Nintendo's Switch breaks record
Nothing stops this (Nintendo) train.
Even Heisenberg himself would have to be impressed by the success of the Nintendo Switch and its support. In its first 10 months on the market, more than 4.8 million Switch units were sold in North America, making it the fastest-selling console debut in history. That total tops the Wii as the previous record holder with 4 million units sold in its first 10 months.
Modern Nintendo never does anything halfheartedly. It either succeeds tremendously, as in the case of the Wii and Switch, or fails miserably, as in the case of the Wii U. If this pace keeps up, Nintendo expects the Switch to surpass the lifetime sales of its failed predecessor by the end of March. That's impressive.
The Switch's success was fueled by a first year of releases that has never been surpassed and might not ever be surpassed. "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" has an attach rate of more than 55 percent in the United States, meaning at least 55 percent of Switch owners have purchased the title. "Super Mario Odyssey," which just launched in October, is at more than 60 percent. "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is at more than 50 percent and "Splatoon 2" is at more than 20 percent.
So with such a hefty first-year lineup and fairly quiet third-party release calendar it would be expected for the Switch to enter a software drought reminiscent of every other Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64, right? Switch owners won't have to worry about that following the publisher's first "Nintendo Direct" of the year.
After a cryptic tweet Wednesday, Nintendo came out with fists swinging Thursday with a slew of announcements covering the first six months of the year. In what has traditionally been the "slow" time of the year, Nintendo has packed more than 10 new releases and a handful of additional downloadable content packs for some of its popular titles. There should be something for every Switch owner to enjoy this winter and spring.
Arguably the biggest surprise and my personally most anticipated announcement was the reveal of "Dark Souls Remastered" coming May 25. The first game in the "Dark Souls" franchise will also release on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on the same date, but the idea of a portable "Dark Souls" is very enticing. It will be interesting to see if developer FROM Software does anything to take advantage of or conform to the Switch's motion controls and awkward analog sticks. But if Bethesda and id Software can not only make "DOOM" run on the Switch and control well, FROM Software can make this work.
Continuing the tradition of upgraded Wii U games releasing on the Switch, including the aforementioned "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," Donkey Kong and Kranky Kong will make their debut appearance on the console with "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze," which is due out on May 4. The port will add Donkey's strange cousin, Funky Kong, to the mix as a new playable character that should make some of the more challenging aspects of the game a bit easier. Nintendo has done a very good job in ensuring some of the great titles that were available on the Wii U don't die and can enjoy renewed interest on the Switch.
That initiative will continue this spring with the announcement of "Hyrule Warriors Ultimate Edition." The "The Legend of Zelda" meets "Dynasty Warriors" title turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience for the few people whoo wned the Wii U and its 3DS version. This "ultimate edition" will include all of the downloadable content from both releases. It will also include a same-screen co-op mode and "Breath of the Wild"-inspired costumes for Link and Zelda.
"Kirby Star Allies," announced last year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, will arrive March 16. The new short trailer showed two new Kirby movesets Artist and Spider that allow the pink alien to dispatch enemies in unique and colorful ways. Friends can also join in a co-op mode that looks similar to the co-op game play from the "New Super Mario Bros." series. The "Kirby" series has always been a fun, albeit fairly shallow experience, for many. One can hope this new game while already impressive looking will have a little bit of meat and challenge to it.