Even Dead Cells Is Vastly More Popular On The Switch

It's understandable why a lot of indies would find more success on the Switch over other platforms, given the eShop's smaller library of content and ease of use. But you'd think that games with almost universal acclaim like Dead Cells would sell just as well on major consoles, given the user base is many millions more.

Turns out that's not the case.

In an interview with Destructoid's Kevin McClusky at PAX West, one of the marketers revealed that the Switch port of Dead Cells was outselling the PS4 edition - four to one.

Dead Cells: The Kotaku Review

In my first game of Dead Cells, I died after about four minutes. In my most recent one, I lasted almost an hour. The time difference between those two attempts says a lot about how Dead Cells evolves as you play it, and how you evolve alongside it.

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The figure didn't come with specifics, although it was revealed in May that Dead Cells had already sold over 730,000 copies in early access.

Given that Dead Cells has been met with the same kind of praise as Hollow Knight - and got a surprise boost of PR upon release through the plagiarism scandal - I wouldn't be surprised if the game had sold more than a million copies already.

The key takeaway, though, is the willingness of Switch users to buy content. There are tens of millions more PS4 users than there are Switches, but their appetite for newer games and indies is vastly different. As I wrote earlier this year, indies are finding a second lease of life on the Switch, regardless of what the reception was like with their initial launch.

Why Indies Continue To Thrive On The Switch

In a presentation at the White Nights conference last week, Valve business development head Jan-Peter Ewert put some figures on the disturbing reality for indie developers. the market is still very, very crowded. With the removal of Steam Greenlight and the straight-to-door Steam Direct approach, around 180 games get released every single week. Even if most games find no audience at all, the increased noise makes it infinitely harder for good games to stand out. Fortunately, there's one platform where indies are continuing to find a second lease of life, or a successful first one.

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    but their appetite of newer games and indies is vastly different

    All that need be said, really. And even then, indies tend to be smaller, 'bite sized' games that tend to lend themselves to a portable experience.

      Bingo. When graphics don't matter, where would you prefer to play your game? Tied to the couch, or anywhere you want?

      Yep exactly. Who doesn't want to lay in bed and smash out a quick Dead Cells run? These single player experiences take on a whole new level of appeal when you can play them anywhere you want. It's the thing I love the most about the Switch.

      Last edited 07/09/18 11:07 am

    I'm personally much more inclined to buy an indie on Switch than I am on Xbox.
    But it's worth noting that the number of AAA titles on the Switch is incredibly limited. In my opinion, Mario Odyssey was the last great title; and that came out nearly a year ago.

      We all saw that the flood of indies on the Vita really helped the platform. Nintendo is obviously trying to emulate that, which will take the pressure off them in terms of providing 'console experiences'. I'm not saying we won't see AAA stuff going to Switch here and there, but as we've seen, they are mostly ports of existing titles, or Nintendo's own games.

      I feel that it may change soon. Lately the Switch has also been getting AAA games from the (increasingly closer) yesteryear and every article goes about how "surprisingly well" the console can handle it. I wouldn't be surprised if the big players start considering making Switch ports of current and upcoming titles as well.

    Your painting a much rosier picture then I would - Some switch Indies sell better because the console has far less content from big developers to compete with.

    Speaking as an armchair analyst, they're different markets. Sure Sony has a thriving indie scene but for the most part people buy a PS4 for the HD graphics and AAA titles first, then they buy indies if they need something to fill in the gaps. Switch players tend to be in for the smaller bite size or experimental experiences that indies provide because they (should) know that the Switch is never going to be the same AAA powerhouse as the other two consoles or PC.

    That and the Switch is still relatively new so people are looking for new games to justify their purchase. Since Nintendo's philosophy is "Release less often but have long tails" and the AAA market is virtually non-existent that leaves a nice space where indies can stand out front and centre.

    Will we be seeing these kinds of articles next year though? Maybe, it depends on how stringent Nintendo is with what gets put on the store. There's a lot of cheap mobile ports and shovelware starting to crop up on the store which may begin the same race to the bottom we have seen on Steam and mobile marketplaces.

    Long may it continue...! :)

    I've not been shy about the current switch release schedule of periodic AAA titles supplemented by a wealth of indies/mid-tier titles being absolutely perfect for me personally & I suspect given the current success it may well be true for others?

    It's the USP of portability & additional indie support that have fundamentally stopped this going down a similar road to the Wii-U; The ease with which you can boot the thing, buy a new game and play it beats any traditional system (mobiles/tablets the obvious exception). Yes it doesn't have Assassins Creed, CoD, Battlefield or other big name multi-platforms, but the majority of owners already have hardware on which we can play those time intensive, graphic powerhouses so does it really matter all that much? It's an 'icing on the cake' addition for being able to play games for me - on top of my PC/Xbox/PS4 'main course' I get to play these incredible experiences in all the times I'm not at home/can't use the TV/only have a short amount of time and it's incredible - to the point that it's slowly becoming my platform of choice purely because of how simple it is.

    Are their downsides? Of course - some very good points made in the comments already; if the store isn't curated or becomes oversaturated with shovelware/too many titles then ad-hoc random purchases may diminish, especially if the price creeps up (the e-shop can already be a little eyebrow raising - but I personally don't mind spending a little more for the convenience of portability & not having to swap cards). The other interesting this is how the new online thing may affect the user-base - I'm very curious (and maybe tomorrow's direct will explain more) as to how they'll implement the online for the system - there's a lot of goodwill for the switch right now but they've not got the best track record with online functionality and it's always going to be a hard sell to get people to part with money for something they've been getting for free (on switch at least) up to now. They've got incentives of course, but given the current momentum I'm sure they're aware of the need to tread carefully.

    Last point I wanted to make about indies in general is that more and more AAA games are being turned into massive time vampires with completion times going up and up and up. To look at it simply you'd think people would be crazy to complain about that, but I've long since shuddered when people ask about time to complete because sometimes less is just more - and with the quality, diversity and often significantly shorter durations (and lower prices) I'm finding my time with indies incredibly rewarding. Yes I still crave my AAA awesome fun times, but away from them i'm finding I get more excited by indie titles and especially so when i see that they're coming to switch!

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