Nintendo Switch OLED has left me feeling like a discarded "legacy" gamer

There's only one gamer that the new Nintendo Switch OLED is a good fit for, and it's new customers, not loyal Switch owners

Nintendo Switch OLED
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Back in May this year an astonishing fact emerged about the Nintendo Switch – it had sold a remarkable 84.59 million units since it launched back in March 2017.

Indeed, it had not only sold ridiculously well but sales showed no sign of stopping at that point, either, with commentators highlighting how it was set to pass the 100 million units sold mark before both the Wii and PS4 did, as well as soon surpass sales of many other famous consoles such as the Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable and PS3.

Simply put, the Nintendo Switch had sold like hot cakes, with Nintendo gamers the world over helping to drive its success with every new game, accessory and console purchase. I had been one of those gamers, too, and felt invested in the Nintendo Switch ecosystem, with both myself and my daughter enjoying gaming on the console.

I'd been buying games for the Switch since day one and couldn't help but feel, as a long-term Nintendo fan, happy that the BigN (who had been playing second fiddle to Microsoft and PlayStation for decades before) was now in the ascendency. The Switch was the best selling console on Earth, and had been month after month for years.

Fast forward a few months and all that good will and brand attachment I had has suddenly drained away, though. And the reason for that is the Nintendo Switch OLED, which has left me massively disappointed due to a mixture of missing features and, in my mind at least, a total lack of ambition.

The biggest killer of my continued attachment to Switch gaming is that, despite trying to kid myself that Nintendo has got my back with this new console and was thinking of gamers like me when it made it, is that it really hasn't and, in my opinion right now, it has basically completely ignored me and millions of other loyal gamers who have helped make the Switch the success it is today.

I feel like, to borrow that infamous phrase from the failed-before-it-launched European Super League, a "legacy fan" of the Switch and Nintendo, with the BigN completely ignoring me to chase a completely new customer.

After all, the Nintendo Switch OLED is, hype and hyperbole aside, the same console as the original Nintendo Switch but with a slightly better screen. It doesn't come with any other major improvements of note and, to a gamer who already has a Nintendo Switch, why on Earth would I spend $350 to buy basically the same system?

The truth is to any gamer who isn't King Midas rich, where money is inconsequential to them, they wouldn't, like I wouldn't. That's because the Nintendo Switch OLED hasn't been designed for existing (read, "legacy") Switch gamers like myself, it's been designed to be bought by new customers, people who don't already have a Nintendo Switch console.

Do I understand this from a business point of view? Yes, kinda. I live in the real world and understand that Nintendo wants to maximize its Switch success in terms of reach and money made, and it can do that best with new customers, not existing ones. Every additional console sold opens up the buyer to Nintendo's software business, which is where it makes a lot of its money, and it can sell the most games to new gamers, not gamers who have already bought a lot of them.

But as I live in the real world I can also see that Nintendo has largely ignored its existing Switch customers with this hardware release to make that happen and, at a time when the PS5 and Xbox Series X are offering gamers true next-gen gaming experiences, that has simply killed a lot of my engagement with the brand all of a sudden. I'm no longer looking forward to a next-gen, upgraded gaming experience when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 - now I'm accepting that I'm going to have to play that game on half a decade old hardware, and on a screen that doesn't deliver me the best visual experience, either.

And that is hardly something to enthuse and excite. And especially not when I'm being blown away on a monthly basis by awesome next-gen titles on other properly flagship consoles like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and can look forward to astonishing open world adventures like Horizon: Forbidden West, where I will be getting the best gaming experience possible when I do play it.

Here's hoping Nintendo goes on to prove me wrong and releases a Nintendo Switch Pro console next year, a system that delivers its millions of existing Switch owners a genuine reason to upgrade and a markedly improved overall gaming experience and package.

I want to be invested in the Switch ecosystem for the next 3-5 years, but I need a genuine reason to be so and, right now in my opinion, the Nintendo Switch OLED isn't it.

Robert Jones
Robert Jones

Deputy Editor for T3.com, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.