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Indian game developers discuss whether Nintendo Switch could be a success in India

Game-changer or gimmick?
Indian game developers discuss whether Nintendo Switch could be a success in India

Nintendo consoles have had a historically patchy history with India.

The phenomenally successful Wii and DS Lite were brought to the country back in September 2008 by Samurai India, the same company that introduced Nintendo to the Indian market in 1987.

More recently, some local retailers and distributors have made the 3DS and Wii U accessible to Indian gamers, despite them not being launched in the country officially.

And indeed, this lack of official Nintendo presence didn't prevent the Game Boy line of handhelds finding a relatively sizeable Indian audience.

As such, with Nintendo unveiling its console/handheld hybrid Nintendo Switch, we ask our Indian Mavens:

  • What do you think about the Nintendo Switch?
  • Is there sufficient market for such a device in India?
Chirag Chopra

Chirag Chopra

Founder at Lucid Labs

I feel like it’s a great concept. Finally Nintendo has dome something amazing and I think the whole idea of combining a portable system and a home console is brilliant.

I don’t own a Wii U but I a have a 2DS and boy, I can’t live without it. And the whole idea of playing my favourite games like Zelda and Pokemon on big screens and on a bus sounds fun to me.

Nintendo is back in the game, baby!

But I am still a little sceptical about a few points. For starters, will it be backwards compatible?

In the video they’ve shown the use of cartridges so I think maybe 3DS games will work on it. And if they do, you have a good library waiting for you to try it out on the big screen.

Could 3DS games be compatible?
Could 3DS games be compatible?

And then, will it support 1080p resolution on both screens? Because the only thing I hate about my 2DS right now is the low resolution and it definitely needs an upgrade.

And probably the most important point: third-party support, which seems pretty good as per Nintendo’s official reveal.

I don’t mind playing Pokemon, Zelda and Mario on my Nintendo console, but third-party games like Skyrim and The Witcher (being very optimistic here) on a console like Switch can do wonders.

“Nintendo needs to come to India officially. Why don’t they care about the market here?”
Chirag Chopra

Since it’s Nintendo and based on rumours, it seems the graphical abilities aren’t very good compared to PS4 Pro or Xbox Scorpio.

Nintendo favours gameplay over graphics, but still, it should at least try and match PS4’s graphical goodness.

Talking about India, Nintendo needs to come here officially. I mean, I don’t see why they don’t care about the market here?

I understand people prefer PS4 and Xbox One, but that doesn’t justify not having an official presence in the country. I have a lot of friends who own a Wii U along with PS4 or a high-end gaming PC.

I don’t think it can't co-exist with other consoles and I believe it’s the perfect console for family reunions, parties and couch multiplayer.

And games like Zelda, Splatoon and Mario Kart will make you buy a Nintendo console. So yes, there is a sufficient market in India for Switch, now the only thing they have to do is launch here officially.

Abhinav Sarangi

Abhinav Sarangi

Co-Founder at All in a Days Play

I agree with Chirag. Nintendo is back in the game.

Nintendo Switch seems like it will bring a substantially new experience to gamers and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I am particularly excited about the different variations in how the Switch was shown being used in the video and cannot wait to see how game designers make games which use this.

Also, I like that Nintendo announced support from most of the leading game developers for Switch.

The lack of third-party games on Wii U was a big reason for its failure and it is good to see Nintendo try to address this with Switch.

With regards to the market in India, a lot will depend on the price point.

Traditionally, consoles have been expensive in India as compared to US/Japan/Europe, which lowers their attractiveness when compared to gaming on PC or mobile phones.

Also Switch will face competition from PS4, Xbox One and their newer variants and the ecosystem that has been built up for these.

If they launch in India at an aggressive price point, I can see it taking a share of market from other consoles, else it will remain a niche product.

Hrishi Oberoi

Hrishi Oberoi

Founder at Photon Tadpole

Wow! A console game system question for India! Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about the Switch.

Being a lifelong Nintendo fanboy myself, and owning all the Nintendo systems released to date, I am quite sure I’d be picking up this system regardless of the hook or innovation behind it and no matter where it would be officially launching.

Moreover, being able to have my console experiences on the fly has been a fantasy of mine for quite some time. I even bought a Nvidia Shield to experience that (although that did not turn out as expected).


Having said that, in my opinion, the prospects of the system seem to be precarious at best.

Launching a graphically sub-par system, midway in the console cycle, when other third-party publishers have already launched a few titles each on the current-gen consoles, feels like a similar situation to the Wii U and the Gamecube.

Nintendo will do their best to support the system with great titles, but third-parties will struggle and initially get older titles on board just to support the system and test the waters, and later will struggle if the graphical prowess is not upto speed.

From an Indian standpoint though, Nintendo has never looked to do business directly in India, and with good reason.

“Mobile gamers in India are between 300 and 500 million. The number of current-gen consoles sold is barely 100,000.”
Hrishi Oberoi

India has generally never been a console strong market, specifically because of the high price points of the consoles compared to people’s spending power.

The number of mobile gamers in India are between 300 million and 500 million whereas the number of current generation consoles sold in India barely reached 100,000.

Although the popularity of Pokemon in India could make a slight counterpoint, none of the other Nintendo core franchises are known beyond the niche pop-culture sub-cultures within the Indian diaspora.

And unlike Sony and Microsoft, who already have established local offices here thanks to their other business that they have in India (and have both scaled down gaming operations in the recent years), Nintendo will have to do a lot more to establish their official presence rather than tagging along with an existing local branch office.

No, personal feelings aside, there isn’t a sufficient market in India for Nintendo to warrant a substantial effort here.

Although pockets of niche die-hard fans will continue to import their consoles and buy grey market imported games.

Vaibhav Chavan

Vaibhav Chavan

CEO and Founder at underDOGS Gaming Studio

I think Nintendo as always has chosen a path which no one tries.

Unlike Sony and Microsoft's attempt to bring in highest resolutions right in your living room, Nintendo is trying to explore every single possibility of tapping the gamers who believe there's gaming option anywhere and everywhere.

I am personally loving the fact that Nintendo is trying this and has even nailed it (for now) with the Switch.

Too early to even comment on the success rate of the console as there are lot of unanswered questions which Chirag and Hrishi already pointed out, but I think Nintendo is getting it right this time, unlike with the Wii U.

The trailer showcasing various modes in which you can play the games, as well as the quality showcased somewhere, feels like it's not a machine made to replace your PlayStation and Xbox.

But it can still be a success alongside which will always let you play when you can't carry those huge machines out.

I personally don't think there is a huge market for Switch in India as of now, although there do exist few die-hard fans here.

But the scenario can at least be challenged by having an official presence here. A start would be to bring systems at affordable pricing points.

Ankush Madad

Ankush Madad

Co-Founder and Creative Head at Dropout Games

A Nintendo console that's also a portable handheld gaming device with amazing third-party content on top of Nintendo exclusives! What more can a Nintendo fan ask for?

I read that many PS4 devs are reportedly porting their games to Switch with ease and that the Switch can be compared to PS4 and Xbox One in terms of power and capability. That definitely sounds amazing.

“It might be the first home console I buy after more than a decade of PC and handheld gaming.”
Ankush Madad

I'm patiently waiting for more information and revelations. I do have a positive feeling about it and feel that it can very well be the first home console I buy after more than a decade of PC and handheld gaming.

Its size is perfect for it to be a 7-9" tablet replacement, but lack of multitasking, steaming and other media options will affect its sales with the seven to nine inch tablet owning community, be it in India or elsewhere.

These features would've helped with the non-Nintendo community as well as the tablet gaming community.

It could've been a great option for people looking to "switch" but I don't think these features will be available.

As for India, the library of current Nintendo games available on Amazon India is extremely small and heavily priced for an average Indian gamer.

Most third-party games for Wii U cost twice as much (more in some cases) as their PS4 and Xbox One counterparts.

Even the Nintendo exclusives are out of reach for most hardcore Nintendo fans.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, for example, costs $30 on Amazon US and the same game costs 12,800 Rs (roughly $192) on Amazon India - probably because the game isn't available here and is imported from the US.

All this shows that Nintendo cares little about India and hasn't had any special plans for the country in the past.

I don't suppose that's about to change, taking into account the lacklustre sales performance of other current-gen consoles in the country.

This is a clear indicator of the fact that India isn't a console gaming market and Nintendo would best invest their time and money elsewhere.