Nintendo has been on a hot streak for the past year — the Switch is amazing, cash is flowing, Mario got an amazing game, and all is right in the Mushroom Kingdom. So, you won’t be shocked to learn that Nintendo is very interested in keeping the good times rolling. This week saw a ton of Nintendo news about the Switch, plus a few other surprises. It’s all good news for Nintendo, and for the most part, it’s good for Nintendo fans too — except for one thing, depending on your outlook! Here’s what we learned from the gaming giant this week.
Last month, we learned that the Nintendo Switch had already sold 10 million units. With the Wii U only selling 13.5 million units throughout its just over four-year life span, we figured the Switch would blow past the older console in no time. That happened — the latest reports put sales numbers at 14.86 million, and it hasn’t even been a year since the Switch’s release. Nintendo has a long ways to go before the Switch takes the all-time video game console sales crown, but it’s certainly off to a promising start.
That wasn’t the only good sales news coming out of Nintendo. The SNES Classic mini console, preloaded with 21 16-bit games, has sold 4 million units so far, and unlike with the NES classic, Nintendo plans to keep on producing them.
No, no. Get Dennis Hopper out of your head, it’s not like that. Nintendo is moving forward with a proper feature length animated Mario movie, and it’s getting some big-time help to do it. They’ll be working with Illumination studios, probably best known as the creators of the Minions of the Despicable Me series. The crossover potential is strong — the Minions seem like they’d fit right in with goombas and koopa troopas! Whatever happens, it’ll be more faithful to Mario than the infamous live-action movie — Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto will be co-producing. There’s just one big question that’s on our minds at this point. Is Mario actually going to have more lines than “It’s-a me!” and “Mama mia!”?
Nintendo has had mixed success making smartphone apps — Super Mario Run was a measured success, while their first, the social app Miitomo, is now being shut down (Pokémon Go isn’t a Nintendo app, although they do make a bit of money from it). The company has also released mobile games for Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing, and we now know the next one will be Mario Kart. All Nintendo has said so far is that the game will arrive before March 2019, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for news about this one!
Last month, Nintendo announced Labo, a series of toys for the Switch that turned cardboard into working fishing rod and piano controllers. At the time, we thought the price was pretty steep for a bunch of cardboard and some simple games, but as usual, Nintendo had grander plans. Labo Toy-Con Garage will allow anyone to build their own cardboard (or whatever else) toys using whatever’s laying around the house, then use the Joy-Con controllers and the Switch to build things like guitars, steering wheels, or — well, just about anything. Nintendo is still planning on shipping out the Labo kits in April, and now that it’s become such an open-ended platform, the $70 to $80 cost isn’t looking so bad.
And, here’s what could be the bad news — later this year, online multiplayer on the Switch will cease to be free. In fairness, this was always going to be the case — Nintendo has been clear since the beginning about their plans to charge for an online service, offering online multiplayer for free until they could build out their full service. Well, we now know that service is coming in September, reportedly for $20 per year. Besides online multiplayer, the service is expected to include some access to older Nintendo games and a more robust chat experience, but Nintendo still hasn’t divulged all the details.