In March, it will mark three years since the launch of the Nintendo Switch. Looking back at the hybrid’s near three years on the market, a lot has happened. Sales have been strong, and developers both large and small have consistently been showing relatively decent support. Things have been boding better for Nintendo compared to past generations, but how is it stacking up to the other platforms?
The data from a recent developer survey conducted at GDC 2020 paints a rather interesting picture.
The data is nested under three main questions:
1.) 17% of developers are bringing their current project to Switch (2019 had 12%)
2.) 19% of developers will release their next game on Switch (2019 had 22%)
3.) 37% of developers have an interest in creating a game for Switch (2019 had 45%)
Compared to last year, we can see that there is mostly a downward trend in every area except for current projects. It does make sense that the number of devs currently making a game for Switch is higher seeing that the year has changed, so pending projects from last year are now in development. While the number of devs expecting to release their next game on Switch has dropped, overall interest is still high, though less than last year.
But, how does this fare against the stats for the other consoles? Have a look:
The Switch is still trailing behind current platforms, even the Xbox One. It has a larger install base than the Xbox One, so this is a bit surprising, but considering the power difference, it’s fundamentally understandable.
Looking ahead, there are still more studios working on current-gen titles rather than next-gen. In 2021, the difference is bound to be in favor of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but for now, the current flagships are holding steady. As for Switch, it has more support than PS5 and Xbox Series X, but just a notch less than the PS4 and Xbox One. We’ll have to see how the numbers differ in the future.
This final chart shows the biggest divide between current and future systems. Developers are naturally more excited about building games for the next systems rather than the now very aged PS4 and Xbox One. The Switch, however, is right up there nearly matching the PS5 in terms of the interest rate. This shows that despite the new consoles being more powerful, developers are for now still keen to bring their games over to Switch if they can. Its install base is already sizeable and will only grow, so hopefully, this number doesn’t shift too dramatically in 2021.
Overall, this report paints a relatively decent picture for the prospects of the Switch. Developers look to still be ready to work with it throughout the foreseeable future, and support is still pretty active already. Some folks in the industry don’t believe that the launch of PS5 and Xbox Series X will have a huge effect on the sales of the Switch. If that actually does turn out to be the case, then developers may very well stick with the hybrid until its lifecycle comes to completion. At the rate the Switch is going, that should be until 2022 at the very least.