Console generations might be a staple of gaming’s history, but they also have no place in its future. Both Sony and Microsoft are actively trying to axe the idea from our brains, turning instead to mini-upgrades to their existing machines every other year or so, and this change in plans leaves us, once again, in the hands of Nintendo to carry on the tried and true torch we’ve been using for the last 40 years.
And if Nintendo has anything to say about it, this console generation is going to be an exceptionally long one. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kishima recently stated with Japanese business magazine Nikkei that it intends to keep the Nintendo Switch around much longer than the traditional 5-6 year period it often attains.
Instead, Nintendo plans to support the Switch for as many as 7 to even 10 years!
For comparison’s sake, Nintendo supported the GameCube from 2001-2006, the Wii from 2007-2012, and the Wii U from 2012-2017. Even the Nintendo 64 lasted from 1996-2001 and the Super Nintendo from 1990-1996. Nintendo consoles have traditionally been supported for that same 5-6 year period of time with only the original NES stretching its support for longer, lasting from 1983 in Japan all the way into 1994 or even 1995 in some cases!
As for the Nintendo handhelds though, they’ve generally stuck around for longer periods of time. The original Game Boy launched in 1989 and lasted well into the late 90s and even 2000s thanks to second and third waves from Link’s Awakening and Pokémon respectively. The Game Boy Advance also stuck around to just under a decade, being supported well after its successor launched, and the original Nintendo DS continued to see limited retail success despite its successor releasing to similar success.
If Nintendo is aiming for such an extended period of time for the Switch, mimicking the success of its handhelds is where it wants to be. Nintendo’s handhelds have always thrived on accessibility and a lower pricing point, not so much on the power behind it. The niche market Nintendo has created for itself, one with no competitors and no other comparable devices, looks to be ripe for quite some time.
As long as interest is there, Nintendo should have no trouble keeping its flagship product up and running for the next decade.