The Rise of the "Nindies": Indie Games on the Nintendo Switch

By Michelle J. Brohier on Feb 28, 2018

There's no doubt that Nintendo is a force to be reckoned with. Always aiming to be different, their latest ventures with the Nintendo Switch has certainly proven that they're still a powerhouse in the gaming industry.

Currently the lifetime sale of the Switch is at 14.86 million as of this time of writing, a major achievement when the Wii U currently sits at 13.56 million since its release. The numbers for the Switch would have been higher had it not been for the product shortage in some countries, but overall, it's a success that Nintendo can proudly claim.

With the introduction of Labo, Nintendo is going all out in making the Switch a standout console against major competitors such as the Playstation and Xbox. But play boxes aren't the only way the Switch is standing out.

Enter Indie

Indie games have always had a following, but the only way to gain access to such games is through the PC (which is why many view PC as the superior gaming platform). But the Nintendo Switch has stepped up their game since their launch by adapting many Indie games unto their platform.

Owlboy, Fe, Night in the Woods, Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap and Forma.8 are some of the many Indie games you can get on the Switch. Other games such as Detention, Hollow Knight, AWAY: Journey To The Unexpected and more are set to come out this year.

It's not to say that other consoles have not adapted Indie games. Some of the games mentioned earlier is also available on other platforms such as the PS4 and Xbox One. Undertale, an incredibly popular Indie game in late 2015/early 2016, is now also available on the PS4.

Yet for some reason, the success rate for Indie games on the Switch is evident.

For Wonder Boy, the Switch version successfully outsold all the other platforms they were on combined: the Xbox One, PS4 and even PC. On the other hand, forma.8 did sell better on other platforms especially on the iOS, but in the end the game made more money on the Switch.

Why is this happening?

No doubt the initial reason for this is because of the ease of portability. The past consoles such as the WiiU and 3DS were that they had double screens, something that very few games could adapt into as it would require further effort.

For the Switch, Nintendo took a proactive approach in reaching out to Indie game developers and developing relationships through trade shows and even personal meetings. By creating a bridge with Indie game developers, porting to the Switch became an easy decision.

Yet even with the ease or portability, probably the most important factor is that the Nintendo Switch is still pretty new. This means that any game that is ported to the console at this stage will gain attention, as Switch users still have a limited amount of games they can play on the console.

The Switch isn't as overcrowded in app stores or on Steam, so the ability for the Indie games to stand out in the Switch is a lot higher compared to other platforms.

Where this will lead for the Switch

Is there room for Nindies when big name games come out?

There's always a risk that the console will get overcrowded eventually. As more and more games are being ported to the Switch, with big titles such as Pokemon and Mario (Nintendo staples) set to come out as well, it's still a mystery whether the rise of Nindies games will last throughout the Switch's future.

But on the plus side, Indie gaming developers gaining more attention and funds means that they may be able to develop bigger and better games in the future. Seeing obscure titles being made available on the Switch will help not only developers, but also introduce gamers to the possibilities that Indie gaming has to offer.

Michelle J. Brohier
About the Author
Casual gamer with a lot of thoughts and dance moves to share.
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