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Nintendo Switch Will Do Well. If The Zelda Launch Does

In just a couple weeks, Nintendo will break their renewed vow of silence and start talking about the Switch again. Nintendo has announced that the show will be livestreamed live from Tokyo on January 13. The event, called the Nintendo Switch Presentation, will kick off at 8pm PT on Friday, January 13. Or 12pm Malaysia/Singapore time on Saturday, January 14th. You can watch it here through the official site.

Perhaps the biggest question about the Switch’s release is which games will be in its initial roster. Chief among those potential games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s hard to understate just how huge it would be for the Switch to have Zelda on day one. At the launch of the Wii around five million consoles were sold in the first few weeks. With 3 million copies of Twilight Princess bought alongside it. Coincidence? I think not. It’s an enormous attach rate for a game that isn’t bundled with a system. While obviously it probably wasn’t Zelda that turned the Wii into a monster global hit, it allowed the system to hit the ground running.

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No one, even Nintendo skeptics, would say that the Breath of the Wild is going to be anything other than good. Based not only on Nintendo’s track record but what’s been shown of the game so far. The Switch’s capabilities will allow for a more expansive Zelda title than ever before. Even if it’s a last-gen based title, its gorgeous art style will likely mask any potential graphical shortcomings.

A Switch launch paired with Breath of the Wild would be something that Nintendo’s competition really can’t match. Sony and Microsoft aren’t launching entirely new consoles, and the PS4 Pro doesn’t exactly have any huge exclusives. It doesn’t seem likely Microsoft is going to bust out Halo 6 when the Scorpio arrives this fall. Not that Halo is even the IP it used to be.

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What Nintendo has the potential to do here is the perfect marriage of a software and hardware launch. Something they’ve failed to get right with both the Wii U and 3DS previously. If they can manage to do this without delaying Zelda, it will show that they’re learning from their mistakes. Giving the much-needed confidence for the company and the console going forward.

It’s not all good news for the Switch, however, as releasing Breath of the Wild may mean that the system will not see another Zelda title in its lifecycle. And with rumors that Mario and Mario Kart games are coming to the Switch early. The system might front-load a lot of its major hits early. Leaving little to launch in the later years of the system. Which was part of the failure in the last years of the Wii U, where the system has largely been a software ghost town.

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It’s important that the Switch get off to a strong start, no matter what may happen down the line. The Wii U was a body blow for Nintendo and it has a lot riding on this merger of its console and handheld divisions. A repeating of the Wii U’s failures would be a disaster. There really is no better way to ensure this than with a strong launch of the Breath of the Wild on day one.

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