Top Port Switch Success Stories

Video gaming is one of the most dynamic industries in the world. The rise of digital entertainment globally has led to a consistent series of new developments, from VR to cloud gaming. But one of the recent trends in gaming isn’t related to these modern developments, but instead is concerned with expanding existing titles to new platforms.

In the past, hardware was the basis for how gamers chose new titles; if a game wasn’t available for PC, then only console gamers could access the title (and vice versa). Today, the rise of port developers has increased due to demand not for brand new titles, but for classics like Grand Theft Auto, Diablo, Football Manager, and more to appear on new platforms.

And this doesn’t only apply to classic titles. For example, slots were once simple ‘one-armed bandits’ with a single lever and revolving reel of symbols. Looking back at slot machine mechanics and history highlights just how much digital entertainment has revolutionized the game. Modern titles played online include vibrant graphics, endearing characters, and narrative elements that add an RPG-type element.”

Similarly, Pokémon, already well-known to many, burst (back) onto the scene in 2016 with Pokémon GO for smartphones. The re-imagined game introduced millions to AR and was pivotal in steering the future of MMO and AR games for mobile devices. Shortly after, titles like The Witcher: Monster Slayer and Zombies, run! took inspiration from the open-world AR format. 

But digitized slots and AR-ready mobile titles are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to switching up the format of beloved games. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most successful ports.

Port Champion: Nintendo Switch

To port a game is to adapt it for gaming on another platform. The most common ports have moved PC titles to consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation, and vice versa. However, Nintendo didn’t just revolutionize AR with the release of Pokémon GO back in 2016. The very next year, they adapted the game for the handheld Nintendo Switch.

Within the first year of launching, over 10 million Switch devices were sold worldwide. The unique new format introduced millions to indie titles, which were showcased at the forefront of the device’s release. Since then, Switch has spearheaded the rise of ‘port houses’, or studios that work with developers to move their games onto new platforms.

And port houses have gone above and beyond to bring new titles to the Switch without hiccups and errors. To date, the most acclaimed ports for Nintendo Switch include Rocket League, Wolfenstein II, and Doom. At the same time, hyper-successful Switch indies like InnerSpace are now seeing ports for consoles.

GTA 5 to PC, PS5, & Xbox Series XS

In 2017, Newzoo published a study claiming the Western world’s most popular game was Grand Theft Auto. Prior to the 2013 release of GTA 5, the very first Grand Theft Auto had been released in 1997 for PC and PlayStation. The subsequent releases were also available for Microsoft Windows PCs.

The original 2013 release of GTA5 was available only for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was ported for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, then again for Windows in 2015. Following the release of the PS5, Sony announced a port for GTA 5 in March 2022. 

However, it’s still the PC port from 2015 that many gamers can’t get enough of. The PC version included better graphics, more seamless performance, and better customization options. In fact, it was the PC release, two years after the original, that helped GTA5 become the second best-selling video game of all time, with $6 billion in sales since its release.

Hearthstone: PC to iOS & Android

What makes Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft unique is its success on PC as a card battler? The title was one of the original adaptations of a collectible-card game (CCG) for online platforms. Based on the characters popularized in World of Warcraft, Hearthstone successfully took the MMORPG, then switched up the formula with its 2020 release.

Hearthstone quickly proved popular for CCG fans and WoW gamers looking for something new. Earlier this year, Blizzard released an iOS and Android app for the game. Unsurprisingly, the studio delivered top-tier graphics to add a touch of realism to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft while keeping its mobile version very similar to the PC title.

This provides intuitive flow for gamers, as controls are very similar. The interface is seamless and easy to navigate. In fact, some gamers that have mobile devices with better refresh rates choose to play Hearthstone on their mobile devices over their PCs. As is the power of ports!


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