Welcome once again to my weekly editor's desk where we discuss the big Nintendo news that has happened in the last seven days. We've got quite a bit to talk about starting with Pokémon Go's pandemic rollback, which angered fan, and what the latest Nintendo financial reports mean for the Switch. There was also some more lighthearted news as a favorite 3DS game comes to Apple Arcade, a long-awaited character finally joins a Mario game, and the internet came together to celebrate Mario's nemesis despite it not being the Koopa King's anniversary. Let's dive in.
Pokémon Go No
Last year due to the pandemic, Niantic made some changes to Pokémon Go that allowed people to play the game from the safety of their homes. This was a welcome change that gave several people stuck indoors something to do and also made the game more accessible to disabled players. However, this week Niantic made several of its fans angry.
Despite rising cases of the Delta variant, Niantic decided to rollback some of the pandemic changes. One of the most controversial changes centers around reducing the radius around Gyms and PokéStops in-game, making it so that players must get closer to physical landmarks and establishments in order to activate battles or gain rewards. As you can imagine, this also forces players to get closer to each other.
This decision is facing strong criticism and on Thursday, players called to boycott Pokémon Go using the hashtags #PokemonNoDay and #HearUsNiantic on Twitter. There's even a petition on Change.org that had 162,620 signatures when I last checked, demanding Niantic change the radius back. After so much attention, Niantic took notice.
I'm going to set aside my opinion here and share a concern from the community. Although Niantic touts its community as one of its biggest strengths, they haven't done as much as acknowledge us on this matter.
So, @NianticLabs, I ask you to hear us out. #HearUsNiantic pic.twitter.com/ABR11bG7A8I'm going to set aside my opinion here and share a concern from the community. Although Niantic touts its community as one of its biggest strengths, they haven't done as much as acknowledge us on this matter.
So, @NianticLabs, I ask you to hear us out. #HearUsNiantic pic.twitter.com/ABR11bG7A8— Leek Duck (@LeekDuck) August 5, 2021August 5, 2021
On Friday, Niantic responded to its upset fans, stating it was assembling an "internal cross-functional team" to look into concerns "raised regarding interaction distance" and that this "task force" would report its findings on Sept. 1. It remains to be seen if the company actually will do anything to appease its frustrated players or if this announcement is just to placate them and get the issue out of mind.
It's pretty obvious that these rollback changes should at least have been delayed when news of the Delta variant became more widespread. With the focus of the game being to get people outside and interacting with others, I can see why Niantic would want to scale back some of the pandemic changes when it could. However, with cases rising and a new variant making the rounds, this was not at all a good time to do so. Not to mention, making the game less accessible to players who really benefited from the changes feels inconsiderate. With so many Pokémon Go fans, Niantic really needs to prove it cares and take the steps to make its players feel safe, appreciated, and most of all heard.
The Pokémon Company says "gay rights"
As reported by Kotaku, a Twitter user reached out to TiMi Studio Group's Twitter account (the company behind Pokémon Unite) and asked the company to post support for gay rights. However, whoever was behind the official account decided to respond in a very disappointing way by saying, "why? rights of heterosexual players are equally important." This was followed by additional responses of an equally appalling level. A few hours later, the tweets were deleted, and Timi Studio Group issued an apology.
Not long after, The Pokémon Company released a statement:
It's good to see The Pokémon Company stepping in and make sure that other companies using their characters remain inclusive towards the LGTQIA+ community. But it's disgusting that this even happened. We'll have to wait and see if any further actions will be taken to deal with this situation.
Nintendo hardware sales are up
On Thursday, the latest Nintendo financial earnings report was released to the public. This data showed us that while the company's overall profits have gone down, its hardware sales are actually increasing. This really isn't that surprising given that last year's sales were a bit of a pandemic-induced fluke. People were looking for indoor entertainment since they couldn't go outside and then Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) took off in March, attracting people with its calm, happy gameplay. In fact, ACNH has accounted for 40% of Nintendo's software sales this year.
With this new data, we now know that the Nintendo Switch has sold over 89.04 million units, making it the seventh best-selling gaming console of all time right behind the Wii at 101.63 million and the original PlayStation at 102.49 million. At this rate, it seems very likely the Switch will go on to surpass the two consoles. One thing's for sure, while software sales aren't as high, Nintendo Switch is still selling very well and will continue to do so for the rest of the year. Switch sales numbers will get a considerable boost later this year when the new Switch OLED model releases this October. Preorders consistently sell out within minutes each time a store has units in stock.
|Best-selling consoles of all time||Units sold|
|1. PlayStation 2||155 Million|
|2. Nintendo DS family||154.02 Million|
|3. Game Boy & Game Boy Color||118.69 Million|
|4. PlayStation 4||116.4 Million|
|5. PlayStation||102.49 Million|
|6. Wii||101.63 Million|
|7. Nintendo Switch||89.04 Million|
|8. PlayStation 3||87.4 Million|
|9. Xbox 360||84 Million|
|10. Game Boy Advance family||81.51 Million|
Nintendo's financial report also lets us know which titles were the best-selling Nintendo Switch games over the last three months by listing every Switch game that sold over a million units this past quarter. Seven titles reached this mark. I've included this information below along with a list of the top 10 best-selling Switch games of all time to give some more context.
|Best Switch game sales this quarter||Units Sold|
|1. New Pokémon Snap||2.07 Million|
|2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||1.69 Million|
|3. Mario Golf: Super Rush||1.34 Million|
|4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons||1.26Million|
|5. Ring Fit Adventure||1.15 Million|
|6. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury||1.09 Million|
|7. Miitopia||1.04 Million|
|Best Switch game sales of all time||Units Sold|
|1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||37.08 Million|
|2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons||33.89 Million|
|3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||24.77 Million|
|4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||23.20 Million|
|5. Pokémon Sword/Shield||21.85 Million|
|6. Super Mario Odyssey||21.40 Million|
|7. Super Mario Party||15.72 Million|
|8. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!/Eevee!||13.57 Million|
|9. Splatoon 2||12.45 Million|
|10. Ring Fit Adventure||11.26 Million|
Nintendo's software sales may be down, but Nintendo games are still selling really well. New Pokémon Snap was the best-seller this quarter, having reached over 2.07 million units sold. But Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continues to hold the overall lead on other Nintendo games despite being a Wii U port. As such, Nintendo really has no need to release another Mario Kart game on Nintendo Switch until those sales die down. That's not likely to happen though. So, I doubt we'll be seeing Mario Kart 9 until the next-gen Nintendo console releases.
Toadette grabs a club
You probably recall that Mario Golf: Super Rush released for Nintendo Switch back on June 25 with a large cast of playable characters to choose from. At launch, many people noted that a particular pink Toad was missing from the lineup. This Thursday, Nintendo fixed that by announcing a free update that adds a few new features including Toadette. Here's everything included in the update:
- New Ranked Match mode
- New Donk City course
- Improved motion controls
The addition of Ranked Matches allows players with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to compete against other players around the world. Players receive scores based on how well they do each match and can see where they land on the World Rank. If you make it to Rank A- or higher, you'll unlock the ability to choose three additional Yoshi colors: blue, red, or yellow. There might even be some undiscovered incentives to score highly as well.
I'll admit I've set my virtual club down recently, but I'm going to have to jump in and see what awaits me in New Donk City. Plus, I've gotta work on unlocking that red Yoshi!
Monster Hunter on Apple Arcade
This week, Capcom's original Nintendo 3DS game, Monster Hunter Stories, made its way to Apple Arcade. It's a fun creature collection game that centers around you being a monster rider rather than a monster hunter. It was very popular on 3DS and then eventually came to mobile devices selling for $20. But if you're already subscribed to Apple Arcade you now have access to it.
I personally love this game and think Monster Hunter Stories does several things that Pokémon should have done by now. For instance, you can ride every single one of your Monsties around the overworld and some have abilities that allow them to climb vines or jump higher to reach new locations. The battle system follows a rock, paper, scissors format with each monster tending to attack with a certain style. I recently also did a Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin review when it released on Nintendo Switch and absolutely loved the sequel. It has become one of my personal all-time favorite Switch games. So if you get the chance, you really ought to check out both games.
We ❤ Bowser
Although it wasn't the Koopa King's anniversary this week, Twitter erupted in a shower of Bowser appreciation on Wednesday. We saw everything from Bowser clips from people's favorite games to fan art using the hashtag #BowserDay2021.
From what we've been able to figure, Bowser Day was started about nine years ago by Fur Affinity user Dragonnis. Now obviously this big Koopa deserves our praise, but why is 8/4 Bowser Day? It probably has something to do with the fact that Bowser's first-ever appearance in a video game took place on level 8-4 of Super Mario Bros.
I first fell in love with Bowser while playing Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars on SNES. In this adventure, the spikey villain joins Mario's team and is given far more attention than he gets in other Mario games out there. Plus, the teary face he makes when he's sad is so over the top it comes off as absolutely hilarious. What's your favorite memory, game, or general thing about Bowser?
That wraps up this week's Nintendo news. Now that we're in August we're drawing ever closer to some big fall releases. Tell me what your most anticipated games are in the comments below and have a great weekend!
Until next time.
- Rebecca Spear
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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.