The following article was originally produced, but actually went unpublished, for the site Nindie Nexus! What you’re about to see is the first draft sent back by the sites editors before we all decided to scrap the editorial. I can’t let my site go without an exclusive can I? They’ve had to move hosting sites, so all of my content will be uploaded on both my blog and their new site. They’re some of the most passionate players I know. Please go support them!
So you’re an indie developer who has a game on, or coming to the Nintendo Switch. You could have something that is a guaranteed hit, or you could have something you hope simply sells 50 copies. Nintendo recently announced the Switch Lite. A hardware revision of the Switch focusing entirely on the handheld aspect of the console. It’s got bright colors, and is cheaply priced. It all in all looks like a nice entry point into the Switch family. So what should you be thinking when September rolls around? I can’t tell you what to do, but I can give you an idea.
Nintendo is marketing the Lite as a households second Switch. It’s much more likely that a parent will buy their children a Switch proper, and a Lite than two Switch units. You’ll also see a lot of lower income families who can now afford a Switch hopping onto it. The Lite for all intents and purposes replaces the 3DS family. So within the first few months we’ll see a lot of people jumping aboard this fastly moving train.
I think that the best course of action for you as a developer during the launch of the Lite is producing word of mouth discussion. If you have fans ask them what they love about your game. If you are a start-up have your friends tell people about your game. Don’t be afraid to reach out to Nindie focused publications, like ourselves even. I also believe it is important for games to discount. Especially games above $15. A string you’ll want to pull is the impulse buy range. It varies from person to person, but is usually below $10.
Let’s say that your game is a Metroidvania with a GBA/DS inspired art-style. If you spread word of mouth and the game is on sale you could pick up a young adult who just thought that for $7 they couldn’t go wrong. That’s a sale you made, and a potential new fan. Exactly what you want isn’t it? There’s always a downside to these things. Indies have a stigma of being worth less than AAA games. Nintendo’s community has opened to indies the most out of any console. Yet if your game is on sale for super cheap in September, people may hold a stigma that it isn’t worth buying after the Lite comes out.
Of course that makes a lot of assumptions. There is no right way to look at a hardware revision from a developers perspective. I think that you should assess your game, if you think it would be a success, and if you would benefit from a sale. If you don’t want to put your game on sale, you never should. I personally think that everyone should look at the Lite with open arms. The Switch world is about to get a lot bigger.