No joke - almost every other dev on the floor of PAX this year told me they were porting their game to Switch.
I think there are 2 main reasons this is big news:
- Nintendo needs the Switch to succeed for the company to rebound from the relative failure that was the Wii U (a system I skipped, even though I am an ultimate Nintendo fanboi)
- Those were not first party or AAA devs I was talking to - it was almost exclusively indie devs.
Nintendo has not had the greatest history with third parties or indies since the turn of the century; while the Wii did well in terms of sales, the under powered console did not (read: could not) get the big titles that were moving Xbox and Playstation consoles, and it only got worse during the era of the Wii U. Indies have had it especially hard with a seemingly high barrier to entry (not in a technical sense, but bureaucratic) in order to get into the Nintendo eShop until just the last year or so with the Nindies program.
The Switch promises to change all of that.
The Nindies program was in full force at PAX, and some highly anticipated indie titles were announced that grabbed some real attention; titles like Floor Kids, Battle Chef Brigade, Travis Strikes Again, and Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition. Developers had good things to say in terms of support/engagement from the Nintendo side, and it seems porting to or developing for the Switch is also much easier than before.
And the AAA community has bought into the Switch hype too. Though we are still seeing slightly powered-down ports of some games due to the system essentially being a tablet (EA FIFA or NBA 2K18 have different engines or less refined graphics for example), adding portability to AAA games opens the market to different (potentially new) demographics (I've found myself considering games I would not have in the past because of that portability). It will be super interesting to see how traditionally PC powerhouse titles like Doom, Wolfenstein II, and Skyrim all run on the handheld system.
First party Nintendo titles will always reign supreme on their home turf, but Nintendo seems to be making all the right moves to take full advantage of their new system and it's unique traits, and they're inviting all the right people to the party.