The Future of the Nintendo Switch
Why We Need Change Now
Over the last year, Nintendo has done incredibly well with their hybrid home/portable console selling a fantastic 16-million units in their first year. Outselling their last consoles life time sales in only 12 short months, Nintendo has set some rather lofty goals of selling a further 20-million units in their second year. Depending on their showing at E3, this year’s catalog of releases may just help them reach that goal but there is another issue waiting in the wings.
While some households may purchase multiple consoles for one household, its usually unlikely for most and if Nintendo hopes to push this system to as many users as possible, the current marketing as a home console you can bring anywhere may need to change a little bit. Nintendo has been shy to call the Switch the successor to their portable line up ever since it’s introduction and they continue to push the idea that the 3DS family can and should live along side their new home console and this makes a lot of sense as their portable sales have long been Nintendo’s saving grace. Lack luster sales of the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii U have been smoothed out by the sales from 3DS, DS, and GameBoy Advanced systems. If the Switch proved to not be up to the challenge and didn’t sell well enough, having the 3DS there ready to pick up the slack made a lot of sense.
Now that we know the Switch is selling incredibly well, breaking several records for sales in it’s first year, it’s time for Nintendo to drop the 3DS from production and pull all of its efforts into the Switch and push it as the champion of portable gaming it already is. I think if they were to do this, and do it right, they could surpass the ever illustrious PlayStation 2 as the highest selling game console of all time. To do this though, there are some changes that need to be made sooner rather than later.
The Case for a Smaller Nintendo Switch
While there are others out there who are clamoring for a “Nintendo Switch XL” with a larger screen size, I think a miniaturized model is much more likely for two reasons; the size and the price.
While the Switch is currently a great system for older gamers, it’s a little large for younger gamers. Now that Nintendo has shown core gamers they care by raining down a pleathora of nostalgia ridden masterpieces such as Super Mario Odyssey & The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s time to hit the rest of the market. It’s time to push demographics that made systems like the DS the champion of sales that it was. The best way to do this is with a slightly smaller, more personal system. Nintendo doesn’t want one in every household. They want one for every person in every household.
While simply making a smaller system is a great place to start, the biggest hurdle Nintendo faces with pushing multiple systems in a household is the price. At $299, it’s $100 more then their most expensive 3DS & $219 more than the cheapest and with the proliferation of cheap tablets such as the Kindle Fire they really need to prove what they offer that the others don’t. While this might be an easy pick for people who play video games or know about game systems, it’s going to be a harder sell for the average public. It needs to drop to at least $199 before its going to hit mass craze levels of popularity and have a shot of dethrowning the current highest selling system. While the price may drop there sooner or later, the easiest way to do this is with a smaller, cheaper system.
The Build of a Smaller Nintendo Switch
With all of this in mind, I decided to work on what I thought the perfect combonation of features would make a great Nintendo Switch mini. Here’s what I came up with.
The display is smaller but central part of the device is tall enough to still facilitate the current Joy-Con designs. By keeping with the Switch’s already modular design, you should be able to mass produce the different components of the device before final packaging, allowing you to flex with demand while keeping costs down.
With the new Switch size, a new dock is required as well. This smaller dock keeps the same locking mechanisim as the current dock but removes the plastic rails on the front enclosure. Cables also connect directly to the back of the dock rather then being hidden inside the door allowing for quick connection and disconnection. This dock should use considerably less plastic and take less time to create. While this connects to the Nintendo Switch mini, the new dock would not come with the mini and would be something you would buy seperately, allowing even lower prices on the console.
Color should be a selling point of the smaller unit. Giving people the option to choose their Nintendo Switch. I took this time to work on a part of UX that I normally don’t think about; Packaging. I took a super streamlined approach, only holding the central unit, two color matched Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con Grip, and Power Supply.
I made a point to make sure the color of the device is easily idetified by the side of the box, allowing you to stack them easily on shelves and not quickly find the item you’re looking for.
For the inside of the box I wanted it make it inviting, welcoming you to the new experience you are about to start with the new system. I wanted to keep it simple and clean, making the first thing you see the system in the exact same location as where it was placed on the front of the box. By removing the console, the shelf it sits in has the setup instructions on the backside eliminating the need for extra documentation.