When the calendar flipped from 2016 to 2017, video game fanatics around the world were realizing that, for the first time, Nintendo was at a true disadvantage. Nintendo was coming off of the heels of their first major console fop with the Wii U and gamers were beginning to be disillusioned by Nintendo’s propensity to lean on gimmicks in lieu of actual gameplay innovation. Nintendo’s family-friendly reputation, won at the expense of a deep library of titles, was also doing the company no favors. Fortunately, these facts would not hold water once the Nintendo Switch hit shelves everywhere. In hindsight, it is easy to see that the Nintendo Switch was always destined to succeed. The powerful handheld/home-console hybrid was the perfect mix of serious and casual gaming and it was elevated by a deeper library of titles than Nintendo had been able to offer in years. Still, despite these positives, nobody expected Nintendo to enter 2018 with one of the hottest gaming consoles on the market. Let’s dig in and see how the Nintendo Switch flipped the gaming world upside down.

It may surprise people to find out, but Nintendo was actually created back in 1898 — 128 years ago. Since 1898 the company had never seen an embarrassing failure quite like the Wii U. The Wii U was a complete misfire, and a rare one at that, which ended up putting Nintendo in a hole in comparison to their competition. The console sold just over 13 million units over a nearly six-year time span. The Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, sold more than 10 million units in its first nine months on the market. In fact, the Switch just recently scored the all-time first-year sales record in Japan, beating out the PlayStation 2 from back in the year 2000. How did this dramatic change happen?

The key to Nintendo’ growth with the Switch was simple and it meant embracing what Nintendo has always been great with — handheld gaming. The Switch’s primary selling point was always the fact that it was a portable console that could be used seamlessly on the go or at home on your big screen TV. You can play ‘Super Mario Odyssey’ on an airplane or you can plug the console right into its port and play it on your big screen with no latency. This key helped to appeal to both casual and ardent gamers and it was executed so well that people everywhere had to get their hands on it.