By David Webster
Technology & Innovation Writer
After months of anticipation, Nintendo has finally unveiled the latest iteration of their gaming console: Nintendo Switch. And while the release has appeared to please the palates of the gaming community, it seems to be leaving investors with soured stomachs.
Immediately following the big release, which came in the form of a YouTube promo, Nintendo stock slumped over 6% in afternoon trading. This drop would wipe out the small, hopeful spike the Japan-based company had prior to the unveiling. Apparently, investors were underwhelmed by the console, which boasts a new portable component.
Critics in the investment community may be concerned with the console’s stickiness. That is, Nintendo is doing something innovative, but it may just be something that looks good on a screen. Right now, the gaming community is excited. But will the buzz stick with them long enough to lead to a purchase? According to the stock price, investors would currently answer this with a “no.”
It is important to note, though, that investors are not gamers. The problem may simply be that they don’t get the Switch yet. In fact, the investing community has a less-than-stellar track record of making well-informed decisions in the gaming space. For proof, look at the release of Pokemon GO. When it was clear that the mobile-game was a hit, Nintendo stock jumped to a year-long high. But, there was a problem: Nintendo didn’t even own the game, a realization that left many investors face-in-palm. As a result, investing in this stock was like tossing a brick; it came back down even quicker than it went up.
So, while a negative sentiment lingers in the investment community, it shouldn’t hold much weight. In general, the new features of the Nintendo Switch were met with excitement. The primary selling point of the next-gen console is that it hopes to erase the sedentary lifestyle commonly equated with gaming. The video description reads, “In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.”
The flagship commercial follows a mid-20’s gamer as he dips and dodges through a busy, social lifestyle–all without putting down his Switch. It yells loud and clear that videogames can be active; a mantra that echoes the aura of the Nintendo Wii. While the Wii left gamers jumping and wailing around their living rooms, the Switch hopes to take this a step further to create a fully boundless gaming experience.
Nintendo has a history of being the oddball. Historically, Playstation and Xbox have viciously faced off while Nintendo has remained seemingly aloof and independent. While the competition is inherent, Nintendo’s consoles seem to boast a peculiar ability to coexist with the others. The Wii, for example, was often purchased alongside either the Xbox or the Playstation. This quality comes from the software giant’s effort to bring more to the arena than just video games. Nintendo wants to create an experience, and their latest release clearly reinforces their intentions. In order to see if it pays off this time, investors and gamers alike will simply have to wait.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 25th print edition.
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