It's the First Truly Post-Mobile Console
Without trying to sound like old farts while saying this, let's consider for a moment how younger people interact with technology. For anyone that's grown up in the past 10 years, the idea of being tethered to one place – like the big TV in the living room – to play games is just absurd. Whether they're playing Minecraft or League of Legends on a laptop or Clash of Clans on a phone or tablet, there's an entire generation of gamers that expects to be able to play games whenever and wherever they feel like it. Kids increasingly seem less likely to say that they need or particularly want TVs in their rooms these days because all of their entertainment is served up on something much more personal.
Despite Nintendo positioning the Switch as a "home console," its real genius is that it's actually a super-powerful handheld designed to play nice with a big screen. As Skyrim director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios Todd Howard told us, "if you look at handheld gaming, they're still the best at it. If they say 'we're going to make the best handheld ever and you can plug it into your TV', well that's just really, really smart."
Calling it a console is more about marketing and messaging than anything. You can't call something a handheld when you're trying to replace the disaster that was the Wii U, so for the time being, the Switch is a "console" so everyone understands what's at stake. For kids – the true engine that will ultimately drive its success – the distinction is completely irrelevant anyway. What's most important is that it does everything it needs to everywhere – whether that's in the living room, in the car, at a friend's house, at grandma's, or sneakily played after lights-out on a Wednesday night when mom thinks you're asleep.