Taking a look at Nintendo’s best-selling home console. Now struggling to keep up with modern releases, should games be held back by the Switch’s mediocre capabilities?

Most people have heard of the Switch, and even more are familiar with the name Nintendo. However, the company has received criticism for the limitations of the technology they offer, most of all with the Nintendo Switch. This has led to debate over whether they should continue to hinder the performance of their titles over a selling point for their devices.

The success of the Switch cannot be understated. After a middling performance from the Wii U five years prior, the Switch was released with record-breaking sales and currently sits as the third-bestselling console of all time. The great success of the device can perhaps be attributed to its unique accessibility. The ability to play the same games at home and on the go is still a remarkable novelty that, alongside the company’s credible history, placed the Nintendo Switch on a unique footing that caught the attention of fans and more general audiences.

Variety was also key to the success of the Switch, as the console houses games of all genres for all audiences. There are traditional games for children and families like Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, but the Switch broke new ground for Nintendo as it embarked on releasing more mature content from third-party developers. Games like Doom Eternal and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which were already exceedingly popular on other consoles, were released soon after on the Nintendo Switch. By widening the demographic of the handheld using third-party games, Nintendo was able to broaden the potential sales of their first-party titles, as shown by the release of Metroid Dread, which became the best-selling game for the 37-year-old franchise.

However, how does Switch hold up in 2023? Many have complained about the console’s lacklustre performance, holding back modern games. Mortal Kombat 1 came out earlier this year, with many fans demonstrating their disappointment online with the graphic fidelity of the Switch version. Users on social media posted screenshots proving the handheld struggled to keep up with other platforms like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. And this is just one modern release amongst dozens that have stirred tension within fanbases. This has led to the consensus that more and more third-party developers struggle to release their newest games on what many see as inadequate tech.

It certainly doesn’t help that, practically since the conception of the Nintendo Switch, fans have been asking for a newer model that contends with next-generation competitors. A common demand is for the company to release a model that removes handheld functionality and prioritises technical power over novel features. Despite widespread speculation, Nintendo seems to be holding off on a reinvention of the Switch and instead is pushing resources towards their next big system.

The issue remains: should Nintendo continue to focus on the uniqueness of their products over the performance of their games? While they would never compete with PlayStation or Xbox when it comes to technical power, the company must incorporate their ideas into a device that outside developers can effectively and efficiently design their games for. Otherwise, they risk falling into obscurity by failing to appeal to all demographics like they were able to with the Switch.


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