When one company comes up with a blockbuster product, competitors tend to bring similar products of their own to capture a piece of the market. That doesn’t appear to be the case in the handheld gaming console industry. Nintendo Switch has been a huge hit around the world. Even after more than seven months of launch, the console continues to fly off the shelves. However, Sony, one of Nintendo’s biggest competitors, does not want to launch a Nintendo Switch rival offering.
Will there be no big Nintendo Switch rival in the handheld console market?
One of the reasons the Switch became a worldwide phenomenon is that it’s a hybrid console. You can connect it to a TV and play in the living room, or you can play on the go. Sony’s gaming chief Andrew House told Bloomberg that Sony sees limited potential for handheld gaming consoles in the age of smartphones. The hybrid consoles don’t represent a “huge market opportunity” outside of Japan and Asia. House said Sony didn’t have any concrete plans to introduce a Nintendo Switch rival.
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Sony still sells the PlayStation Vita handheld console, which hasn’t been updated in years. Andrew House said the Vita failed to do well in international markets due to the rise of smartphones. The consumer shift towards the “dominance of smartphones as the single key device that is always with you” was the “determining factor” in the poor performance of the Vita.
Smartphones will dominate the handheld console market, says Sony
In short, Sony is betting that smartphones will become the primary handheld gaming devices for most people. That’s why Sony has started shifting its focus towards mobile games. Last year, it established a subsidiary called ForwardWorks to develop games for Android and iOS. Nintendo has also been investing heavily in mobile games. It has launched many mobile games such as Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem since last year.
House told Bloomberg that Sony was focused on delivering more products and services for the living room. It is putting its resources in virtual reality, TV shows and music, besides gaming. Its PlayStation consoles have been outselling Microsoft’s Xbox for years. Research firm NPD Group estimates that the Nintendo Switch outsold both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in August.
However, House said there was no sign of the Switch affecting Sony’s console or game sales. He concluded that the Switch has been “additive to the business” since its launch. Instead of launching a Nintendo Switch rival, Sony remains focused on a “highly connected gaming experience” as well as other entertainment experiences to reach multiple people in a household.
Gaming industry experts are still not sure whether the Switch will become a mainstream console. Before the Switch launch in March, Pokemon CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara told Nintendo that the console was destined to be a failure. Ishihara still believes the Switch is yet to prove that it can last. Many analysts estimate that the Switch sales would continue to grow in the US and other markets.
Still a huge gap between supply and demand
Consumers are still unable to get their hands on the Switch due to the lack of availability. The console is estimated to sell more than ten million units by the end of this year. Nintendo has announced that it was doubling the production capacity from 10 million to 20 million units per year to be able to meet the holiday season demand. Analysts have said that the Switch would be one of the hottest holiday gifts this year.
The Japanese company had sold 2.74 million Switch units in March, and 4.8 million by the end of June. The numbers could have been significantly higher had Nintendo been able to meet the consumer demand. Analysts believe Nintendo Switch will beat the lifetime sales of Wii U (13.5 million units) in just one year.
Despite having doubled the production, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said recently that the company might still not be able to fulfill the holiday demand. He said the consumer demand was “certainly” high, and Nintendo was on track to ship more than ten million units this year. Fils-Aime also described Nintendo as “an entertainment company” rather than just a console maker.
19 new titles hit the eShop
Meanwhile, Nintendo has added as many as 19 games to the eShop including FIFA 18, Arcade Archives Mario Bros, Golf Story, Tower of Babel, Sparkle 2, One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition, Earth Atlantis, Butcher, and more. The Arcade Archives Mario Bros is going to cost you $8. Mario Bros, originally introduced in 1983, is one of Nintendo’s earliest gaming titles.
Electronic Arts has radically revamped the FIFA formula with the FIFA 18. The game runs at 60 frames per second (fps) on Nintendo Switch, and the animations have matured. Gaming titles such as the Legend of Zelda have played a crucial role in the success of the console.