Nintendo Switch, Wii Game Boy and DS game consoles


Nintendo’s new Switch video game console is shown at a presentation in Tokyo on January 13, 2017.

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The Nintendo Switch goes on sale today, March 3, priced at around $ 300 in North America and 29,980 yen in Japan. It is a hybrid system of game console, handheld device and tablet, which allows for different styles of play.

“I think the concept alone is a game-changer,” Serkan Toto, CEO of consulting firm Kantan Games, told CNBC. “The Switch is a clear reflection of Nintendo’s experience as a toy maker.”

The Switch will likely face stiff competition from Sony’s PlayStation 4, a top preference for hardcore gamers, and Microsoft’s Xbox. But some say Nintendo’s positioning in the market suggests the game maker may be after the more casual games market.

Aaron Yip, a Singapore-based reporter who has covered Nintendo for 20 years, told CNBC the company has always positioned itself as a fun business. “In the sense that games aren’t necessarily the prettiest, they might not always have the most powerful consoles, but where they stack up differently is the way you play,” a- he declared.

CNBC takes a look at some of Nintendo’s older consoles and handheld devices that influenced the gaming industry.

Nintendo Entertainment System

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Nintendo introduced a home video game console – Family Computer, or Famicom as it is sometimes called – locally in 1983 that used a custom processor and PPU (image processing unit).

Two years later, the company slightly improved the Famicon to suit the taste of the American public and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was born. It was launched in the United States in 1985, as the video game industry struggled to recover from a downturn.

PC Magazine appointed the NES the second greatest video game console of all time, calling it the system that “turned every kid into a gamer in the mid-1980s.” The NES has supported a variety of Nintendo-approved game titles, including Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda and Mega Man 2.


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Today, mobile gaming is mostly associated with smartphones, but handheld gaming devices have been around for a long time. One of the most recognizable names is Nintendo’s Game Boy consoles.

The original Game Boy was released in 1989, and by the end of last year Nintendo had sold 118.69 million units of hardware and an additional 81.51 million units of the Game Boy Advance. The 8-bit handheld console allowed users to swap game cartridges and allowed Tetris, originally a game developed by Soviet researchers, to gain popularity. Other iconic Nintendo games released for the Game Boy line include Mario and the Pokemon series.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the Game Boy was a revolutionary device that changed the industry,” Toto said. “There have been handheld gaming devices before, but this was the first to reach a mass market with casual and hardcore gamers.”

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 console and gamepad.

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The Nintendo 64 (N64) was released in 1996 and Nintendo billed it as “the world’s first true 64-bit home video game console”.

The cartridge game console could hook up four controllers for multiplayer games and in the same year Nintendo introduced Super Mario for the N64.

Two years earlier, Sony had launched the original PlayStation. But Nintendo’s overall success with N64, compared to its other popular devices, has been quite limited. As of December 31, the N64 had sold 32.93 million hardware units and 224.97 million software units.


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Nintendo released the home video game console on disc, GameCube, in 2001 and the year following the release of numerous titles for the device, including Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 4, Animal Crossing, Eternal Darkness, and Metroid Prime.

Yip told CNBC that despite the hit titles above, it lacks a variety of good games for the device. “It also couldn’t play other media like DVDs at the time, which the competing Sony PlayStation could do,” he said.

As of December 31, the GameCube had sold approximately 21.74 million units of hardware.


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While Nintendo’s positioning in the video game market may be slightly different from Sony’s, as Yip previously suggested, the launch of the Wii has changed that dramatically.

Released in 2006, the Wii revolutionized the home game console space with its iconic motion-sensitive remote control that pioneered motion-controlled video games. It expanded Nintendo’s audience base at a time when Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation were intensifying competition in the home gaming market.

IGN ranked the console as the 10th best video game console on its list of the best consoles on the market. A total of 101.63 million units of Wii hardware were sold last year, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS handheld game consoles are on display at an event in New York, the United States, Wednesday, January 19, 2011.

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The Nintendo 3DS followed the company’s popular Nintendo DS (dual-screen) portable video game system, first launched in 2004. The Nintendo DS offered touchscreen controls, wireless multiplayer, and backward compatibility. Game Boy Advance games.

The 3DS, launched in 2011, is capable of displaying three-dimensional effects. After initially experiencing poor sales due to its high retail price, Nintendo slashed prices and sales took off. CNET reported Nintendo slashed the price of the 3DS to $ 169.99 from the introductory price of $ 249.99.

At the end of 2016, Nintendo had sold 154.02 million units of hardware for the DS – its best-selling handheld to date – and 65.3 million units for the 3DS.

Wii U

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While the Wii was Nintendo’s best-selling home game console, the Wii U is the company’s biggest flop to date, according to Toto. It only sold 13.56 million units of equipment.

Introduced in 2012, the Wii U has positioned itself as a portable device offering a combination of games, entertainment and online connectivity. But users are not impressed and Nintendo later admitted he had failed to market the Wii U properly, neglecting to show what made it unique.

“The message was never clear,” Yip said. “A lot of consumers had no idea what the Wii U was doing. They didn’t understand that it was a newer console and that it was not an extension of the Wii.”

NES Classic

Nintendo took nostalgic gamers back in time with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Classic Edition in 2016.

A miniature replica of Nintendo’s original NES gaming system – released in 1985 – the NES Classic console came pre-loaded with 30 of the gaming giants’ most iconic games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda.

According to CNET, the console quickly sold out at most of the major retailers that stocked it.

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