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The Nintendo Switch's Lonely Niche

Why Nintendo's new console may struggle to grow beyond the publisher's hardcore fans.

Article by Kat Bailey, .

Like everyone else at USgamer, I was thrilled when Nintendo finally pulled the wraps off the Switch—their new hybrid console. Imagine an actual console version of Pokémon! Or playing FIFA on the road!

Indeed, this seems like a natural evolution for Nintendo, which seems more at ease in the handheld space than the console space. With mobile gaming squeezing Nintendo from one side, and competitors like Sony and Microsoft squeezing them from the other, it makes sense for them to consolidate their business and play to their strengths in the handheld gaming business. If all goes well, then the Switch will simultaneously save Nintendo's console business and be the heir apparent to the 3DS.

But there's a downside to this approach. In creating what amounts to a dedicated gaming tablet that can plug into a television, Nintendo risks the Switch being the worst of two worlds—neither as powerful as a dedicated console nor as flexible as a tablet. In a few years, the Switch will likely be as painfully dated as the Wii U, which will once again make it difficult to attract top third-party developers. So if you have any fantasies of playing the latest and greatest triple-A games on the road, you may want to put them out of your head. Older ports of Skyrim and Dark Souls may be the best we get (and admittedly, that wouldn't be all that bad).

This assertion is based on a simple reading history, as well as knowledge of what a slimmed down handheld like the Switch is capable of. If Nintendo wants to have any hope of keeping the Switch's price down, they'll have to compromise on its tech, simple as that. Beyond that, Nintendo hasn't shown any interest in competing on a technical level with the mainstream consoles since the days of the GameCube.

If that's the case, then the Switch's primary appeal will be as a handheld console. The games that will work best on it will be the games we enjoyed on the 3DS, with the added benefit that they will be playable on the television as well (and much prettier). That's no small thing, but it's a long way from what the trailer seems to promise, which is a full-blown modern console capable of playing games like NBA 2K both at home and on the road.

Indies could be the key for the Nintendo Switch.

Luckily for Nintendo, the Switch doesn't necessarily need to compete on the level of the PS4 and Xbox One. Here are a few trump cards it can potentially bring to the table:

  • Indies: While games like Destiny, Elder Scrolls, and Grand Theft Auto are still important in that they sell tens of millions of units, they no longer comprise the entire market, or even most of it. To wit, Stardew Valley—a tiny 16-bit farming simulation—has sold well more than a million units since launch. These games are ideal for a portable system like the Switch, as they have shown on the PlayStation Vita, and they will help Nintendo avoid the dreaded content gaps that have plagued them in the past. For their sake, I hope Nintendo goes after them hard.

  • Japanese development: Japan remains a dominant force in the dedicated handheld space, filling the vaccuum left by large western developers with RPGs, visual novels, and retro platformers. If Monster Hunter makes the leap to the Switch, then the Japanese market will almost certainly follow. This would be a boon for Nintendo, as it would give the Switch's library a strong identity out of the gate, which the Wii U mostly lacked. Granted, it's not exactly 1994 anymore—it's been a long time since Japan owned mainstream gaming. But they still have their own dedicated following, and games like Persona 5 are quite capable of doing big business. With the Vita out of the picture, and the PlayStation 4 being a marginal presence in the Japanese market, the Switch would seem to be the heir apparent for traditional Japanese game development.

  • Nintendo games: I mean, this is a given, isn't it? Gamers buy Nintendo's platforms because they want to play Pokemon or Super Mario Bros. Third-party releases like Bayonetta 2 are nice too, but they're more of a secondary concern in the grand scheme of things. Still, trite as it may be to say, Nintendo's games will go the furthest toward determining the Switch's ultimate success or failure; and with their resources no longer split between two systems, they will have a much better shot at being able to keep up with demand. The first order of business: getting a Pokemon game on the Switch. The second order: building on Splatoon's surprise success in Japan.

Even with these built-in advantages, though, Nintendo is in some ways trapped in a corner. Like so many Nintendo consoles before it, the Switch will almost certainly exist outside of the ecosystem that has developed around the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which means that it won't get the biggest and best third-party games. That makes the Switch a secondary console at best for anyone who isn't a Nintendo or Japanese gaming diehard.

On the portable front, Nintendo will have to compete with tablets, which are both ubiquitous and likely to offer much more utility than the Switch. The fact that tablets are touchscreen-only hasn't stopped developers from pumping out thousands of games for them, nor has it stopped traditional franchises like Final Fantasy and even Super Mario Bros. from making the leap. If given the choice between getting their child an iPad and a Switch, one wonders how many parents will opt for a console over a tablet.

As always, the Switch will be able to depend on the simple appeal of being a Nintendo platform, which gives it a built-in audience. But games have changed a lot in just the past five years, and mobile games are only going to get bigger. Absent some massive shift that makes it a must-own (eSports?), the Switch risks being viewed as an accessory—something you might buy in addition to your core devices. Emphasis on "might."

For what it's worth, I'm still excited and hopeful about what the Switch will have to offer. At the very least, I think it has much more potential than the Wii U, which in hindsight seems like it was setup to fail. But it's also hard to get a feel for where it will fit into some of gaming's broader trends, including the domination of portable gaming by the mobile free-to-play space.

In the end, much will depend on the Switch's specs, flexibility, and price point, as well as the public's appetite for hardcore portable gaming, all of which remains up in the air. Whatever happens, the fate of the Switch will say a lot about the direction of gaming as a whole.

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Comments 38

  • Avatar for boatie #1 boatie 8 months ago
    This seems to be on a much more downbeat tip than you were on the podcast!

    If this truly is the successor to the 3DS, I think it can easily succeed at that level, especially with the occasional (or hopefully more often than occasional) AAA-style game and bigger Nintendo games like Zelda should help it to grow larger than the 3DS and maybe larger than the 3DS + Wii U.

    Do we even have any hard specs to know if this system will be notably weaker than the PS4 or Xbone? At any rate, I wouldn't buy this as an alternative to those systems, but if they can create a space for Japanese and indy games + Nintendo that's basically the type of gaming I want to play.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #2 Ralek 8 months ago
    "With the Vita out of the picture, and the PlayStation 4 being a marginal presence in the Japanese market, the Switch would seem to be the heir apparent for traditional Japanese game development."

    But isn't a major reason for the Vita being out of the picture in the first place, the fact that it was too powerful for it's own good? Won't the Switch come across as a similar high-end and price'y handheld as the Vita once did?

    I think plenty of devs could see the no doubt more demanding development for the Switch as too much of a risk. After all, the 3DS was pretty much a known quantity and cheap to develop for. That was it greatest assest imho. This could prove to be a risk for the Switch.

    On the other hand, with the 3DS being succeeded by the Switch (no matter how Nintendo is framing this right now), many former 3DS devs won't have that many other options besides supporting the Switch, moving to mobile (that is certainly an option unfortunately) or changing their business entirely. Also, one could argue, that if Sony had pushed the Vita strong enough to establish a solid installbase, the risk of making a more costly Vita game would have diminished and thus devs would have most likely shown stronger support for it. If that logic should hold true, it ought to count for something that the Switch has the full force of the Nintendo development departments behind it.

    Wasn't there a curse about living in interesting times? ^^
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  • Avatar for Ralek #3 Ralek 8 months ago
    @boatie We don't have any specs, we also don't know how efficient the custom-build tools that Nvidia and Nintendo developed are and we don't know what Tegra unshackled from Android can really do. Yet we have to be realistic, because in the end, we are talking about a also-handheld device, which means power-efficiency is key, which in turn means it simply cannot possibly offer the kind of performance a stationary device could.

    For a rough idea, just look at the line-up of AAA games running on Nvidia's own Shield "console" ... we are talking games like Resident Evil 5
    Metal Gear Solid Rising and DOOM 3 BFG Edition. None of these are cutting edge, being ~5 years old or so last-gen games.


    I think the bigger issue is, that this currnet generation will soon enter in it's 5th year, which means that even with the PS4Pro and Scorpio looming, a new generation (however that might look like this time around), can't be that far off. There is an excellent chance that 2-3 years after it's release, the Switch will be severely outclassed by what comes next, up to the point where simply scaling down games, won't do the trick anymore.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #4 SuperShinobi 8 months ago
    Sony will release two new Vita models in Japan on Dec 1 - metallic red and silver, so once again with new models and games getting released it's much too early to declare it dead.

    If Sony wasn't so busy making PS4 and PSVR games, this would actually be an opportunity for them to release a true next-gen handheld. That's because the Switch isn't a true handheld console. It's a hybrid gaming tablet and even Nintendo themselves consider it primarily a home console, according to a recent article on Polygon.
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  • Avatar for garion333 #5 garion333 8 months ago
    @SuperShinobi Sure, in Japan the Vita isn't dead, but Sony has absolutely left it for dead in the West. They don't even talk about it because it's a lost cause. Of course, them dropping it is why it's a lost cause.

    Nintendo, at least, has the capability and desire to put good games onto their systems, so even though the Switch very much looks like a Vita crossed with a Wii U, if it has the games, sales will follow to a certain extent. Sony made a push with the Vita and then left it for dead a year or so later.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #6 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    You bring up some fair points, but at the same time, too many people focused on power when at the end of the day, as has been shown in the past, it's all about the games. We have gotten to the point were visual improvements are incremental, not leaps. I look at a game like 3D World or Mario Kart 8, and I don't say to myself, "Boy, these game look like poop!". They look gorgeous. It's what you do with the hardware that counts. Unless you're a PC snob, then yes, those are the type of people that look at a game and say "That is so 6 months ago, looks like poop! Literally unplayable!"

    I'm not a fool. Since I was a kid I knew PC gaming offered the best visual experience. That said, I got into console gaming for the convenience. Set it and forget it. Yes, you can build a decent low end, lower middle end PC for the price of a PS4 Pro. I get that. I just don't want to. Why? Because as an enthusiast, I would want the best the hardware that I own is offering me, and then I would go down a rabbit hole and my wallet would cry.

    I am interested in games. Honestly, I am not even interested in third party ports too much. I want 3rd Party exclusives like the 3DS and Vita got. I want exclusives like Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2. Ports just mean I have two choices between my two consoles. That's boring. Guess the convenience I can play one on the go for the Switch? I guess.

    I don't think it should also be compared to tablet gaming. Yeah, mobile/tablet gaming is huge, but it is also another thing entirely. One that I don't care for except for Hearthstone. The market is fragmented, yes, but that does not mean the market is gone. It's just fragmented. Just how VR will not replace traditional gaming, but rather provide another way to game. What about us gamers who love traditional gaming on the go with the 3DS and Vita, which have meaty games that provide the same rich experiences we can get on a console? Should us as a market be told to sod off? I don't think so. As much as iPhone people would love us to go away, we don't want to.

    That is my two cents.
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  • Avatar for Vanderdulpp #7 Vanderdulpp 8 months ago
    I want to believe it'll do well- it certainly has a better shot at the Wii U- but Nintendo doesn't seem to be shutting out the possibility of a new DS system, as far as I can tell. I've heard a rumor that there's a handheld successor planned regardless of if the Switch goes over well or not. That'd be nuts.
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  • Avatar for Spectreman #8 Spectreman 8 months ago
    The main feature still being one hardware funneling all Nintendo software output. As a second console, the Wii was very successful and I think Switch will have similar potential. Outside hardcore game, who knows. PS4 and Xbox has nothing like Mario Kart and this is important with sub 8/10 years old kids. A good account system, with different profiles and saves, will help. Looks obvious, but handheld games has a awful tradition to have few or only one save slot.
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #9 Monkey-Tamer 8 months ago
    I'm not getting one simply because I don't have nearly as much time to play games as I did when I was younger. But if I was a kid this console would be exciting. Mario on the go and on the big screen is what I always wanted. I'm not sure how the virtual store for Nintendo works, but having to buy the same games all over again could be a turn off for the parents buying the machine for their kids. Rebuying my games every generation got me to leave consoles completely after my PS3.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #10 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    Also, lets also keep one other thing in mind. The Wii U did not fail due to specs. If it had a user base, it would have gotten more games. The GameCube and the Xbox made the PS2 outdated visually, but that user base was insane!

    I rewatched the Wii U 2011 reveal trailer. Oh man, I have no idea what I was watching. As a gaming enthusiast, I knew what it was. However, that commercial did now show the console, only the controller. It kept mentioning the controller, the controller, the controller. It showed so many things but no video games really except for a few quick blips and a Zelda tech demo at the end.

    This reveal trailer was great because it communicated what it was. It said video game home console.

    The controller probably, per rumors, have gyro, maybe motion, and the screen probably has multi touch. But they did not talk about it, or focus on it. They focused on what it is, a game console. The other things? Optional QoL mechanisms that are great and I want, especially for Splatoon since I am a gyro player in that game. But they kept the message simple, and clear.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #11 retr0gamer 8 months ago
    If this is a true successor to the 3DS then I really don't give a monkeys about playing the games I can play on my PC on the switch. I bet everyone and their mother owns either a PC, PS4 or One already for these games. There's no benefit to Nintendo even getting these on the system.

    Make the switch stand out from the crowd with software you can't get anywhere else and works on the go. Hell even put a cheapo mobile games store on there as well.

    I mean who really wants Skyrim on the go when we were all sick of it 3 years ago? Anyway that form of software is fairly stale and stagnant at the moment. Put the same great quality software as Nintendo's WiiU and 3DS had, put a pokemon game on there and see how well it does.
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #12 hiptanaka 8 months ago
    There seems to be some genuine excitement around the Switch, at least. I know I'm much more interested in the hardware itself than I was in the Wii U.

    It's true it could be too far behind in performance to get ports of everything in the near future, but if it sells enough, developers will support it in any way they can.

    If the excitement proves to be real, I hope we (gamers) are not cynical enough to reject it because of specs. (As long as they're reasonable.)
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  • Avatar for Lonecow #13 Lonecow 8 months ago
    So my boss brought over his step kids to work yesterday. They are probably around age 10. People always bring their kids to my office cause it's filled with toys.. Lots of Nintendo stuff. Big poster of Zelda. Mario figures all along a shelf.

    The first thing they say when they enter my office was, "Wow cool, that's Samus!" About my Samus figma on my desk. I was literally stunned, that out of all the things, Samus, who hasn't had a new game, for most if not all of their life was the first thing they noticed.

    That story really doesn't have a point other than I thought it was cool. But it did remind me that it isn't just middle aged people or even milleniuls who are wanting new Metroid games, it's kids too. Nintendo needs to start really looking at their IP and realize what their fans want, because your third point is key. The main reason we buy Nintendo systems are for Nintendo games, and these last two years have been pathetic.

    Too many damn Kirby games. Enough with Kirby. Enough with Animal Crossing.

    Now I am sure the reason the games have gotten so pathetic is because they have shifted everything to Switch, and Wii U games, like Metroid and F-Zero were moved over. That is my hope. But if when they finally reveal the games in development for this system and it is more Mario Party, Animal Crossing, and Kirby, I won't say I won't buy it because I buy all their systems, but they are going to have a hard time finding an audience again. They need to step up their game.
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #14 Mr.Spo 8 months ago
    Japan, price and battery will make or break Switch. As you note, there are more avenues for support outside of the highest end of home console development for Switch.

    If Switch is affordable and has a decent battery life, it stands a big chance of becoming the heir apparent to 3DS in the market that 3DS has utterly dominated: Japan. Wii U, PS4, Xbox One and Vita sales combined in Japan are 10 million; 3DS alone is at 21 million. Switch already has (we know/can assume in some cases) the support of many of Japan's biggest brands, and the portability Japanese gamers crave. Dragon Quest, Mario Kart and Splatoon are more or less confirmed. Animal Crossing and Pokemon are safe bets. Monster Hunter and Final Fantasy are rumoured. Market leading success in Japan allows Nintendo to keep Switch on the market in the West, allows Nintendo to keep supporting the system with big software, it leads to steady third party support from Japanese publishers, and it creates a market big enough for plenty of indies to jump on board. In this scenario, Switch won't set the world on fire, but it will find an audience bigger than that of Wii U.

    If Switch fails in Japan, then we do have another Wii U on our hands. Nintendo need to act quickly to demonstrate Switch isn't just a home console on the go, it's a whole new ball game for portable gaming too. It's a home for all Nintendo games, home, portable and retro. It's a home for some Western games. It's a home for Japan's biggest franchises, and its middle-tier portable franchises. It's a home for indies and mobile hits. Switch doesn't need to rely on triple AAA Western support to get plenty of software.

    It's really important to remember the Japanese market when considering how Switch will work. Home consoles are niche in Japan, but 3DS has sold better than PSP or GBA (both incredibly strong sellers in Japan) even with an enormous mobile market occupying many Japanese gamers. Portables have become niche in the West in the face of mobile, but 3DS has still carved out a profitable market for Nintendo. Switch doesn't fit in any one modern gaming trend, but it doesn't necessarily need to. If it provides enough overlap, at a good price, with a decent battery life and plenty of Nintendo software, it can do far better than Wii U.

    EDIT: I'd also point out, unlike Wii U, Switch has support for two of the most popular contemporary gaming engines--Unreal 4 and Unity--out of the gate. Scalable engines and huge increases in the efficiency of modern mobile chipsets (Switch uses a variant of Pascal, according to Nvidia's blog) could mean we still see a number of Western multi-platform titles. I would expect Nintendo will push more for Skylanders, Lego Dimensions and Just Dance than they will anything else. Along with sport titles, that can round out Switch's library. Will Nintendo need the highest end console games when their own franchises--even on Wii U and 3DS--can sell 5-15 million copies per outing?

    Finally, on the point about kids. If 500 million people play Super Mario Run, and 10% become aware of Switch, that's 50 million more people interested in your new hardware. If only 1% of the Super Mario Run consumers migrate onto Switch, then that's 5 million more consumers than Nintendo would have had otherwise. I also think the appeal of a tablet two kids can use at once, or you and your kid can play together, will be a big deal for parents next Christmas. You don't need to convert many mobile gamers onto Switch when the mobile market is so huge.Edited October 2016 by Mr.Spo
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #15 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    @lonecow Don't tell that to the Animal Crossing fandom. They are large and they are vicious! I never understood the appeal of Animal Crossing, but it has a loyal, fervent fanbase.
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #16 Mr.Spo 8 months ago
    @lonecow The last two core Animal Crossing games on DS and 3DS both sold over 10 million copies. The last thing Nintendo needs to do is drop Animal Crossing, because they lose a big system seller if they do.

    They need to stop the quick, cheap spin-offs yes, but they're a result of the hole Wii U is in and the insufficient resources they have to support Wii U, 3DS and prepare for Switch at the same time.Edited October 2016 by Mr.Spo
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  • Avatar for themblan #17 themblan 8 months ago
    Nintendo is trying to keep and grow their diehard fanbase, instead of grabbing grandmothers who are in it because it's the biggest fad of the moment.

    Because Sony and MS are the same, the customers will flipflop every generation.
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  • Avatar for Whinybabyclub #18 Whinybabyclub 8 months ago
    I'm already out of the hype race for this one. Barely play my 3DS or WiiU compared to my PC, PS4 and X1. I certainly don't have the room, the patience, or the money to gamble on whether or not Nintendo creates a system that won't be barren in 2018. There honestly wasn't a single game on either system that made me feel like I was justified in the amount of money I spent on them, and the gameplay videos from BoTW aren't looking to change that either. My only consideration for a purchase would've been BC for both systems, but since they already confirmed no, and they have yet to prove they can provide a competent unified account system, I'm steering far clear of Nintendo for what will probably be the rest of the decade.
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  • Avatar for Lonecow #19 Lonecow 8 months ago
    @Mr.Spo I'm fine with Animal Crossing as a normal release like their other games. An animal Crossing Party game? That Happy Home Designer game? Those kinds of things are a waste of resources. Same with Project Steam, the 50 Kirby games we have gotten in the last year, Metroid Federation Force. Everyone and their Nintendog could tell none of these games would be successful, yet, valuable time and money was spent on them? Why? For what market?

    The animal Crossing ones I can understand why they got as far as long as they did, because yeah, like you said Animal Crossing is huge. But Nintendo used to have the foresight to say, "no this isn't working" and cut it before they wasted resources and money on something they knew would fail.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #20 ojinnvoltz 8 months ago
    Who cares if it's a big success. All the fanboys will buy it and all the first party games. With their mobile endeavors as well, Nintendo will remain in the black and will continue making Zelda and Mario games until the next generation. And the cycle will remain until we die.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #21 Stealth20k 8 months ago
    This system will be mega successful. They are hitting all the right notes.
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  • Avatar for Galgomite #22 Galgomite 8 months ago
    "Nintendo risks the Switch being the worst of two worlds—neither as powerful as a dedicated console nor as flexible as a tablet." Exactly. This device will not change Nintendo's fortunes.
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  • Avatar for pokefanboy87 #23 pokefanboy87 8 months ago
    As someone who has owned every Nintendo handheld since the GBA SP, I'm gping to wait it out and see what games come out for it. I' optimistic about the Switch's success because Nintendo has always done handhelds right. Let's see what else is revealed before launch. We can only speculate so much from a three minute video.
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #24 daverhodus 8 months ago
    Aren't most games made for PC now and made to scale to PCs along the lines of Switch?
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #25 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    @Galgomite I'd take the option of portability over top of the line specs. Do I want Skyrim with the the prettiest output or do I want Skyrim that is not as pretty but can take with me? As an example. I'm choosing the latter.

    People get to hang up on the arms race of specs and forget that it's about the games and playability.

    It's funny how things change. Back in the day, itndidnt matter that the GameCube or Xbox had greater visual oomph than the PS2. People clammored that it was about the software.

    Now it's a reversal it seems. It's about the power. If I was concerned with power I'd build a nice gaming PC. That's always been the case. I just want to play good games and if I can do it on the go and at home with one console, that is awesome.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #26 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    @Galgomite I'd take the option of portability over top of the line specs. Do I want Skyrim with the the prettiest output or do I want Skyrim that is not as pretty but can take with me? As an example. I'm choosing the latter.

    People get to hang up on the arms race of specs and forget that it's about the games and playability.

    It's funny how things change. Back in the day, itndidnt matter that the GameCube or Xbox had greater visual oomph than the PS2. People clammored that it was about the software.

    Now it's a reversal it seems. It's about the power. If I was concerned with power I'd build a nice gaming PC. That's always been the case. I just want to play good games and if I can do it on the go and at home with one console, that is awesome.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #27 Kat.Bailey 8 months ago
    @Modern-Clix If the Switch isn't powerful enough, it'll be locked out of a lot of major franchises, which will hurt its library. So it is about the softwareEdited October 2016 by Kat.Bailey
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  • Avatar for RedSwir1 #28 RedSwir1 8 months ago
    @retr0gamer I pretty much completely agree with the article here, but also with the first paragraph of retr0gamer's comment here. As someone who plays multiplats on a PC with a high-end card, the only other machine that's really been valuable to me over the last few years for gaming has been the 3DS. The Switch for me is first and foremost a successor to that. I got a Wii U and a PS4 for the handful of exclusives each one has, but each one kind of feels vestigial. Until x86/Windows handhelds (like the GDPWin) really take off, good handheld gaming is going to be the only big thing I can't get on a PC.

    Nintendo would be right to first and foremost try to get the Switch to be the 3DS successor, because handhelds have been Nintendo's bedrock to fall back on ever since it started losing market share in the N64 years, and especially in these times as the company has started to lose money. If the Switch somehow fails in that regard, it could hurt Nintendo more than anything that's come before. Get Monster Hunter, Pokemon, and DQXI out and Nintendo's mostly home free on that end. On the "console" side I personally don't mind the Switch being "the Japanese games console." It would kinda make its library resemble the SNES somewhat.

    As for any western games, you can at least say the Switch will have the only portable version of Skyrim. That effect may help a lot with super mainstream games like NBA 2K, and we think EA's probably gonna try at least one Madden and one FIFA game for the Switch right? A real holy grail would be getting the only portable version of GTA V (being originally a last-gen game, it's not as taxing as the latest Call of Duty).
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  • Avatar for AstroDemon #29 AstroDemon 8 months ago
    I think Nintendo will continue to have a mainstream appeal for families, as it will be a "safer" place to play for kids than the Xbox and PS4. I think Nintendo wants plenty of M-rated games on their platform, but not at the expense of keeping their ecosystem child-friendly.

    Plenty of parents will buy the Switch because of the price, likely the durability of the equipment, and no need to adjust parental controls for the most part. I think between the families buying it and hardcore gamers and Nintendo fans, they'll sell a bunch of these, but it's hard to say whether it'll sell better than the Wii U or not.

    They are already doing a better job marketing it than what was done for the Wii U.
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  • Avatar for orient #30 orient 8 months ago
    We don't know what the power difference is yet, so it's hard to agree with the article without this crucial piece of the puzzle. If it's more of an overclocked Wii U then I agree completely. But if it comes closer to Xbox One territory, I can see 3rd parties supporting it with their big games, if it sells well enough.
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  • Avatar for Galgomite #31 Galgomite 8 months ago
    @Modern-Clix it isn't about power, exactly, it's about how likely it is to be purchased. Every child and adult has either a smart phone or tablet or both. Everyone that wants impressive game experiences has either a console or high end PC. The switch will replace neither of these things, and so it's going to be the odd man out. It's even launching after Christmas, after every child who wanted a tablet just got a new one, and everyone interested in high-end gaming has bought a console already. Game developers will already be responsible for a PC, Xbox, and PlayStation version of all their AAA titles. Even if Switch is using a Tegra X2, developers will be in the position of porting titles designed for strong hardware onto weak hardware. It won't be about looks, it will be about running the title at all. And unless Nintendo pulls off the unlikely miracle of being a huge seller prior to Christmas 2017, third parties will have abandoned it already.
    I'm not even being exhaustive in all the ways that this is a bad idea. The very concept of console games on a powerful portable device has been a failed one, from the turbo express, to the PlayStation portable, to the vita. The runaway successes will be $10 Indie titles. Dated PC ports will be technically impressive but won't move units. The damn thing doesn't even have a proper D pad for Virtual Console games.
    None of this matters if all you want are amazing Nintendo titles. But I think Nintendo was aiming higher this time, and it's not going to work out.
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  • Avatar for I-m-not-Daredevil #32 I-m-not-Daredevil 8 months ago
    I think the Switch is going to do well. It's a home console and a (big) portable, but what people aren't realising is that it's also a portable home console. It's gonna be great to take to mates houses and holidays etc. I'm pretty stoked for it!
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #33 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    Well the concept of console games on a portable has failed because as has been said, with the Vita or PSP for example, is that they offered console like experiences, but not console experiences. That was the mistake. Turbo Xpress is not a good example because one, ridiculously expensive, terrible screen, and it was not its own unique thing. It was separate from the already failing TG16. You had to buy both if you wanted home and portability. I'm a huge fan of the Vita, but it's best games are unique ones that don't try to water down a console experience.

    The other thing is that these days, because I can't hog the TV like I could when I lived alone, this offers a solution. I play my 3DS more than I do my PS4 or Wii U because of that, and I have plenty of games that offer meaty experiences like I could on a console. Yes, the trade off is that games obviously are not as visually impressive, but if I am hooked into the game, then I don't see the problem. At the end I'm there for the games, which is why I already have 40 hours into DQ7 and previously had over 80 in Persona 4 Golden.

    Now we mention power due to developers and software, but at the end of the day they are a business. If there is user support on it, they will support it. Which is why the PS2 got so much support despite being a weak machine compared to the competition. Developer le can't ignore the user base, which is why despite a weak start, the 3DS ended up with an amazing library from third parties. That is the important thing.

    If the Switch takes off and we can get the same output from third parties as they have the 3DS, then that would be fantastic. I'm at the point where I don't care about ports. I can play a port on the PC or PS4. I want unique third party output I can't get on a PS4.

    Now we mention tablet and phone gaming. Yes, it's a big market. It's not going anywhere. 3DS did not sell as much as the DS due to the mobile market, but a fragmentation does not meant that gaming enthusiasts are no more. They are two different ways to game. It's as if saying traditional gaming will die because of VR. No, it won't. It's a different market, and that's fine.

    I don't like mobile gaming myself, but I know plenty of people that do and they have zero interest on handheld gaming or console gaming period. That's not who this is directed to. There are plenty of people who like traditional gaming only or who like both mobile gaming and traditional. It is not one or the other because they are vastly different experiences. My daughter plays games all the time on my smart phone, but she also plays the Wii U and the 3DS.

    The point is that there is a market for casual gamers who are happy playing a 5 minute session here or there or in the backseat of the car to entertain themselves and never touch a controller or buy a console, and there is a market for enthusiasts.

    If done right, of course. There is a market for people like me and others who are enthusiasts, so why should we be ignored just because there's smart phone gaming which we feel is a poor substitute? Somebody has to market to us and to me, the Switch is promising since I don't have to buy two separate Nintendo consoles.
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #34 hiptanaka 8 months ago
    @Modern-Clix @Kat.Bailey It's not just about performance. Game engines can often scale pretty well, from budget PCs to consoles to high-end PCs with the latest GPUs. Less performance requires more developer effort, and that effort is only worth it if there's a payoff (large install base, for example). Switch supporting UE4 and Unity is a promising start for ease of scalability.

    Of course, if it's way below the current AAA baseline (PS4/XB1), some games simply won't scale, regardless of effort.Edited 5 times. Last edited October 2016 by hiptanaka
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #35 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    @hiptanaka And I am personally fine with that. I don't expect, for example, Red Dead on it, but I can play that on my PS4.

    Personally, I want original 3rd Party exclusives. I got so much joy from my 3DS and Vita playing so many 3rd party Japanese games that I felt I was reliving a modern take on the PS1/SNES era.

    I know it is wishful thinking and it won't happen, but look at Persona 5.

    If I had the choice between the prettier PS4 version or a Switch version that looks like the PS3 version (which is still darn pretty), I will choose Switch.

    I would be able to finish it properly. I cannot wait for Persona 5, but considering I share the TV with my wife, and that she also games, it will take me 6 months to finish up Persona 5. The ability to be able to switch (Ha!) between TV and handheld would be a godsend to me.
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  • Avatar for docexe #36 docexe 8 months ago
    The Switch becoming a niche console wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing provided said niche is big enough and profitable enough to be sustainable. With too many critical details still in the unknown, the jury is still out on that. Given the nature of the console, my best bet right now is for it to essentially carry on from the 3DS and Vita as the target console of some Japanese developers.

    I also don’t really expect much support from Western developers, outside of some ports of old or recently released games during the launch lineup to “test the waters”. Afterwards, the most I expect (and that’s only if the Switch reaches critical mass) are ports of the typical annually released sports games (from EA and 2k), party games (Just Dance and Just Sing from Ubisoft) and family friendly games (Skylanders from Activision plus Lego games from Warner).
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  • Avatar for RedSwir1 #37 RedSwir1 8 months ago
    @Modern-Clix I would also choose Switch over PS4 if I had that choice. Persona 5 in particular seems like the PS4 version is literally gonna be the PS3 version in 1080p, so we know the Switch would be able to run that game with the exact same graphics. That, on a handheld, would be an impressive technical feat in itself.

    Overall, it's only about the hardware because the hardware is part of what gets the software. Unfortunately Nintendo's other problem is proving its platforms are a home for the kinds of games the big western 3rd party publishers sell. I don't think Switch is going to be able to prove that. I don't see mainline Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Final Fantasy XV being released on it. I don't see it competing for the same audience as PS4 and Xbox One.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #38 Modern-Clix 8 months ago
    @RedSwir1 You're right. It's not competing for the same audience.I think that is okay. I just wish many people would go back to why we became gaming enthusiasts in the first place: the games.

    Unfortunately, I see too much emphasis on top end specs instead of gameplay.

    I like pretty visuals too, but, I don't know. I never once found myself playing one of my Wii U games and thought it looked bad or it should be on the PS4. The games look gorgeous and have amazing art style.

    With the exception of a few third party titles, my Wii U was pretty much the Nintendo and Indie machine. That is the way that cookie crumbled.

    Then I ask myself, is that so bad? I mean, you would think all these people had a financial stake in Nintendo the way I see such saltiness about it, even without owning the console to begin with.

    Not counting my digital purchases or my Indie games, I have 22 physical Wii U releases and I enjoyed the hell out of all of them.

    Not gonna say I would love great third party support. Of course I do, but have yet to regret any of my Nintendo console purchases. I got so much play from them.
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