When Nintendo Switch Sports was first announced at the February 2022 Nintendo Direct earlier this year, I found myself not terribly excited. Wii Sports had its moment, and the subsequent sequels and imitations from other developers crowded the market. However, after the online play test held later in February, I found myself much more enthused. With the Switch install base being so high, and the small taste of Switch Sports leaving many ready to pick up the game on release, I began to wonder. Will Nintendo Switch Sports be able to recreate the magic and success of the original Wii Sports?
When Wii Sports launched back in 2006 as a pack-in game for the Wii, it quickly became a phenomenon. Due to its accessibility, simplicity, the appeal of the Miis, and that classic Nintendo fun factor, it has become one of the best-selling video games of all-time, and Nintendo’s highest selling game. Years later, after a couple of sequels and a slew of copy cat games made by competitors, the motion control craze has come and gone. Now, with the Nintendo Switch having been out for five years, Nintendo is releasing a re-branded sequel to this classic series in the form of Nintendo Switch Sports.
It’s hard to imagine that Nintendo Switch Sports, or really any new game, can achieve the success of Wii Sports. Wii Sports had the advantage of being a pack-in game, meaning anytime someone bought a Wii, they also bought Wii Sports. Nintendo Switch Sports doesn’t have that advantage. Wii Sports ushered in a new era, because it was new and innovative. Simple sports titles existed before, but combining that concept with motion controls made the game go mainstream. It was new, easy, and fun. Switch Sports may recreate the easy and fun aspects, but it isn’t new or innovative. The impact of Miis can also be attributed to the success of Wii Sports, and while Miis still exist and are possible to use in Switch Sports, they are no longer new or exciting, and aren’t featured heavily in the game anyway. Wii Sports was the right game at the right time. It showcased accessible hardware. That situation contributed to its success. Many of those elements are not in play for Nintendo Switch Sports.
Despite all of that, the Nintendo Switch has now outsold the Wii. Many casual gamers brought into the Switch ecosystem with Animal Crossing: New Horizons may be looking for a new game. As in-person events return in full force in many places, Switch Sports may be situated at just the right time for parties and get-togethers. The online capability of Switch Sports allows for people to match up regardless of whether their friends are far or near. People who were young when Wii Sports released are now adults. They may be drawn to the title by nostalgia and a drive to relive childhood memories. All of these ingredients may cause Nintendo Switch Sports to be a breakout success, and possibly even have as much of an impact as the original Wii Sports.
I personally believe that Nintendo Switch Sports will be a successful game, but not quite reach the levels of cultural saturation that Wii Sports did. While I’m looking forward to bowling with my family, and tennis with friends and strangers alike, I can’t imagine Nintendo Switch Sports will have the same impact as its original predecessor.
What about you? Do you think Nintendo Switch Sports will be able to reach similar sales numbers, or have as big of an impact as Wii Sports? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on the Boss Rush Discord.
IMAGE SOURCE: Nintendo