Reload Your Mind

With Pokken Tournament DX, Nintendo makes good on its esports promise

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How the Nintendo Switch could be the next big thing for esports


Brett Luft

By Brett Luft


Remember when Nintendo first announced the Switch? They showcased its portability and ability to bring people together through gaming, but there’s one thing that continues to stand out to me: esports.

In that initial trailer, Nintendo showed professional gamers practicing on the road and finally entering an arena with their Switch in hand. It felt like a promise — a renewed focus on bringing esports to the mainstream.

But then the Switch came out and there wasn’t any esports worthy games. It released to a great amount of popularity, but it hasn’t yet convinced the niche markets that it’s a console with longevity.

But now that could be changing with the recent announcement of Pokken Tournament DX during the Pokemon Nintendo Direct. While people expected the big announcement to be a follow-up to Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, a bigger emphasis was placed on Pokken’s arrival to the Nintendo Switch.

While this isn’t necessarily the first example of Nintendo marketing the Switch to a niche audience — Splatoon 2 and Arms have sports-like features — it is the most serious attempt at brining competitive gaming to the Switch, and it should be prosperous to the company. That’s because Pokken has its roots as a truly competitive experience and it shouldn’t take a lot of work to transition Pokken — a game that’s already been developed — to the portable console, because Nintendo has already completed the task with other Wii U games.

But it’s a win-win situation for Nintendo and its audience because it puts more first-party games into the hands of Switch owners, and it gives a new incentive for hardcore gamers to pick up the console — especially if they skipped over the Wii U.

Many hardcore gamers didn’t buy into the Wii U because of a lack of third-party support and its lower power when compared to the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One. But the Switch offers something to hardcore gamers that other consoles can’t: the ability to refine one’s skills on the go.

The dream of traveling to a tournament and practicing your blocks or training in the hotel or airport the night before an event is that much closer to a reality. It’s something that Nintendo teased as a possibility, and now we’re seeing the promise being kept in a reality.

The announcement of Pokken Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch is a really great opportunity for esports professionals to pick up a Switch, but it’s an even better opportunity for Switch owners to pick up esports.

Pokken Tournament DX launches Sept. 22, but you can check out its announcement trailer below.