Nintendo’s powerful crossover game, “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” closed three years of ambitious expansion with the announcement that “Kingdom Hearts” hero Sora will be added to the Switch fighting game roster on October 18th.
Why is this important: It wasn’t just the addition of a character that had secretly topped Nintendo’s official fan poll six years ago. It was a feed watched by over 500,000 people that demonstrated the convergence of some of the major industry trends.
from disney growing presence of the game: Sora is the first Disney-backed character to join the list of 89 “Smash” characters, which already includes heroes and villains licensed from Konami, Sega, Capcom, Square, Namco and several Microsoft-owned studios.
- Of course, Sora isn’t as much of a Disney fan as his “Kingdom Hearts” co-stars Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
- But it marks yet another important deal with Disney, in a year the company also revealed major game plans with Xbox, PlayStation, Ubisoft, and Take Two.
The metaverse as a marketing tool: Despite all the talk about digital playgrounds as potentially transformative communication platforms, Nintendo is keeping pace with Epic and “Fortnite” by demonstrating how it can function as a forest of digital billboards as well.
- Sure enough, the news that Sora could soon be brawling with Mario, Pikachu, and the “Doom” guy in “Smash” was associated with the news that 10 of the multi-million dollar “Kingdom Hearts” games would be coming to Nintendo Switch.
Rise of cloud gaming: Not all of these upcoming ‘Kingdom Hearts’ games for Switch can run natively on the platform, so Nintendo offers them via cloud-streaming, which means players press buttons on their own devices, which receives graphics and sound from remote hardware over the Internet. .
- This approach can work well for players with strong internet connections and a tolerance for a small lag. It has fueled much of Microsoft’s and Google’s gaming plans lately.
- The Switch has had a few cloud-based games, but nothing quite as popular as “Kingdom Hearts”.