Nintendo Switch turns four years old

Can the Switch continue its record breaking success as it enters its fifth year on the market?


Matthew Walter '21

It is hard to believe that the Switch has been out for four whole years now.

After the abysmal failure that was the Wii U, Nintendo reset the home console market with the launch of the Nintendo Switch on March 3, 2017.

A home console that could also be used on the go, the Switch was unlike any video game console released before it (or after it, for that matter). Portability is a major selling point for the system.

Launched alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Switch got off to a hot start, and, more importantly, never cooled off. In 2019, two console revisions were released: a basic Switch with a longer battery life and the Switch Lite, a handheld only system.

The Nintendo Switch Lite (right) is a cheaper, handheld-only version of the console. (Andrew Cunningham)

Unlike its predecessor, the Switch found its way off shelves and into the home of consumers – almost 80 million consumers to be exact. This means that the Switch has already outsold the Xbox One, despite being on the market for only four years.

The Switch has been able to reach these heights in such a short span through two main selling points: an excellent first party lineup and the novelty of bringing Triple-A third party titles on the go.

In its four short years on the market, the Switch has featured amazing first party games like the aforementioned Breath of the WildSuper Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Maker 2, Pokemon Sword and Shield, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The Switch also has a large library of Wii U ports, including Mario Kart 8 DeluxeDonkey Kong Country: Tropical FreezeCaptain Toad: Treasure TrackerSuper Mario Bros. U DeluxePikmin 3 Deluxe, and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.

The Switch is also the only portable way to play third-party games like DOOM (2016), SkyrimRocket LeagueDark Souls, and The Witcher III, a game notorious for being technically demanding.

It is a minor miracle that a game as large as The Witcher III can run on a handheld like the Switch. (

Another proponent of the Switch’s success is the fact that it has been running unopposed for the past four years. When the Switch launched, the PS4 and Xbox One were near the end of their lifecycles. More new games were coming to Switch and less people were buying new PS4s or Xboxes.

However, this is no longer true. With the launch of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, the Switch is no longer the new kid on the block. For the first time, the Switch has competition.

If the Switch wants to continue its success, it will need to have a big 2021. Luckily, this year is shaping up to be a good one for Nintendo fans.

February 2021 saw the highly anticipated release of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury as well as the first Nintendo Direct in almost two years. The Direct promised that 2021 will have plenty in store.

The classic Mario Golf franchise makes its long-awaited return to home console with 2021’s Mario Golf Super Rush. (Nintendo)

During the Direct, Mario Golf Super Rush, the first home console entry into the Mario Golf series since the GameCube was announced. Other games included The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, a re-release of the 2011 Wii game and third party titles like Fall Guys, Outer Wilds, and Star Wars Hunters. It also announced Splatoon 3 for 2022.

This does not even include games confirmed to be in development like Bayonetta 3Metroid Prime 4, and Breath of the Wild 2.

One week later, a Pokémon Presents revealed several Pokémon games coming in 2021 and 2022. New Pokémon Snap, a sequel to the N64 classic will be coming to the Switch in April. The highly requested Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, remakes of the Generation 4 DS games, will also be coming in 2021.

Pokémon Legends Arceus is shaping up to be the Breath of the Wild of the Pokémon franchise. (

Finally, the Pokémon Presents unveiled Pokémon Legends Arceus, a prequel to the Generation 4 games and the franchise’s first foray into an open world. It will be released in 2022.

2021 will almost certainly be another big game for the Switch. Plenty of great games are releasing, and the PS5 and Xbox Series X have been plagued with availability issues and a general lack of games.

With people still cooped up at home during the pandemic, video games provide an escape from the drama, stress, and general horribleness of life in the 2020s. Nintendo’s obvious commitment to quality ensures that the Switch will be around to comfort us for years to come.

Animal Crossing New Horizons helped millions of people worldwide to cope with the lockdown. (Nintendo)