The presence of the Switch at EGX was overwhelming, proving support will only grow.
The Nintendo Switch has enjoyed a very successful first 6 months on the market. It has proved many of its naysayers wrong by smashing hardware sales predictions and racking up an impressive software attachment rate. That being said, there is still a question of how long Nintendo can maintain this momentum and whether they can attract enough third party developers to fill the gaps between their impressive first party productions. “Sales will drop off once the Xbox One X releases and supporting the Switch becomes technically more difficult” is something I’ve read a number of times this past week but, judging by the feeling and presence on the showfloor at EGX, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It first hit me when I was standing at the Team 17 booth watching someone play Yoku’s Island Express. It’s a visually sublime game, channelling the spirit of Rayman Origins in both game play and art style. It was being played on a big screen and I was really impressed so thought to myself “Cool. That’s definitely one for the PS4 then”. That’s when I realised the version I was watching was actually being played on the Switch.
I did a quick comparison with the PS4 version that was being played next to it and it was identical. Sure, this isn’t a game that’s going to be processor hungry but it’s a fast paced title and there wasn’t a dropped frame on either version. Correction: ALL 4 of the Demo units at EGX were running on the Switch!
Around the corner was Worms W.M.D. running seamlessly on a Switch. Across the walkway was Mantis Burn Racing running on the Switch which will release at the same price as the other versions but comes complete with all the DLC for free “as an apology for the delay”. A little further into the event was De Mambo being demoed on the Switch. Dead End Job was there (if in an unofficial capacity) being played on the Switch. Retro inspired Raging Justice (which was being demoed on an amazing cabinet) is now confirmed for the Switch. Unbox was also on show which is coming to the Switch. None of these games were actually part of Nintendo’s area within EGX. They were spread out among the many booths on the show floor.
“But they’re all Indie games”, I can hear your cogs churning out “they won’t sell the Switch.” And to some degree you’re right (the “do indie games sell consoles” is a debate for another day, mind) but a short walk to the Nintendo area you could find all the AAA bluster you could handle. FIFA. Skyrim. Pokkén Tournament DX. Super Mario Odyssey. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Super Meat Boy Forever. LEGO Worlds. Sonic Forces. Fire Emblem Warriors. The list goes on. These aren’t just the lite versions of third party games that the Wii U was receiving. These are full versions – even the definitive edition in some instances.
Gaming shows like Gamescom, EGX and E3 are good indicators of where the industry is headed over the next 12 months. At EGX, it felt for the first time that the Switch is a big part of that future. For the first time, developers felt ready and waiting for the “And what about a Switch version?” question and it often seemed like a Blue Peter “Here’s one I made earlier” moment as they pulled out a Switch and showed their game running on it. The third-party support for Nintendo’s hybrid was ever-present wherever you looked, more so than Xbox, to put it bluntly. At EGX, it was very clear than the Switch is not an “also ran” console. It’s fighting for the top spot with support from indies, third and first parties and from the fans and while the PS4 still had the largest presence across the entirety of the show, the Switch is certainly catching up.