Nintendo Switch

Case Study Trailer

Nintendo Switch: Shifting from Market-Competing to Market-Creating Strategy

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, OLENICK, Michael


Nintendo languished in last place during the console wars of the early aughts, with game industry analysts suggesting the Kyoto-based firm exit the gaming console market altogether. Instead, Nintendo used blue ocean strategy to redefine market boundaries creating the bestselling videogame console ever, the Nintendo Wii. Targeting noncustomers, the Wii outsold Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox combined until a new massively disruptive technology was introduced, smartphones and tablets. Mobile technology targeted the same noncustomers, offering easy-to-understand games and controls, and Wii sales suffered. Nintendo initially responded by introducing their own tablet-like console, the Wii U, a poor copy of the tablet experience that proved a dismal failure. Stepping back, Nintendo again used blue ocean strategy to value innovate the Nintendo Switch, the only console to outpace the Wii in sales. Nintendo also value innovated by moving into adjacent markets, working with businesses they held a minority stake in to release the wildly popular Pokémon Go and other mobile games.

Case Study
Teaching Note

Teaching Materials

Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in over 2,800 universities and in almost every country in the world, go beyond the standard case-based method. Our multimedia cases and interactive exercises are designed to help you build a deeper​ understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts, developed by world-renowned professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Materials available from Harvard Business Publishing
Blue Ocean Shift | Strategy materials available from The Case Centre
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