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Everyone’s excited for a new Switch. But Nintendo doesn’t even need it.

Everyone’s excited for a new Switch. But Nintendo doesn’t even need it.

Good morning! This Friday, Nintendo has a new Switch on the horizon, Citizen scraps its private security force, Snowflake loses its HQ and Tesla is set to buy chips in advance (and maybe even a whole chip plant).

Also, we're off Sunday and Monday for Memorial Day weekend. Have a great long weekend, and we'll talk to you Tuesday!

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The Big Story

Nintendo doesn't need a new Switch

The days of Nintendo competing with the likes of Sony and Sega and eventually companies like Microsoft have long since passed. It's not that Nintendo fell behind in the gaming business; it's that Nintendo now exists fully in a league of its own, distinct from the binary of PlayStation versus Xbox and straddling a unique, unreplicable line between mobile, portable handheld and home console. The secret to its success is the astounding resilience of the Switch.

Nintendo's hybrid console is more than four years old, having seen only one minor update to its hardware since release alongside the portable-only Switch Lite variant.

  • Nintendo has been planning a new version, featuring a faster processor and an OLED display, that we learned this week might be released as soon as September.
  • An official reveal could potentially happen around E3 next month.

But the original Switch has secured Nintendo's future for years to come, regardless of when the next-generation version arrives. The platform may evolve as new features and more-powerful hardware get added to the mix, but Nintendo doesn't have to ever release a "new" console again.

  • As of this week, the Switch has been the bestselling game console in the U.S. every month for the last 29 months in a row, according to data from analyst firm NPD Group.
  • Nintendo has sold more than 90 million units, putting it on track to surpass the Wii and potentially even the PlayStation 4 in terms of total sales.
  • It's also sent Nintendo's earnings skyrocketing in recent quarters.

Consumers haven't stopped buying the Switch, even four years after its release. Absent a next-generation version of the console, the current Switch would likely continue its strong sales record as Nintendo fills out its 2021 slate of new releases.

Part of the reason the Switch has been so resilient without the need for any major revisions is that the core premise of the device remains so tantalizing: People just love a portable console that doesn't always have to be portable.

  • Nintendo has also fiercely defended and cultivated its first-party exclusives for decades, and the Switch also remains the best home for indie games to date.
  • The formula of selling consumers one or two major first-party releases and a steady stream of indies they can find elsewhere but would much rather play on Switch has been a winning one for Nintendo. So much so that other companies have been eyeing the Switch's form factor as an avenue to make PC gaming more accessible and portable.

It's hard to imagine what the future of the Switch looks like beyond the inevitable "Switch Pro" or "Super Nintendo Switch" model we know is coming sometime soon. It won't really matter, though, because Nintendo's DNA has always been reimagining the ways people want to play and not trying to compete in the performance wars. And it's arguably all the company needs to keep doing.

— Nick Statt (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM SLACK

A recent survey found that Slack users save an average of 90 minutes a day and forge better connections using Slack instead of email. However, email has been the default communication tool at work for nearly 50 years. It's time for a change.

Learn more

People Are Talking

Bill Ackman is in on the blockchain but out on Bitcoin:

  • "I think crypto is here to stay. It's really interesting in terms of the business opportunities it helps create, although I wouldn't invest in Bitcoin or currency that's a pure speculative asset."
On Protocol: A delivery worker in China argued the job isn't perfect, but it works:
  • "I know the platforms are being criticized for being unreasonable and exploitative, but they do offer flexible jobs to people like me. Instead of sitting for 12 hours at a factory assembly line, you log on and off whenever you feel like it. The minute I book 300 yuan ($47) in income, I usually call it a day."

Databricks is taking on Snowflake in a big way, and a16z's Ben Horowitz said the founding team is a reason to bet on Databricks:

  • "Snowflake is obviously an unbelievable company in a great position, but they've got a professional CEO. How much longer is he going to be there? Probably not much longer … nobody in enterprise software is going to out-innovate Databricks."

Making Moves

Adam Neumann's WeWork exit deal just keeps getting sweeter: He was given an enhanced stock award worth about $245 million in February, The Wall Street Journal reported. WeWork is apparently willing to pay a lot to get Neumann out of the way before the company goes public.

Salesforce's Dreamforce conference is going global. Instead of just decimating traffic for a week in SF, the conference will now be in New York, London and Paris as well.

Snowflake is ditching its headquarters. Technically, it's now headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, where Frank Slootman and Mike Scarpelli live, but it's officially a "globally distributed workforce."

Acorns is going public via a SPAC, and will be valued at $2.2 billion. The SPAC craze ain't over yet, folks. Not even close.

In Other News

  • SolarWinds 2.0? Microsoft researchers said they found evidence of another attack from the group Nobelium, which is said to have started when the group got access to the Constant Contact account run by USAID.
  • On Protocol: Klarna is reportedly fundraising in a big way, and could soon be valued at $40 billion. Though here's something that certainly won't help the process: Klarna also just acknowledged that a "self-inflicted incident" leaked data on thousands of its customers.
  • More "Super Pumped" casting news: Kyle Chandler is going to play Bill Gurley. Clear KPIs, full gas tanks, can't lose.
  • That Florida social media law is already heading to court. Two tech trade groups sued Florida to block the rule, which would allow users to sue social media platforms for content decisions. They argue it's a violation of the First Amendment — and a lot of observers agree.
  • Twitter's subscription app might be coming soon. The "Twitter Blue" in-app purchase option is already available, though it doesn't seem to do anything yet.
  • On Protocol: A lawsuit alleging Google violated California's Equal Pay Act has won class-action status, and will represent 10,800 women seeking more than $600 million in damages.
  • Don't miss this story about the standoff between India's government and U.S. tech companies from CNN. The government is trying to crack down on viral information, and its approach has led Twitter to say it is concerned about the safety of its employees in the country.
  • Tesla is preparing to buy chips in advance in order to try and ensure a steady supply for its cars, the FT reported. It's also reportedly exploring buying a chip plant outright.
  • Citizen said it's not starting a private security force after all. The company also told CNN that the security force was just one vehicle in one city.
  • And don't miss Vice's story about Citizen's misguided manhunt, and the company's increasingly aggressive view of what a private app can do for a city.

One More Thing

A weekend's worth of #content

No work stuff today, because it's about to be a long weekend, and let's be honest, we've pretty much all stopped working already, right? So in that spirit, a few things worth checking out this Memorial Day:

  • "Amazon Unbound." Nobody writes about Jeff Bezos like Brad Stone, and this is as good a look as you'll find at what it takes to become a tech titan … and why being a tech titan might not be all it's cracked up to be.
  • The WeWork documentary, in case you haven't already watched it. It'll make you angry, confused, maybe slightly inspired against your better judgment, and generally critical of all the high-minded nonsense coming out of too many tech companies.
  • The Ologies podcast. Have you ever wondered what the people who study space junk, like, do all day? What about people who study plants, or the future, or the human brain? This podcast gets into all of it, with the experts who know. It's extremely fun.
  • "The Mitchells vs. The Machines." A movie about robot uprisings that is inexplicably still fun for the whole family!
  • "Mythic Quest." Season two of the funniest show Apple has ever made about video game development is about halfway done, so you can easily get caught up this weekend.
  • Knockout City. It's kind of like Fortnite, except instead of shooting other characters you're playing a giant game of cross-platform, battle royale dodgeball. And you can play it for free all weekend. We'll probably be there, too.

A MESSAGE FROM SLACK

A MESSAGE FROM SLACK

A recent survey found that Slack users save an average of 90 minutes a day and forge better connections using Slack instead of email. However, email has been the default communication tool at work for nearly 50 years. It's time for a change.

Learn more

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