The Nintendo Switch Is Revealed, But What Do We Think About It?
It’s been less than a week since Nintendo officially revealed the Nintendo Switch, a brand new hybrid Console/Handheld system that promises a brand new future for Nintendo. The reveal trailer took the world by storm, on Youtube easily surpassing the number of views the WiiU reveal trailer had and also decimating the Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer that was released an hour later.
While there is a lot of positive buzz around the Switch, there are still so many unanswered questions surrounding it. So we decided to ask ourselves, what do we think of the Nintendo Switch and it’s reveal?
Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s final leap into the category of handheld gaming. They have always dominated the handheld market from the Game Boy right through to the Nintendo 3DS. We’ve seen companies come and go trying to compete, and while some have been more successful (Sony PSP), others disappeared almost immediately (Nokia N-Gage). The new handheld from Nintendo promises to be revolutionary, because at the click of a ‘switch’, you can connect it to your home entertainment setup and continue your gaming.
While the Nintendo Switch looks amazing from its reveal trailer and the internet is going absolutely bonkers, I’m personally staying on the cautious side. If there’s one thing Nintendo is great at, it’s marketing, and without knowing what bundles will be available at what price, what launch line-up of games we’ll have, or even some of the basic specs of the actual machine, it’s hard to give an accurate opinion on whether Nintendo Switch will be as great as it looks.
It seems The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an obvious choice for a launch game, and it would be great to see it released in March 2017 as I’ll definitely be picking it up on Wii U, but Nintendo really need to resolidify their name when it comes to games. The Wii U only had about a dozen titles that I even considered purchasing, most of which were first party. What I want with Switch (preferably at launch) is at least a handful of must-have AAA games. If the only game at launch worth buying is Zelda, I’m not going through another Wii experience.
To sum up, I have always enjoyed what Nintendo bring to the wonderful world of video games, it’s great to have something unique each generation to keep the other consoles on their creative toes. Each generation Nintendo does something that surprises me, and here’s hoping Nintendo Switch will offer more than the Wii and Wii U combined.
Nintendo Switch… man where to begin…
First off, I have been one of the many vocal supporters of a hybrid Nintendo system since we started hearing murmurs of the idea back when Nintendo combined their home console and handheld R&D teams a number of years ago. For a long time, I have felt Nintendo has been anchored down by having to support two systems, which was never more evident in the Wii U and 3DS generation. I feel that choosing to move it all to one system (unless they release some smaller handheld as well) solves that issue and makes sure fans only have one system they need to play all of their favourite Nintendo franchises. Combine that with my current lifestyle, where I am spending fairly even amounts of time gaming on the go and on my couch, and this suits me down to a tee.
As for the reveal itself, I think they did a fantastic job. That three-minute promo video perfectly displayed what this system was about. No confusion, no long drawn out explanation, just a concise, informative, three-minute montage showing off what the Switch is about. The logo, the click and the name all perfectly represent the system and I love the reveal trailer as a piece of marketing.
The games… look interesting. I think the trailer did a great job of showing you familiar franchises, both first and third party, and how they can benefit from the Switch’s functionality, but with that said none of the games really had me excited on their own merits. However, I think that’s to be expected considering we have seen maybe 10 secs of footage of each title and this was a trailer that was meant to focus on the console not the software line up.
So far, I feel like the reveal was a strong start to the Switch’s story. Do I have plenty of concerns and questions relating to the price, battery life and specifications of the system? Absolutely, but so far what we have seen so far shows the potential to be the Nintendo system I have been longing for.
I’ll be honest and say when I first heard about the portable/home console hybrid rumours I was highly sceptical.
I really do have a soft spot for Nintendo, don’t get me wrong, but over the last decade the company has seemed hell bent on shoe-horning gimmicks into their systems. I never really liked the glasses-free 3D feature of the 3DS – in fact I’m more likely to have the feature turned off! As for the Wii U’s GamePad, it just doesn’t seem to have been used in a practical and effective manner bar a few exceptions such as Super Mario Maker.
The Nintendo Switch though definitely has more practical use. I love the idea of being able to take my home console with me without having to worry about HDMI cables and a bulky shell. More specifically, being able to split the controller and play multiplayer sessions on the go has caught my attention. I can see myself getting a lot of use out of that feature whenever Super Smash Bros. Switch is released.
Despite my excitement for the hardware, for me the biggest selling point will be the console’s software line up. While we know of Zelda and have had a few other games hinted at, I am still not convinced Nintendo have learned from the 3DS and Wii U launches. But please, prove me wrong Nintendo. I want you to succeed and, more importantly, want to have a lot of great games to play.
After the Wii U, Nintendo has some serious questions to answer about its future. Is the Switch that answer? At this point, I’ll tentatively say yes, but it does raise a lot of new questions on its own. The Wii U’s problem was one of image rather than capability. As a system, I think it was Nintendo’s best ever, delivering on the promise of the original Wii and offering a unique new innovation of its own, but Nintendo failed to communicate the ideas behind it very well.
The Switch is a clean slate. Not just in name, either— the console breaks with the POWER-based hardware architecture that Nintendo had been using since the GameCube. The downside is no backwards compatibility, but the upside, in switching to an ARM-based NVidia Tegra design, is developer familiarity. The vast scale of mobile game development means that the hardware is familiar, and it’s just a case of getting the hang of Nintendo’s software libraries before jumping into the Switch. Developer support is going to be the least of Nintendo’s problems.
As a mobile device, the move to cartridges is a no-brainer, especially because modern flash storage can outperform optical disks in both load times and capacity. Unlike the Nintendo 64, cartridge capacity won’t be an issue for the Switch. It also means the return to home console gaming of save data being on the cartridge rather than the system.
The real trick for Nintendo will be convincing people that this is what they need: a tablet that can plug into a base station and which has two detachable controllers on it. As a mobile gaming device, it seems perfect, but it needs to catch on in the way the original DS did, and that’s where Nintendo’s communication will become important. The short trailer we’ve seen does a great job of explaining how the Switch fits into people’s lives, but it’s less clear as to how it finds room in between all the tablets and mobile phones everybody already has.
Ultimately I think the trailer is a good first step to rebuilding the audience the company lost during the Wii U years, and perhaps even expanding again. While there are still many questions about the device (battery life, for example), the Switch is a fresh start and I’m willing to put my money on it being a success for the company.
My first real introduction to gaming was on my mum’s NES when I was a kid. I never could get enough of Super Mario Bros., but while it gave me an appreciation of gaming, it wasn’t mine. It wasn’t until I was given a silver Gameboy Pocket and a copy of Star Wars that I really found out what a sense of ownership brought to my gaming life. It was with that Gameboy Pocket that I started my real gaming journey, broadening my horizons with games like Pokemon Red, Kirby and Warioland. The discovery of my own gaming identity came in the form of a Nintendo handheld.
The one issue with handheld gaming, despite my love for it, is that it’s largely a solitary experience. While I can play with friends, it’s hard to have someone looking at my screen while I try and introduce them to the game I’m playing. This has become especially problematic since I’ve gotten married, as while my wife doesn’t necessarily play many games (she generally plays small numbers of games for large quantities of time), she loves to experience stories by watching me play games she wouldn’t personally play. This sometimes made it difficult for me to try and balance wanting to help her experience new stories, like Fire Emblem Awakening, and not wanting someone camped behind me staring over my shoulder. I quickly found myself reminiscing of the days of old, of using a Super Gameboy to play Pokemon Red on the tv, and wished I could do the same with my 3DS.
When the rumours of the Nintendo NX being a hybrid system started to circulate, I realised that this was my dream system. Something that I could play on my own when I needed to, but I could also have it play on the big screen if I wanted to show my wife what I was playing and have her enjoy it as well. Something where I’ll only be constrained to playing Pokemon on the tiny screen between my hands if I choose to do so. Something where all of Nintendo’s franchises can come together in one harmonious ecosystem and content droughts are, theoretically at least, a thing of the past. The reveal trailer sold the promise of all of that and more, and hooked me in line and sinker. The idea of slaying those pesky dragons on that damn plane is incredibly appealing to me.
While there are still so many unknowns, like the battery life, games and cost, I’m not ashamed to say that I already have one preordered and I’m happy to risk disaster.
The Nintendo Switch is currently scheduled to release sometime in march 2017 for an undetermined price. Stay tuned to Rocket Chainsaw for more details as they become known!