Although the Nintendo Switch might be the best selling console of the past year or so, gamers weren't always convinced of its capabilities. In fact, it wasn't until a massive game like Skyrim was announced that people began to take the console more seriously. At the time, handheld games were held in a class of their own, and transcending the line between what can be played in your hands and what can be played on a television or PC monitor wasn't really something that consumers were buying into. At first, people really just saw the Switch as a gimmick, and a cheap way for Nintendo to try to catch up in the console sales race. Thanks to Skyrim, the Switch was able to prove all of the doubters wrong.
Of course, 2017's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first big open world game to come to the Switch, and it definitely did a great job of introducing gamers to the console's capabilities. It was a self-published Nintendo title, though, so some remained skeptical, assuming that Nintendo would go above and beyond to make their own incredible games stand out on the console, but wouldn't apply the same effort in adding large titles from other developers.
The King of RPGs
Skyrim, on the other hand, had built up quite the reputation amongst serious gamers on both console and PC. The announcement that the massive open-world fantasy RPG would be coming to the Switch certainly began to turn some heads. Bethesda's crown jewel of role-playing games, originally released in 2011, has been widely considered by many as one of the greatest and most immersive games of all time. Obviously, the news that this gigantic experience would soon be available in a handheld platform converted many of the nonbelievers, and Switch sales began to pick up steam. Skyrim was the first game to prove that non-Nintendo, AAA games had a home on the Switch, and set the tone for the console's future.
The Nintendo Switch's sales began to skyrocket during 2017's holiday season, which is the same time that Skyrim was released on the console. Granted, Mario Kart 8 was released in the same window, and video game console sales always seem to raise around the holidays, but Skyrim's release definitely played a large part in the Switch's rise in popularity. The console proved that there was a market for players who wanted to see handheld versions of their favorite games, and Nintendo began capitalizing on that market.
Paving The Way
Skyrim's handheld release ultimately set the stage for other AAA games to join the Switch catalogue. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is another massive open-world fantasy WRPG scheduled to release on the Switch this October. It's pretty easy to hypothesize that, without developers seeing that a game like Skyrim could run smoothly on the console, they would have never had the idea to create a port for The Witcher 3. One could also assume that other big name releases might have overlooked the console without a Skyrim release, such as Mortal Kombat 11, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Diablo 3, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. In a way, Skyrim on the Switch set the tone for the console, and really served as an example of just how revolutionary it could potentially be.
Without seeing Skyrim on the Switch, it is quite possible that the console would have seen much less success. Nintendo will always have its fans, but its last console, the Wii U, alienated serious gamers and discouraged other AAA developers from pursuing releases on the console. Not only has the Nintendo Switch drawn the attention of both serious gamers and other AAA developers, but it has also begun to completely redefine the capabilities of a handheld console, and has revealed just how excited fans can get over handheld versions of their favorite big name games.
Skyrim served as the Nintendo Switch's first real test, showing the world what the console was capable of, and we're certainly grateful for it. After all, who doesn't love another excuse to play Skyrim again?