Bethesda’s support for the Nintendo Switch bodes well for the console’s future

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By Connor Evans and By Connor Evans

It’s no secret Nintendo has had a tough few years. The Wii U was a monumental failure, selling an abysmal 13 million units in its lifespan. A console plagued by a lack of power under the hood and support from developers alike, it should come as no surprise that the Wii U flopped. There just wasn’t much of an audience who was willing to buy a console to only play the catalogue of strong first party Nintendo games. Nintendo failed to bring support from outside developers, a failure they seem determined not to repeat.

The Nintendo Switch launched earlier this year, and it has hit the ground running. The lead up to the console was a bit of a rollercoaster though. At first, it seemed Nintendo had learned from all their past mistakes and was making the hybrid console the Wii U was destined to be. The promise of being able to take console quality games with you anywhere was the shot of adrenaline the tired Nintendo brand needed. All the pieces were there for a successful launch— a new Zelda game and a stellar new Mario on the horizon, as well as the hardware to back it up.

The one essential piece missing from the puzzle was the support of developers outside of Nintendo’s immediate ecosystem. There was timid support before the announcement from the likes of Capcom and EA with “Street Fighter II” and “FIFA 18” being promised before release. This hesitant response didn’t bode well because a lack of outside interest plays into itself-if developers are not all-in on the console from the jump, it is clear their games are destined to fail.

Let’s use “FIFA 18” as an example. EA decided to port the game to the Nintendo Switch alongside their console versions on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The prospect of playing a fully-featured version of the acclaimed soccer series on-the-go was appetizing to say the least. The issue appeared when it became apparent it was a shell of the console version that everyone else was getting. It released with poor reviews and critics panned its lack of features as the main point of disappointment. EA has since said that they will be taking a “wait and see” approach when it comes to releasing games on Nintendo’s console.

This is in stark comparison to the efforts of developer Bethesda, who has enjoyed the spoils of the Nintendo Switch. From the announcement of the Nintendo Switch, Bethesda promised to bring “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” to the console. Since then, they have doubled down on support, bringing last year’s surprisingly fantastic “DOOM” to the Switch in November as well as promising “Wolfenstein II” next year.

Bethesda’s dedication to putting games on the Switch has clearly paid off, as both Skyrim and DOOM have enjoyed new life on the console. At the time of writing, “Skyrim” sits at no. 2 on the most popular games list on the Nintendo E-shop, and “DOOM” sits at no. 5. Both aforementioned games were fully featured ports from their console brethren and have clearly sold like hot cakes.

It has been proven time and again Switch owners are always clamoring for things to play on the console. So this leads to a question: Why did “DOOM” and “Skyrim” sell so well and “FIFA 18” didn’t? Well, the answer is simple. People are willing to dish out money for a game on Switch as long as all the content is there. “DOOM” and “Skyrim” take graphical and framerate hits, but both come fully featured. You get essentially the same experience with the added bonus of portability. “FIFA 18,” on the other hand, can be played on other consoles with more to do and better graphics. The consumers have spoken loud and clear on what they are willing to dish out their hard earned cash for on the Switch.

Bethesda’s support of the Switch bodes exceedingly well for the console. Other developers have seen their success and are starting to follow suit. Rockstar games has recently ported “L.A. Noire” to the Switch which has also been met with solid reviews and sales numbers.

I have personally been enjoying both “Skyrim” and “DOOM” on the Switch, and let me just say, they are something to behold. The experience of sitting down on a plane, setting the Switch in tabletop mode, and mowing down demons is an experience I will never forget. This goodwill for Nintendo in allowing these kinds of experience is something I have heard time and again from friends and colleagues, which is exciting to say the least.

It’s nothing short of astonishing the year the Nintendo Switch has enjoyed. Between two of the best games of the year, “Super Mario Odyssey” and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” Switch owners have been met with a stable flow of third party support that just wasn’t present on the Wii U. If Nintendo can keep fostering these relationships with developers, it’s safe to assume that Nintendo will return to the video game powerhouse they once were, which should be exciting for any and all fans of the video game medium.