Nintendo Switch Online Could Have More Exclusives Like Tetris 99
In a Q&A with investors, Nintendo said that they needed to keep adding "elements" like the successful Tetris 99 exclusive game.
There may not have been a better pleasant surprise than the suddenly-announced Tetris 99, a multiplayer game exclusive to the Nintendo Switch Online service. Turning the familiar Tetris formula into an absurd yet addicting battle royale extravaganza proved successful, and for many, justified their subscription to a so-so service. According to a Q&A with investors, Nintendo intends to feature more exclusive content in that ilk.
This Q&A was regarding the fiscal year ending in March 2019 and has an official translation from Nintendo. In it, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa fielded a number of questions about the company’s business strategies, one such question asking about the 9.8 million Nintendo Switch Online members. Furukawa explained his thoughts on the growth of the service:
“We recognize that the number of accounts that have subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online is increasing steadily corresponding to the pace that the hardware install base is growing. Naturally, not everyone remains a member, and there are cases where users joined during the holiday season and then canceled after three months. There are also new members who joined after Tetris 99 was released in February as an exclusive game for Nintendo Switch Online members, and others who have remained members because of Tetris 99. To expand Nintendo Switch Online even further, we need to continue offering elements like this, that highlight the distinct value of Nintendo Switch Online.”
People may come and go when games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reach their peak, but Tetris 99 has been more than a good enough reason to stay on. But the company strategy can’t fall on just one game, so the intriguing phrasing from Furukawa here is “we need to continue offering elements like this.” While this can mean a number of things, one would hope that new exclusive games are a part of that.
Looking at other competing online subscription services, there aren’t too many different elements that Nintendo could incorporate—the lower price for the Switch online service might not be enough to justify free full games like with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and Nintendo would likely consider their offering of free NES games, a library that expands every month, to be enough. In fact, those NES games appear to be another element bringing fans back into the service, according to Furukawa:
Tetris 99 has helped maintain Nintendo Switch engagement, as well as increase the number of new members joining Nintendo Switch Online. And when we add new titles to Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, one of the services available to Nintendo Switch Online members, we see consumers returning to play on Nintendo Switch.
So perhaps free games are indeed the way to go. While Nintendo would probably try to come up with more original ideas, I’d certainly love to continue the “99” theme. Dr. Mario 99, anyone? Maybe a WarioWare battle royale? Time will only tell, but perhaps Nintendo has a few more surprises to drop on us during their E3 2019 showings.