If anything could be said about this console generation is that it has been a race to put out the most powerful console as quickly as possible. Sony released their PlayStation 4 Pro first, and Microsoft countered with the highly expensive but more powerful Xbox One X. Despite this though, Microsoft is lagging behind this generation. Two years ago they were in great shape; Gears of War 4, the massively underrated Quantum Break, ReCore, Forza Horizon 3, and Dead Rising 4 (although that was a timed exclusive). Now, they have no exclusives and a very powerful console that doesn’t seem to have any upside other than an upgrad in visuals of titles already released. It’s simply not worth the money. The PS4 Pro, on the other hand, is more economical and looks great, considering Sony’s excellent lineup of exclusives. Plus, it came out first, giving it a huge head start. While this war waged between Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo was sitting back, enjoying their popcorn, and conceived the most unique consoles ever devised: the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo proves console power doesn’t matter. Innovation Attracts Third-Party Developers Handheld gaming devices have swept the Japanese video game market off its feet. Capitalizing on that, Nintendo did something very clever to appease both the Eastern and Western video game markets: they made a home console and a portable gaming device in one. This obviously sacrificed the sheer power of the console, but that hasn’t stopped major developers like Rockstar Games and Bethesda from bringing ports of some of their most successful games to the Switch. Not to mention they run incredibly well. DOOM from Bethesda is probably the best example, as it’s not only one of the best-looking games on the Nintendo Switch, but it doesn’t have any technical hiccups, save a very rare sound glitch. It doesn’t stop there. it’s a ton of fun and one of this generation’s best first-person shooters. Ubisoft, an elite publisher and developer, collaborated with Nintendo and produced one of the most bizarre but entertaining crossovers gaming has ever witnessed: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. What’s better yet is that all of these games actually play spectacularly in portable mode. Playing Skyrim or L.A. Noire on the go is something no one would have ever dreamed of. Now, thanks to Nintendo’s exquisite imagination, that dream has become a reality. Nintendo’s Software First-party games are not lacking either. Nintendo has had a steady release of top-quality content ever since the Switch came out last March. The best decision they could have possibly made was to launch the Nintendo Switch with Breath of the Wild. What was the last system to launch with a Zelda game? The Nintendo Wii. How successful was it? The system’s sales speak for themselves. Breath of the Wild was easily the most anticipated title of the year and it ended up winning Game of the Year at almost every major video game outlet. In addition to Zelda, Nintendo released Mario Kart, ARMS, Splatoon 2, Pokken Tournament DX, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in the span of ten months. In fact, Nintendo came out with two of the most incredible games to ever be released: Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild. In a matter of seven months. The sales for the two games, again, speak for themselves, and they are considered two of the greatest games of all time. Power Doesn’t Equal Sales Speaking of sales, according to Nintendo’s most recent quarterly briefing, the Switch sold almost 15 million units in 10 months. It’s the fastest-selling console ever in the United States, accounting for roughly one-third of the Switch’s sales. Their retro console, the Super Nintendo Classic, sold four million units in just three months. Nintendo sold almost 20 million consoles in a ten-month timeframe. That’s beyond impressive, especially considering how the Wii U was a commercial failure (the Switch has already outsold its predecessor in less than a year). One of the greatest games to grace a console, and it still stands up today. Power? No. Innovation. According to VGChartz, the Switch finished second in sales in 2017, beating out the Xbox One but falling short of the PlayStation 4. Nintendo’s hit console did have a late start though, and if you take into account the Super Nintendo Classic sales, Nintendo is neck-and-neck with Sony for total global console sales. Granted, the SNES Classic doesn’t cost nearly as much as the PlayStation 4, but Nintendo is selling both units at a profit. Sony, at least initially, sold the PS4 at a loss, relying on software sales. This gives Nintendo more money to allow them to take more risks. The recently-announced Labo is a great example of this. According to recent reports, it’s actually a ton of fun. Nintendo is going back to their roots as a toy company, and let’s be frank here; Nintendo is getting people to buy cardboard for $80. That’s pretty impressive, and it’s roughly the same cost as the SNES Classic, if you want to put it in perspective. The Nintendo Switch is the Future Nintendo is showing that power doesn’t actually matter all that much. The Switch is outpacing the PS4 and the Wii’s sales at this juncture in its lifetime, which is astounding. Like the Wii before it, it’s showing that sheer power in a console doesn’t define innovation. Gaming is about fun. Labo is a concept that will be pure fun. The Nintendo Switch is bliss. Nintendo is destroying their competition right now because the Switch is both innovative and social in nature. Instead of having LAN parties you can have Switch parties. Seriously. No one else would even think to do this besides Nintendo, and their innovation drives the industry forward. We’re at point now where graphics don’t matter all that much. A game like Breath of the Wild with an exquisite art style looks much better than the photo-realism in Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s simply reality. Nintendo has done it again. They thrust the industry forward, forcing it to look at itself in the mirror and re-evaluate its path; which fork in the road will it take? The Nintendo Switch is the most intriguing, inquisitive console ever conceived. And it’s not that much more powerful than the Wii U. Its tremendous success proves that innovation, not sheer power, is the future of gaming.