It turns out that “Ultra Street Fighter II,” a souped-up version of the 1991 classic for the new Nintendo Switch console, is a certifiable smash hit.
So far, game developer Capcom says “Ultra Street Fighter II” has sold 450,000 copies, reports IGN— despite lukewarm reviews, and the ongoing shortage of the Switch console itself. Now, Capcom says it's planning to release a flurry of new Switch games to meet this apparent demand.
From my perspective as a Nintendo Switch owner, the reason for the runaway success of this game is simple: Every video game ever made is better, or would be better, on the Nintendo Switch. All of them. Full stop.
Let me explain.
What Nintendo does for me
I own a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One, and a whole heap of games to play on them. Still, I don't get a lot of time to play games on the TV, and when I do, it's usually for a matter of minutes, not hours. Lately, I've played many more games on my iPhone or Nintendo 3DS than my fancy-pants TV consoles.
It means that critically acclaimed games like “The Witcher 3” and even the older “Skyrim” have all passed me by. They're probably both great, but I just haven't been able to commit the 40-plus hours in front of my TV that those games would demand from me for full enjoyment.
Back to Nintendo. In case you haven't heard, the Nintendo Switch has a simple, killer gimmick: It's a TV console, like an Xbox or PlayStation, but when you're on the go, you can pick it up right off its dock and keep on playing. It even lets you split one controller into two, for impromptu two-player action.
This has been a huge boon for me, personally. The Switch is a TV console, and a thing I can take with me. All of a sudden, I don't have to choose between playing a console game or something portable. Console games fit into my life, once again. And I suspect that I'm not alone in feeling this way.
So, yeah, of course “Ultra Street Fighter II” sold like crazy, despite being a mediocre version of a decades-old classic. And when “Skyrim,” which first released in 2011, comes out for the Switch later this year, it'll probably sell like crazy, too. The Switch itself makes any game more accessible, and more playable, by virtue of sheer flexibility. (Plus, this early in a console's life cycle, people are thirsty for any half-decent game, which also helps.)
Ultimately, I would urge every game developer out there to consider a Nintendo Switch version of any games they're working on, or even that they've already made. Superhero fighting game “Injustice 2,” for example, would be killer on the Switch.
And, look, I get that the Nintendo Switch isn't as powerful under the hood as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, graphically. Speaking personally, though, I would rather play a version of a great game at a lower resolution, or with slightly diminished special effects, than I would not play it at all.