To bundle or not to bundle – that’s the question for Nintendo Switch. Not all of its consoles have come packaged with games out the box but there’s no denying that it’s a tactic which helps draw in users. Yet with the Switch, there’s been no discussion of such a proposition. Despite the market being ripe for it, it seems as though Nintendo may be overlooking the opportunity – and in turn may be selling their upcoming console short in the process.
In the past bundled games have proven to be hugely successful for Nintendo – delivering an opportunity for gamers to play a game out the box. It also serves to highlight the consoles best features and helps to give everyone who buys the game at least one offering that they can play around with. Tetris on the original GameBoy gave fun and replayable title that could be played with others. When the Wii needed a solid showcase, Wii Sports stepped into the breach and offered a fun experience. Even the 3DS came bundled in software that showed off the AR capabilities of the device. It’s a tactic that works and helps to push systems as worthwhile investments.
It makes me wonder though if Nintendo is missing a trick by not announcing 1-2-Switch as the Switch’s bundled in offering. It seems ideal for the position. Quirky enough that gamers can enjoy it on a casual level yet makes use of the Switch’s more advanced features that it trains users in their use. Features such as the impressive 3D rumble and motion controls are things we weren’t expecting to see and are features that could do with some kind of showcase on a wider scale. Bundling in a title tailored to doing this, while giving away a free game, would be the ideal solution to this.
I’m saying this because, in total honesty, 1-2-Switch doesn’t look like a full price game. No matter how much Nintendo wants to spin it otherwise, and no matter how much effort they put into the trailer, charging $60 for what is effectively a tech demo with mini games slapped on is a ludicrous. When people are rushing out to buy their console it’s very likely 1-2-Switch will be left as one of the big losers – because there’s almost no long-term content compared to some of the systems other features. Are you really going to pick 1-2-Switch over Breath of the Wild or Skyrim – games that offer a much more whole package?
Giving away full games isn’t a good business strategy, but when the main objective is to get people talking about your device – the best way to do this is to tailor the experience at the user end in a way that they’re almost guaranteed to have fun. There’s a novelty to the Nintendo Switch which means people will show it off to their friends and family, potentially selling the device to a wider audience.
Much like that moment you first grabbed a Wiimote and chucked a bowling ball down the lane in Wii Sports, the first time someone takes a JoyCon in their hand and uses it for gaming will be a huge “wow” moment. Because consoles are expensive though, most gamers simply buy one or two games at launch. Worse still they usually go for the biggest titles (as mentioned above) meaning innovative games get overlooked. It’s not the fault of gamers – they want the games they want and in the shadow of Breath of the Wild, it’s hard to not feel sorry for some of the smaller Nintendo Switch games.
Why not put that game in their hands? Why not let gamers make full use of the multiplayer potential of the Switch right out the gate. Let them take it to parties and friends houses, and let the console sell itself. It’s marketing 101 and it’s something that Nintendo could do with the positive buzz that such a setup would create. Wii Sports was monstrously successful in this regard. reaching over 90 million units in the wild. It’s a sign of how far the reach of these games are and how important they can be.
Of course there’s the argument against this. Nintendo has every right to charge for games – and it’s wrong to expect them to put free content out when they could make a buck off it. Nintendo wants the Switch to be as profitable as possible and given that they can (and are) selling the game for full price; it’s their prerogative.
At a time when Nintendo needs positive attention, giving away a game like 1-2-Switch might be the best way of showcasing their console to the wider masses. At the end of the day, the Switch will sell well among Nintendo fans – fans who know everything about the console and are excited. But to those who aren’t in the know, it’s never a bad idea to craft their initial experience and give them something to get excited about showing off. I think Nintendo should consider it, and help give Nintendo Switch the best start possible.