Nintendo has reason to celebrate today, as the success of the Switch has sent its stock price up over the peak it reached during the initial Pokemon GO craze. Nintendo’s share price rose to ¥31,880, which represents year-over-year growth of 102%. That’s impressive, but it comes nowhere close to how high Nintendo’s stock was during the Wii era. As we all know, success like this can be fleeting, so here are five things Nintendo needs to do to maintain its current momentum.
1. Have a rock-solid E3
Nintendo previously announced that it won’t be holding a press conference at E3 2017 next month, but it won’t be absent entirely. The company will still host an E3 showcase, live streamed on its website, that will focus primarily on the Switch and Super Mario Odyssey. Aside from Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey is unquestionably the biggest Switch title in the next year, so Nintendo really has to sell gamers on it, much like it sold Breath of the Wild.
Super Mario Odyssey will no doubt be the star of the show, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make a few surprise announcements during the presentation. We’re quickly running out of first-party Nintendo franchises to look forward to on the Switch with ARMS launching next month and Splatoon 2 coming in July. If Nintendo announced a few more first part games at E3, it would go a long way to instilling confidence in both potential Switch buyers and developers, even if those titles won’t be out until the latter half of 2018.
2. Announce a true-to-form Pokemon game for the Switch
I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it until Nintendo does it: Pokemon must make its way to the Switch. Not spin off series like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon or Pokemon Rumble, but a true-to-form Pokemon game like Sun and Moon. We’ve heard rumors that claim Nintendo will launch an enhanced edition of Sun and Moon on the Switch, but so far there’s been no official word from the company.
Pokemon is a system seller, arguably more so than Zelda and Mario. If Nintendo wants to see Switch sales stay strong, announcing a Pokemon game for the system is a surefire way to do that. It makes a lot of sense to make the Switch home to an enhanced edition of Sun and Moon, and ostensibly it wouldn’t take that long for Game Freak to have it ready to ship. Whether it’s new or old, this year or next, Pokemon on the Switch needs to happen.
3. Keep marketing the Switch
I don’t know if you noticed, but when Wii U sales began to slide, it was almost as if Nintendo stopped advertising it entirely. On the other hand, you could see TV spots for the original Wii throughout its lifespan. Nintendo needs to take the latter approach to Switch marketing, even if sales begin to slip after this excellent launch.
Yesterday, Nintendo announced that it will be taking the Switch on a summer tour around the US, giving folks in 13 different cities the chance to get some hands-on time with it. This is an excellent start, and I’d like to see more of these tours in the future. Beyond that, I’d like to see this tour advertised with more than just a press release. After all, putting the Switch in players’ hands is the best way to convince them to buy.
I’m well aware that these tours and national advertising campaigns probably cost a lot of money, but as the old adage goes, “it takes money to make money.” Nintendo, despite its struggles with the Wii U, still has a lot of cash to burn, and I’d like to see it throw that money into a long-burn marketing campaign for the Switch.
4. Reconsider its online systems for the Switch
I feel that Nintendo is making a major misstep with its online systems for the Switch. If there’s one thing I see Switch owners complain about most, it’s Nintendo’s plans for online and the fact that the company has said next to nothing about these systems since launch. Right now, no one is convinced that Nintendo deserves a fee for the systems it will put into place.
Where is the virtual console? Why will we need to use a smartphone app to manage our online presence on the Switch? Why does this system still rely on friend codes, despite gamers complaining about this very thing for years? I know it’s a big ask, but if Nintendo reconsidered its intent to charge a fee, it would go a long way toward making Switch owners a lot happier with their purchase and encourage potential buyers to take the plunge.
5. Hit mobile hard as the 3DS enters end-of-life
It’s not exactly a secret that the Switch and the 3DS won’t coexist forever. The 3DS is now six years old, and even though it might have a year or two left in it, its days are certainly numbered. We’ve had some signals that the 3DS might soon be on the way out, too – Fire Emblem producer Hitoshi Yamagami recently said that Echoes would likely be the last mainline entry on 3DS.
It doesn’t seem like a smart move to launch a 3DS successor while the Switch is your main home console, so what’s the solution to this problem? Focus more on mobile. The audience is clearly there given the success of Pokemon GO and Fire Emblem Heroes – even Super Mario Run seems to have enjoyed some degree of success, even though there were many complaints about the game’s $10 price tag. If Nintendo starts focusing more on mobile now, it will have a healthy side business to replace the 3DS when it eventually runs its course.
Nintendo is in a very encouraging spot right now. The Switch launch has been a major success and people seem to be genuinely excited about it. Nintendo has proven time and time again, however, that it is its own worst enemy, and I think if it can do some of the things listed here, they’ll contribute to an era of long-term success for the company. What are your ideas on how Nintendo can keep this momentum up? Head down to the comments section and let us know!