In 2006, Nintendo introduced the world to the Wii and motion gaming with its pack-in title Wii Sports. The Japanese gaming giant caught lightning in a bottle, as Wii Sports’ accessible gaming experience was largely responsible for driving the Wii console to more than 101 million units sold (in March, Nintendo Switch overtook the Wii as Nintendo’s best-selling console ever). Wii Sports became a phenomenon unto itself, as even nursing homes adopted the Wii to engage and keep senior citizens active. Now, over 15 years later, Nintendo is trying to recapture that magic with Nintendo Switch Sports.
The game includes modes for tennis, bowling, chambira, soccer, badminton, and volleyball. Nintendo will be providing a free update to add golf later this fall. The reception thus far has been largely positive, as a number of critics are reliving the fun of motion gaming or introducing the concept to an entire generation that never got the chance to play Wii Sports all those years ago.
As Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan remarked, “My daughter is of the age where she completely missed the Wii, so when this new game arrived and we started moving the furniture around, she didn’t have a clue what we were up to. But that afternoon we must have played together for hours, with breaks for when a diving header animation made her laugh so much she needed her breath back. The whole thing was intoxicating.”
The reintroduction of motion gaming has also brought back another unfortunate trend: people accidentally throwing controllers at their television sets. There’s been a recent surge in people flinging their Switch Joy-Con controllers at their screens much as they did with their Wii Remotes back in 2006. The problem was serious enough back in the Wii Sports era that Nintendo actually had to reissue thicker straps for free to Wii owners. For Nintendo Switch Sports, the company is once again urging its audience to make sure to use the straps provided with the Joy-Cons.
Nintendo has always thrived as a company because of its family-friendly image and content. The strong portfolio of IP and dedication to local multiplayer with games like Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and others have made the Switch one of gaming’s greatest success stories. Nintendo Switch Sports is another great multiplayer option, which ties in nicely with the fact that Switch households tend to have several gamers living under one roof, whether adults or kids. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, while multi-gamer households account for 44% among the general US population, that figure jumps up to 73% among the Switch audience. Moreover, Switch owners report playing more than four hours each week with their children.
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