Nintendo: creative and unexpected, using smart hacks to make simple technology feel like magic, while teaching users how these things actually worked.

But it also has not caught on the way the company expected, and the game is not among the Switch bestsellers. There is a possibility that can be changed, as Nintendo believes that Labo will have a long tail, provided the company can figure out how to reach the audience it is aiming for. "People who are aware of Nintendo Labo right now think I am still in the circle of Nintendo fans and gaming fans in general," Shinya Takahashi, the company's software department general manager, told me back in June. "We are very interested in how we can go beyond that, to people who are not really in the game news."

Regarding third party support, Nintendo has mixed 2018. An area of ​​success has gained lucrative online games on the platform. This started back on the E3 with the launch of Fortnite which has since been installed on "nearly half" of all Switch consoles, and continued with the debut of Warframe . This type of ongoing virtual world, with large embedded audiences, will be the key to luring new players to Switch. Meanwhile, the switch continues to be the platform of choice for big indie games. 2018 saw the launch of budding classics such as Into the Breach Sword & Sworcery and Dead Cells and many of these games sell better on Nintendo tablets than on other platforms.

However, when it comes to more traditional blockbuster games, Switch is in a strange place. Some major unexpected titles came to the platform this year, including Diablo III and Civilization VI but Nintendo is still in position where most major third-party releases come to Switch Long – after they are already available on other platforms. Sometimes it takes years – though this is something Nintendo thinks will change next year.

The only other major addition to the Switch came in the form of Nintendo's long-awaited subscription service. It's considerably cheaper than Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, but it's not as robust either. In fact, features like cloud savings do not even work for every fight, which has been a great source of frustration. That said, the $ 20 annual fee is relatively inexpensive for playing games online and accessing a growing selection of classic Nintendo games.

Apart from the switch, it has been a relatively quiet year for Nintendo. There has been no new retro hardware (although the NES Classic continues to sell), and with the exception of the underwhelming RPG Dragalia Lost The Poké Ball Plus was a fun new hardware but expensive for something don't do & # 39; I don't do much. Nintendo also did not have a particularly exciting year on the mobile. But in the film world it seems that the company is making great progress; In 2018, Nintendo confirmed it was working on lighting on an animated Super Mario movie, and we also got a first, somewhat frightening glimpse of live action Detective Pikachu next year. 19659013] 2018 was not a bad year with some stretch for Nintendo, it was just not as exciting as last year. The company continued to run the Switch wave, and it released a number of great games, while making progress towards expanding into new territory as a movie. More importantly, the company, with Metroid, Animal Crossing and Pokémon all on the way, seems to hold the moment in 2019.

Final grade: B [19659015] B [19659015] 2018 grade

Verge 2018 report card: Nintendo

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  • Gold Stars
    • Continuing to release new, new games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon: Let's Go
    • Secured Fortnite Switch
    • Made great steps towards having a movie business

Need improvement

  • The gates come forward long after they are already available on other platforms
  • Drilling year for mobile games
  • Labo has not been as big as expected

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