Nintendo can look back on an extremely successful year. And be satisfied. The company was successful in almost all of its business areas in 2019. Above all, of course, with the current Japanese main console, the Nintendo Switch. At the end of the year, the hybrid box had around 45 million units sold and had even left the Xbox One released a few years earlier worldwide. Since September, the normal version of the console has also been joined by a smaller, lighter, purely handheld version of the Switch, which has been shortened by a few functions and changes hands for a few euros. Contrary to the rumors that kept coming up, in 2019 there was no Pro model of the Switch besides the Lite. Last year, thousands of new games were released for the Nintendo console, including countless indies, new editions and Co.Big N itself also published many major titles for the Switch, for example: Yoshi's Crafted World, Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Dragon Quest 11S: Champion of Destiny, Luigi's Mansion 3, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Daemon X Machina, Astral Chain and others. With The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition, one of the most popular role-playing games of the last few years was released for Switch in autumn 2019, which hardly anyone thought possible in advance.
A few games were also postponed and no longer appeared in 2019, although that was actually planned. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, for example, which will only be released on March 20, 2020. The most prominent shift of the past Nintendo year probably concerns Metroid Prime 4. The development of the new Samus Aran adventure was completely restarted at the retro studios in spring, all previous work on the game at another, unknown developer studio was discarded. Nintendo even felt compelled to publish a video announcing the restart and apologizing to the fans. It doesn't really happen that often in the world of video games. At the end of the year, the Switch officially went on sale in China with the help of its Chinese partner Tencent. Given the huge market in the country, this is an important step. Time Magazine also named the Switch one of the top 10 gadgets of the decade and called the Switch the most important video game console in the past decade. A knighthood at the end of the year, so to speak.
The 3DS finally made room for the Switch in 2019. Nintendo released two games last year for the 3D handheld that already came on the market in 2011, namely Mario & Luigi: Adventure Bowser + Bowser Jr.'s trip in January and Kirby and the extra magical thread in March. No more games for the 3DS are expected from Nintendo. With around 75 million units sold, the console will be at the end of 2019, a remarkable success given the bumpy start at the beginning of the decade! Since spring 2019, Big N has concentrated all of its (development) energy only on the switch.
Although not entirely. Because in the mobile segment, Nintendo again mixed in 2019 with new games. In July, Dr. Mario World for Android and iOS, followed by Mario Kart Tour in September. The latter game in particular caused a lot of criticism (not only with us), as the game relies on extremely high prices for in-game currency, lots of luck-based game elements and a monthly subscription for parts of the game content. This is in complete contrast to Nintendo's entry into the world of video games for smartphones and tablets, for example when a Super Mario Run stood out from the mass of mobile games through fair monetization and concentration on good game content. The financial success proves Nintendo right, because especially Mario Kart Tour was already very successful in 2019 and will continue to do so.
The presentations of the new Switch games in the form of the Nintendo Direct editions also accompanied us in 2019. The first presentation was already in February, at that time with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Maker 2, Astral Chain and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. A special Pokémon Direct followed at the end of February with the announcement of Pokémon Sword & Shield for the Switch. In May Nintendo then showed its own Direct to Super Mario Maker 2, in early June another Pokémon-Direct to Sword & Shield and on June 11th on the occasion of the E3 then of course a large E3-Direct with a lot of games. The last Direct was already in early September and was packed to the brim with a lot of switch games. Speaking of E3: Nintendo was of course represented there and at Gamescom last year with the program known from previous years.
Pokémon already delighted in May: master detective Pikachu on the big screen cinema-goers all over the world. The strip was generally very well received and also got positive ratings, He was also able to make a lot of money and quickly became one of the most successful video game films of all time. No wonder that a successor is already in the early planning phase.
So how did Nintendo end in 2019? With great success. If you only look back to the Wii-U times a few years ago, the company is hardly recognizable today. The switch is extremely successful, that can and must be said clearly. The 3DS ended successfully after starting difficulties in 2019 and saved Big N over some difficult years. The mobile business is booming, albeit at the expense of the quality of these games, and the promising digital business is continuing to grow. Nintendo is again on everyone's lips, a serious big player in the industry and: Nintendo has finally returned to its old strength in 2019.
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