After its early 2017 release, the Nintendo Switch has had a wildly successful life cycle. It’s one of Nintendo’s best-selling gaming systems, and indie titles have been noted to often come to the Switch for a sales bump. As the only portable console for years before the Steam Deck came along, the Nintendo Switch brought something unique to the table in the modern landscape, and even carried forward some of the Wii’s unique traits in its Joy-Cons. It’s been a stalwart system for almost 6 years, and is currently closing out 2022 with its second mainline Pokemon installment.

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The future of the Nintendo Switch looks bright, with games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s successor Tears of the Kingdom and Fire Emblem Engage coming in the near future. Pikmin 4 and possibly Metroid Prime 4 could make for an even stronger 2023 than this year. However, despite the promising first-party titles in the Switch’s future, the feeling that its glory days are behind it is creeping in. Its launch year remains one of the Switch’s strongest showings in terms of both sales and fan reception, and that may not change before the Switch takes its leave.

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2017 Remains The Peak of Nintendo Switch Releases

Mario and Cappy celebrating getting a moon in Super Mario Odyssey

The games that graced the Nintendo Switch in 2017 need no introduction. The big three, Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, have been selling throughout the Switch’s lifespan. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the highest-selling game on the system by a massive amount, prompting Nintendo to make the unprecedented move of announcing a DLC season for it years after launch. With a few other titles rounding out the year, such as Splatoon 2, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and 1-2 Switch, Nintendo’s newest console was a must-have system before it was out for a full year.

Challengers have emerged in subsequent years, but nothing has been able to top 2017. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Animal Crossing New Horizons stand with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Breath of the Wild as the four highest-selling games on the system, but each one was just the biggest release in otherwise weaker years. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came out at the end of 2018, and nothing else of its caliber came to Switch that year. Similarly, Animal Crossing launched around when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in North America, which severely weakened the rest of Nintendo’s 2020. The best the Switch’s other years could muster was Pokemon Sword and Shield, which came with a smattering of controversy.

Why The Switch May Be Out of Years to Top Itself

0_0001_The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Looking into the future, 2023 has the potential to be a return to power for the Switch, with several games looking to sell exceedingly well. However, even these confirmed Switch games aren’t enough. Pikmin and potentially Metroid Prime both represent lesser Nintendo series, and as Super Smash Bros. and Animal Crossing proved, a lone entry in a Zelda-tier franchise is not enough to elevate a year. Despite fans’ optimism, their best and brightest days for the Switch might be over.

That doesn’t mean any kind of tragedy will strike in 2023, however. In fact, it may be the opposite if the heavily-rumored Switch successor is revealed soon. With signs ranging from Nvidia leaking a successor to the Nintendo Switch’s current Tegra chip, to Tears of the Kingdom pushing back its launch date, it feels like the announcement of a Switch 2 or Switch Pro is just around the corner. The aforementioned 2023 games could all be cross-platform releases with this new system, making for another great console launch year, though not one ascribed to the Switch itself. Whether this comes to pass or not, Nintendo Switch owners have been spoiled for choice in terms of great first-party titles, and their selection will keep growing until the Nintendo Switch‘s era has passed.

MORE: Every Video Game Release Coming Soon For Nintendo Switch

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