Decade in review: In 2017 Nintendo revolutionized how we game with the release of the Switch

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

When Nintendo revealed this insane new hybrid system that could function as a traditional console on TV as well as a handheld many people were wary of it. It released on March 3, 2017, and while I wanted it to be a success, I waited a few months to see how well it did instead of buying it near launch. You see, I'd bought the Wii U and while I liked a few games on the console, it had been a disappointing purchase overall given the lack of games it supported compared to its competitors.

After the flop of the Wii U Nintendo was smart in releasing a strong launch title with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It didn't take long for the reviews to start coming in about how awesome the game was. Still, it wasn't going to be worth it to me to purchase a $300 system if I could only play one good game on it. Since the Wii U had been such a flop and because the Switch was brand new, there were only a handful of Switch games at the time and most of them didn't look that good. I think a lot of developers were waiting to see how well the Switch did before they attempted to sell their work on the system.

I impatiently waited for months checking back at the electronics sections of any store or dropping into a Game Stop to take a look at the Switch titles available for purchase. It took a long time, but finally, the shelves for Nintendo games started to grow and that's when I decided to acquire the Nintendo Switch for myself. This console stands out from its competitors because instead of focusing on graphics and performance, the Switch focused in on a versatile gaming experience.

Game Changer

Nintendo Switch Mario Party

Nintendo Switch Mario Party (Image credit: iMore)

It was an absolute game-changer. I and many other Switch owners could play more in-depth games wherever we went instead of relying on simplified gaming entertainment from our smartphones. Nintendo still had the 3DS, but the Switch was better because it could play simplified handheld games as well as intensive console games. If I had to take care of something in another room I'd pull the Switch from the Dock and then continue to play in handheld mode. I played it during my lunch break at work, I played it while waiting for the bus. If I had to go on a trip, I'd take the Switch with me.

Shortly after I bought the Switch, my brother and I ended up taking a red-eye flight to go to a family reunion. He fell asleep for the first stretch and so I pulled out my Switch and started playing Breath of the Wild. He woke up about halfway through the trip so I showed off my hybrid console by pulling down my tray, popping out the Switch's kickstand, pulling off the Joy-Cons, handing one to him, and allowing us to play Snipperclips together for the rest of the flight. Needless to say, this was very impressive to him and helped the time go by a lot faster.

That night after things had died down at the reunion, I plugged my Switch into the TV and my family played Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe together. This easy transition from handheld to tabletop or even to docked mode was something we had never been able to do before with a previous gaming system and it truly makes the Switch one of the most versatile consoles ever created.

Important for the gaming community

Nintendo Switch console with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch console with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Image credit: iMore)

Since Nintendo's previous console hadn't done well, a number of people hadn't been exposed to Nintendo games within the flop's five-year run. The massive popularity of the Switch helped pull in a new generation of Nintendo lovers and helped long-time fans get back into their favorite nostalgic franchises. Additionally, in 2017 the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were both nearing the end of their lifespans when the Switch came out. With how popular the Nintendo Switch's innovative design was proving to be, both of these companies were forced to consider new portable designs for their next consoles. We'll have to wait and see whether or not they will be as popular as the Switch.

The Nintendo Switch continues to be a massive hit in 2019 being one of the most popular devices purchased for Black Friday weekend as well as one of the most in-demand gifts for Christmas. We love Nintendo for always trying out crazy new ideas and propelling the gaming industry forward in ways no other gaming company does. The Switch proved that you could bring your in-depth gaming experience with you wherever you go and not just simplified handheld games. It revolutionized the gaming industry and will have a massive impact on the future of gaming consoles.

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Decade in Review




Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.