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.