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Survey: Developers have high hopes for Nintendo Switch sales

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The game industry thinks Nintendo will avoid another Wii U disappointment

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Game developers believe that the Nintendo Switch will sell more consoles than its predecessor, the Wii U, according to the results of a survey issued by the Game Developers Conference. In the 2017 edition of the event organizers’ annual state of the industry report, developers said they were “cautiously optimistic” about how the Switch would perform once it hits shelves.

More than 4,500 game developers participated in the survey, which included questions about various current gaming trends. An entire section of the poll results is dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, with a majority of respondents reporting that they expect the Switch to sell much better than the Wii U.

Fifty percent of developers polled said that the Switch will outperform the Wii U, a console that’s struggled to move units since its 2012 launch. A similar majority — 48 percent — said that the console’s marquee “switch” feature, which allows players to both play it on the go and connect it to a TV set, would go over well with consumers.

While the polling body expressed optimism for the Switch’s prospects, only three percent said they were working on Switch titles. (For comparison, 27 percent of developers said they had PlayStation 4 games in the works.)

The number of polled developers working on Nintendo consoles has continued to dwindle. Last year, just five percent of survey respondents said they had Wii U projects in the pipeline; this year, only two percent do. Yet the drop in Wii U development should come as no surprise, now that the Switch is firmly on the horizon.

That could be because the Nintendo Switch remains a mystery to the vasty majority of the public. Nintendo will announce important details about the system during a live press conference tonight at 11 p.m. ET, including its release date, price and launch titles. The company did announce in the fall that big-name third-party studios already on board with the unique new system include Bethesda, Capcom and Electronic Arts, however.

Time will tell if the Switch truly makes a difference for both consumers and developers, many of whom found the Wii U disappointing or lackluster compared to the revolutionary Wii system.


An early look at the Nintendo Switch