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Nintendo Switch 1 Year Anniversary - Has it worked out as planned?

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The Nintendo Switch celebrated its first year on the market over the weekend. Originally released on 3 March 2017, the console had had nothing but a successful first year. I feel as if it was just yesterday that I got mine and it changed the way I looked at portable gaming. With 12 months under its belt, has the Nintendo Switch managed to find its place in the industry?

The short answer is yes but how did it get to where it is today? We are talking about a console that had one triple-A exclusive on launch and while it was the best game of 2017, it was just one game. Sure, there were a few other great games like Snipperclips and Super Bomber man but as a consumer looking at the March 2017 version of the Switch, it was a hard sell. Nintendo did highlight its release pipeline for the months ahead with the likes of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and of course the awesome Super Mario Odyssey, but there is no denying that many early adopters of the Switch felt a little bored a few weeks into the console's life.

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One thing that the Nintendo Wii U did not have was third-party support. Other than a handful of launch games and games that released within the first few months of the console, there was nothing. The support for the Wii U also dwindled until there was nothing but exclusive games. Don't get me wrong, these games were great but Nintendo struggled to keep the momentum going between its games. 

The Switch, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. To think that games we never dreamed of having on the console have graced the platform in the last twelve months such as DOOM and Skyrim and not to mention the fantastic indie games that have basically turned the Switch into everyone's favourite indie console. I, for one, don't buy indie games on anything but the Switch now as its portability just makes for a great platform to experience some pick-up-and-play indie titles. Seriously, get Steamworld Dig 2. A great game indeed. 

Nintendo has worked hard to make sure that the Switch has a constant flow of third party games and this all helps owners keep themselves busy while we wait for something from Nintendo themselves. This is what the Wii U did not have and it was probably the console's downfall, along with the dumb name and poor reveal that left us all confused. The Switch is now not only packed with high-quality first party games but also a massive library of third-party ones too. While it will never replace my other consoles as my main gaming platforms, the idea that these great console games come to Switch too is a huge deal and pushes Nintendo up to the same pedestal as Sony and Microsoft.  

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When it comes to its first party games, well, there is nothing much I can say about them other than they are utter perfection. Super Mario Odyssey won our Game of the Year 2017 with The Legend of Zelda winning best Switch game. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a gorgeous version of the awesome kart racer and is a must for all owners too. 

It is mad to think that so much has happened in the last twelve months and Nintendo has managed to release such successful games. This is also all backed by constant support from DLC of which Nintendo does a little differently by releasing solid experiences that take players on new and exciting adventures or add fun mini-games to great games. Nintendo is also extremely modest about their exclusives. While there is nothing wrong with boasting about them, you don't see "WORLD EXCLUSIVE PREMIER" or "ONLY ON PLAYSTATION" slapped on the cover of these great Nintendo Switch games. Nintendo knows that the love and passion put into their games reflect in the gameplay and this has always been part of their Nintendo Seal of Quality stance on their products. 

A major part of the success of the Switch has a lot to do with the hardware. Sure, it is not 4K HDR and all that but it does what it advertises and that is rare these days. Nothing about the Switch feels gimmicky at all and the ability to plonk it into the dock to play on the TV and pull it out to take it with you is its strongest feature. Nintendo also does a fantastic job at making sure the hardware is not only used to its fullest potential but also accessible to everyone. 

The Joy-Cons allow you to play almost any game with a friend and no additional hardware is needed. The motion and 3D rumble features add another layer of depth to games and coming from someone who hates motion, I played the whole of Odyssey without ever resorting to actually pressing the buttons. Other than 1-2-Switch, Nintendo has never restricted any player to using a specific controller method. If you want motion, you use it and if you don't then you have a wide variety of alternatives.

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My 7-year old niece loves playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe handheld, and she even knows that if she slides the machine into the dock she can play it on the TV. Everything the Switch does is so natural which makes it one of the most versatile consoles ever made.

To think that the Switch has been such a massive success in 2017 that Nintendo struggles with stock on a daily basis. When I was in L.A in June of 2017, the Gamestop staff told me that they have lists of hundreds of people waiting to buy it and when the stock comes in it does not last seconds. Why do you ask? Well, everything listed above has played a major role in the success of the Switch.

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Nintendo has killed it in the first year of the Switch, there is no doubt about it but now the challenge awaits to make sure they can do it again. We have Nintendo Labo releasing soon which is an awesome new interactive way to play with the Switch and there are a few odd games coming but can Nintendo repeat history? Only time will tell. I hope this time next year I can sit and write another one of these and chat about all the exciting things Nintendo gets up to in the months ahead. 

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