Facebook bans protest events, Instagram co-founders reunite, and more top news | Product Perspectives #20

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Why Everyone is Buying a Nintendo Switch in 2020

While 2020 may have not been the best year on Earth (to put it mildly), Nintendo are set to come out on top. The company has just announced that they plan to produce 22 million new Switch devices to combat widespread shortage supplies, a 20% increase on previous projections.

The start of a lengthy lockdown and self-isolation measures in the US and Europe coincided with the release of a much awaited game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch on March 20th. Because this release was so hyped, everyone in the gaming industry expected a spike in Switch sales…they just didn’t expect such a big one!

nintendo switch GIF by nomalles

With millions stuck indoors, the gentle pace of Animal Crossing became a kind of escapism. But one game alone can’t explain the incredible surge in sales.

Why have customers suddenly decided that a Switch is the one? Why is everyone desperately trying to get their hands on a device which came out in 2016. Playstation and Xbox have certainly not enjoyed the same success.

Here’s why the Switch is proving to be the more popular pandemic choice:

  1. It’s cheaper. A Nintendo Switch will cost you $299 in the US, and the smaller version, the Switch Lite costs $199. It’s a price that non-hardcore gamers (who are presumably the ones who find themselves in isolation with no other gaming consoles) feel happy to pay.
  2. It doesn’t require a TV. While the Switch can be connected to a TV set (the Switch Lite cannot) it can equally be enjoyed as a handheld device. This is perfect for those who don’t own a TV, or who have to share their TV with family/housemates during quarantine.
  3. It’s everywhere…and nowhere. It’s everywhere in the sense that people are talking about it. Twitter might as well be renamed ‘What My New Horizons Island Looks Like’. But it’s also very difficult to get ahold of. This combination has created a huge sense of FOMO. Everyone wants to get their hands on one, because you never know when they’ll go out of stock again!

It’ll be interesting to see how the gaming industry – which has always made its money from giant AAA games like Skyrim and the Call of Duty franchise, will respond to this shift in customer needs. It’ll also be interesting to see who is still attached to their Switch when the real world is open again. Will Nintendo have converted them into lifelong fans?

You might also be interested in: How to Be a Great Gaming PM

Instagram Founders Re-unite for New Launch

Kevin Systron and Mike Krieger are back together for their first luanch since leaving Instagram, the platform they co-founded. Rt.live is a real-time tracker which shows users how face COVID-19 is spreading in the US, state by state.

It does this by measuring the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. The number would presumably be higher in states with large, dense cities where an individual is likely to come into contact with more people than in rural areas.

The higher the ‘Rt score’ is above 1, the faster the virus spreads. For example Georgia is currently the state with the fastest spread (1.5) whereas New York has dropped to 0.5, thanks to the adoption of self isolation and shelter-in-place.

The data used by the app comes from the COVID Tracking Project. But what’s the tool for? Experts and mental health professional are warning the general public away from obsessing over numbers.

“As states decide whether and how to open back up, they’ll have to manage their infection rate carefully, and we hope dashboards like Tt.live will be helpful in doing so” says Mike Krieger.

The launch also shows the positive effect that strong personal relationships with colleagues can have on a launch. Krieger said, “It was great to work together again — we were able to take it from idea to launch in just a few days because of all our history & shared context.”

You might also be interested in: Product Launches and Risk, A Tough Teacher

Facebook Bans Protest Events

Facebook has announced that it will ban all future protest events which ‘defy governments’ guidance on social distancing.’

Facebook and politics have a fraught relationship, often being seen as a hotbed for misinformation, Fake News, and harassment. In another move which seeks to rectify the problem, promotions for anti-quarantine protests in California, Nebraska, and New Jersey have been removed. Facebook is also in talks with the governments of New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, to find out if protests there go against government advice.

social media facebook GIF by Guy Trefler

Not wanting to discourage normal political discourse, Zuckerberg has reiterated that they will only remove events which are against government policy. Any protests taking place in states which are not encouraging strict shelter-in-place orders will still be allowed on the site.

Zuckerberg wants it to be clear that this is not a move towards political censorship. But having been criticized in the past for not intervening and allowing the spread of misinformation, they’re not taking any chances.

You might also like: 9 Product Management Lessons by Facebook Messenger PM

New Products We’re Loving:

Cat Space GIF by Product Hunt

If you’re staying at home (again) this week, you know what you’ve got plenty of time for? Trying out some great new products! Here are some which we’re loving right now…

Good Books

The #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt yesterday was Good Books. If you’re looking for your next favourite read, but want something recommended by the best people in your industry, you need this.

Get recommendations and top reads from people like Jeff Bezos, Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, and Oprah!

GoodBooks

Altar

A heartwarming backstory can really take a product from 1 to 60!

Altar is an app which allows users to donate to their local churches. The app also automates Gift-Aid, a government scheme in the UK which gives an additional 25% donation. The maker, Lotanna Ezeike, mentions future plans to show a breakdown of what the money went towards (12% building upkeep, 8% bills, etc).

How did a UK based church app catch our eye? The story!

Alter App Description

An app, based on a mother’s nags, made it out into the world in record time and was picked up by the CEO of Bebo, which was acquired by Twitch for $25 million in 2019.

It really goes to show how important the power of storytelling is in the product world!

Nocode HQ 2.0

In the community, many are talking about starting that side project they’ve been dreaming of. We found something which could help!

One of the questions we get asked the most from prospective Product Managers is, “do I need to know how to code?” While having a basic understanding of code is incredibly helpful for PMs of all levels, and bigger companies may require a CS degree, not every PM needs to be a coding genius.

code GIF

So if you’re a non-coder looking to start your next project, we recommend Nocode HQ. It’s a new platform which features tutorials and a directory of ‘nocode’ tools to help make your idea a reality.

Do you have a side project? Tell us about it in our Slack community, with over 55,000 other Product lovers.

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