I haven’t looked at the reactions to the latest Nintendo Direct from fans, but I can imagine that a lot of people are dropping snarky comments about how the system gets so many older games. Nintendo’s video event sprinkled in a couple of new releases among a deluge of ports and remasters. The biggest of these is Dark Souls: Remastered, which is due out May 25 for Switch as well as PC and the other consoles. This will give fans a chance to play one of their old favorites, but it’s the people who never played a Dark Souls before that likely attracted Bandai Namco and other companies to the Switch.
It’s easy to get disappointed that Nintendo didn’t reveal a bunch of new games during this latest Direct, but I wouldn’t freak out and start worrying that Nintendo is running out of ideas. The Switch is not going to turn into a dumping ground for games that came out on the Xbox 360 or Wii U four or five years ago. The onslaught of ports is the inevitable side effect of the success of the Switch.
The hybrid handheld/home console is having a stellar first year. Nintendo revealed that it is the fastest-selling console ever in the United States, and I still think it is likely going to have a PlayStation 4-like trajectory over the next several years. But the key here — and this is big for every company working on Switch ports — is that Switch is growing the audience for gaming instead of just drawing attention away from PS4, Xbox One, or PC.
To use Bandai Namco as an example, this makes Dark Souls: Remastered on Switch a no-brainer. The publisher has this massive new addressable market that is spending money on games. If the portability and flexibility of the Switch is enabling some people to dive into hardcore games for the first time in years, then Dark Souls is probably still very new to those consumer.
And that does not even include folks like me who own Dark Souls but will actually stick with it and try to finish it when it’s on the Switch.
And if Switch owners keep buying games at a steady rate, you can expect that Bandai Namco and other companies will return with something new. But that will take time.