Australians have been stuck in various forms of lockdown — or never-ending lockdown — since mid-March, and so naturally we’ve been gaming a lot this year. And despite the tantalising prospect of some serious power with the next-gen consoles, you know what Australians love a lot more? Like, way more? The Nintendo Switch.
Data collected by Google over 2020 has shown that Australians have been vastly more interested in the Nintendo Switch, so much so that the Switch has more search interest than the Xbox Series X or PS5 combined.
The PS5 briefly overtook the Switch mid-year when Sony officially announced the console’s design and its initial lineup of titles. But since the PS5 and the Xbox Series X were officially unveiled, the Switch has still dominated the next-gen consoles. The PS5 (red) has started to slowly trend up, while the Xbox Series X (blue) has remained largely flat.
It’s not a surprise per se that the Switch is hugely popular, or that it’s more popular than the upcoming next-gen consoles. It’s been a good year for Nintendo, particularly with massive hits like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which sold tens of millions of copies in a matter of weeks. The Switch has also enjoyed a surge in demand with the coronavirus pandemic, which created supply issues earlier in the year as various assembly, silicon and distribution factories were all hit by COVID-19 in different ways.
Another interesting note of comparison is that Aussies seem to be less interested in the PlayStation 5 compared to previous generations. That could be partially influenced by the lack of a price or a headline event, like a showcase at E3.
“Comparing generations 2 through 5, the most recent release has seen a comparatively modest spike in search interest so far, and the fourth generation also remains more highly searched,” a Google representative told Kotaku Australia.
That said, the PS4 and Xbox One have still got more search interest than the Switch in general. The PS4 remains the biggest console locally in search volumes: Sony’s console has 245 per cent more searches than the Switch in the last 30 days, while the Xbox One has 204 per cent more search volume.
It’s worth noting that incumbency plays a large factor here: the previous generation have had years to build up their search relevancy and interest. The chart below also doesn’t incorporate any search volume from the hype around the Nintendo NX, what the Switch was called before its official announcement.
Of course, something that Microsoft and Sony could do to trend upwards would be to announce the price of their consoles. Or in Microsoft’s case, actually announce your second console before you start referencing it on all your packaging. The fact that we’re in September and we have no idea how much either of these things will cost is probably the primary reason why Australians are still searching for information.
And when you think about it, it’s also probably the reason Nvidia’s new GPUs are surprisingly price competitive. People don’t have as much money floating around this year, so there’s a big advantage in getting out of the gate first.