The console wars! A yearly punch-up of massive tech companies that we all sit around and watch. It’s fun, and while this might not be the fairest of year to do this, seeing as how we are at the tail end of two of the biggest console’s lives, we still think there was a clear stand out in 2019.
Best Console of the Year: Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo was perfectly poised to have a bumper year, and it really did. While the primary focus of Sony and Microsoft seems to be on what comes next when their new hardware drops next year, Nintendo is firmly invested in the here and now. This gave the company a year to capitalize on the fact that their console generation is not coming to a close, and instead, they actually released new hardware in the form of the Switch Lite.
The Switch Lite is a focused version of the Switch, aimed exclusively at people who are interested in the mobile nature of the device. It can’t use a Dock, which projects the image to your TV, and the Joy-Cons are attached to the body of the device, while also having a slightly smaller size and profile for people on the go.
While you may be wondering how much of a market actually exists for the product, the Switch Lite sold 1.95 million units in the first 10 days, outselling the original Switch by about 400,000 units. The Switch managed to hold its own for sales toward the latter part of the year, too, matching the sales rate of the PlayStation 4.
On top of that, the Switch also had a tremendous year for titles, and it largely left its competitors in the dust when it came to quality releases. Luigi’s Mansion 3, Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Astral Chain, Cadence of Hyrule, Link’s Awakening, and Pokemon Sword and Shield are just a handful of the amazing titles that made their way to the Switch this year.
Microsoft largely avoided exclusives this year and would seem to be planning to continue to do so. While we think this is a great tactic, as it plans on capitalizing on its easy access to the PC market, it still lacked any real major titles of their own this year. Sony, normally a strong option for major exclusives, also lacked much real punch this year.
The last thing that Nintendo managed to pull off this year was showing that the Switch could handle bigger, more demanding games that people may have thought it could. With the release of The Witcher 3 on the console, it let all developers know that no game out there would be too big for the tiny device to handle.
While Sony and Microsoft will both be coming to market with some impressive new hardware next year, a slew of new titles, and all kinds of new services, this year definitely belonged to the Nintendo Switch.
For more of our Year in Review 2019 series, head to our hub page.