The Switch console has been a lifesaver for Nintendo (NTDOY 0.05%). After the flop of the Wii U, which launched in 2012 and was supposed to be the big follow-up to the hit Wii console, the company needed a spark to get its mojo back. The Switch has done that and more. It has been the No. 1 selling console for 24 consecutive months, even beating out new consoles from Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation in November of last year.
However, with almost 71 million consoles in customers' hands, now comes an expectation for a continuous output of new games. Here are some Nintendo titles set to be released in 2021.
New Pokemon Snap
Announced on Jan. 13 and set for release on April 30, New Pokemon Snap is a unique game produced by Nintendo and the Pokemon Company (which Nintendo owns a 33% stake in). It is a sequel to the original Pokemon Snap game that was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. The objective of the game is to explore the Lental Region (a made-up area in the world of Pokemon) and search and photograph various creatures. It sounds trivial for a video game, but the original Pokemon Snap was a success, selling over 1.5 million copies in the United States in 1999.
The sequel part of the game is important, as it highlights the nostalgia and staying power of Nintendo/Pokemon titles. Parents who played the original Pokemon Snap may be motivated to buy and play the new version with their children, creating new Pokemon Snap fans (or just Pokemon fans in general).
The game is set to sell for $59.99. Don't expect it to be a monster title like Mario Kart or Animal Crossing, but it definitely has a shot to be a top 5 game on the Switch this year.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Set for a Feb. 12 release, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is essentially two Mario adventures in one game, with the classic Mario versus Bowser battles at the heart of the action. To go along with the release, Nintendo is now selling a limited edition Mario-themed blue-and-red Switch console, the first themed Switch to hit the markets since its release in 2017.
Like with New Pokemon Snap, investors should not expect 3D World to be the top-selling Nintendo game this year. However, in concurrence with the game launch, Nintendo has announced the Super Mario Bros. 35 World Count Challenge, a competition where online players work together to kill 3.5 million Bowsers in the free, limited-edition title commemorating Mario's 35th anniversary. The important part of this challenge is it requires a Nintendo account and Nintendo Switch Online membership, two products the company wants to grow significantly over the next few years: memberships because, well, it will help it grow revenue, and Nintendo accounts because it is still trying to fix the mistakes of the Wii where accounts were console-based and did not roll over to new systems.
How the stock is doing
Shares of Nintendo are at or near all-time highs, which may lead investors to think they've missed the boat and all the gains from the success of the Switch console. However, it looks like console sales won't be slowing down anytime soon. The Switch was the most popular search on Amazon in 2020 (not just in electronics, but for the entire site), and over 1 million units have been sold in China through its partnership with Tencent that launched in December 2019. Considering that its stock still only trades at 11 times earnings, there still may be time to hop on the Nintendo train.