When Nintendo first announced the Switch in October of 2016, many weren’t sure what to expect. Details were sparse, and the flagging sales of their previous console–the arguably half-baked Wii U–left doubt hanging heavy in the minds of even the most diehard Nintendo fans. But when the Switch finally arrived, it brought in tow such masterpieces as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey. Both games were heaped with flawless reviews, and in their wake, it was much less shocking to hear that the Switch had sold faster than any previous console in US history.
For how well it’s served them, Nintendo’s strategy has always been deceptively simple. Appeal to the franchise faithful with creative and well-crafted instant classics, while attracting a new crowd by presenting Nintendo offerings as a friendlier, simpler experience more suited to the “casual” gamer.
Traditionally, Nintendo’s blueprint for prosperity has also been its greatest weakness–because it depends on the success of a few big-name franchises to fuel sales, the company can suffer following a slow release season, or a poorly received major title. With the blockbuster launches of Zelda and Mario already behind them, concerns have arisen that Nintendo may have front-loaded their launch schedule. However, those worries are easily dispelled when considering three upcoming games that are all but guaranteed to be fantastic editions to the Switch’s library.
Mario Kart 9
It may be a while before a new Mario Kart arrives on the Switch, since Mario Kart 8 Deluxe just released this past April. Nonetheless, it’s a near certainty that the Switch will be graced with an exclusive Mario Kart. The series is among Nintendo’s top performers, and one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. Mario Kart is adored by fans of all ages; many think of it as Nintendo’s prime multiplayer title. Mario Kart 6, for instance, sold an incredible 37 million copies, becoming the sixth highest selling video game of all time.
Super Smash Bros. Switch
The Switch version of Smash Bros. could debut relatively soon, considering Nintendo shows no indication of remastering the franchise’s last title, which was released in 2014 for the 3DS and Wii U. With the Switch, Nintendo seems to be expanding its repertoire of original titles, and games like Splatoon and Arms boast a brand new talent pool for the character lineup of Nintendo’s iconic brawler. Nintendo also won’t have to waste efforts porting Super Smash Bros. across handheld and home consoles this time around.
Every new Pokemon release is almost guaranteed to be a sales juggernaut, but–aside from a few spinoffs–past releases of Nintendo’s famed creature catcher were relegated to handhelds exclusively. The Switch, however, is both portable system and home console, and Nintendo’s revelation that the eighth generation of Pokemon is being developed only for the Switch changes the game. A fully realized, graphically superior Pokemon could unite Nintendo’s console players and handheld faithful alike, and spur Switch sales like no title before it.
Honorable mentions include Metroid Prime 4, a title already confirmed by Nintendo, as well as the inevitable Donkey Kong, Kirby, and Star Fox releases we should expect down the line. But if anything at all is predictable from past Nintendo trends, the titles listed above are sure to achieve wild success and unprecedented sales.