Earlier today, Nintendo finally took the wraps off their new console; and as we expected, it will be a hybrid portable console. But are we excited? Do we think it will succeed where the Wii U failed? Here's what we think so far.
Hi. I'm the guy who took a Wii U with him in his carry-on luggage to Tokyo in 2013 so I could plug it into the plane's under-seat power and work on a Wind Waker HD review. I've been predominately a portable gamer since about 2001. I have a hard time finishing console games because I hate sitting in the same place in front of a television for more than an hour at a time, even though I enjoy pretty graphics. Switch was made for me, specifically. I'm pretty sure of it.
There's still so much we don't know about Switch, but it doesn't matter to me; I'm on board. I don't even really care that it's a Nintendo console — that's a plus, since I like Nintendo's games, but I would be all-in for a system built around this adaptable, dynamic setup regardless of who manufactured it. I wrote a year ago about how I expected Switch (formerly NX) to work along the lines of Apple's PowerBook Duo, and that was as much wishful thinking as it was hard-and-fast wisdom. And now, here were are. My wishes came true.
So, yeah. I'll be preordering my Switch the instant it goes up for sale. It doesn't have to be perfect — it's already closer to my ultimate ideal of a gaming system than any console that has ever existed.
So the rumors are true: Switch is indeed a hybrid-handheld. It's a smart move by Nintendo, essentially creating a games machine that has its own unique appeal compared to the dedicated set-top systems that are currently dominating this generation.
However, the Switch reveal video left me with a lot of questions. Battery life is one. The Tegra processor can be a bit of a power hog, so I'm interested to see what Nvidia has done to make it more efficient for Nintendo's new machine. Another one is the operating system. Looking at the video, it seems like Switch is a cartridge-based machine. What sized carts are they, and how much additional memory does the system have for downloading digital games? I'm assuming the machine will have virtual console functionality, but will owners be able to migrate their collection from older systems, or will they have to buy the games all over again? And then there's price. If Switch costs more than $200, I think that'll result in the system having a somewhat specialized appeal. Under $200, and it has the chance to be more of a mass-market machine.
But really, it's all about the games. We saw a few in the video, but what of broader support by the industry in general? Nintendo has touted a list of current partners who are lined up to develop Switch games, and so far it's looking pretty good. I'm just wondering what kind of games we'll be seeing, though. Will they be more mainstream releases, or smaller, indie-type titles? Until I know what they are, it's difficult for me to get truly excited. Bottom line, I'll be playing the waiting game. I'll be ready to buy a Switch as soon as it offers killer games that I really want to play.
The Nintendo Switch is everything the rumors said it was, so I'm happy with it. Nintendo still has to nail down a few things: How much does it cost? What's the battery life like? What happens with Virtual Console? I can't act like I'm not going to buy one though.
As I've said previously, this is the culmination of a few different niches. The Nintendo Switch will be the full focus of all of Nintendo's first and second party efforts, meaning they no longer have to split their time between two platforms.
Second, there are a number of Japanese developers who have maxed out the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, but lack the resources to really play in the Xbox One/PlayStation 4/PC side of the pond. This is the next step for those devs and you can see that in the list of developers, which includes Nippon Ichi, Spike Chunsoft, Inti Creates, and Tokyo RPG Factory. It also allows companies like Square Enix to bring their premium mobile titles to another audience.
Finally, the full support of Unity, Unreal Engine, and CryEngine means we may also see a number of independent Steam developers on the Switch. For a while, the Vita was the recipient of many indies looking for a new platform and if Nintendo plays its cards right, Switch could equally be in that boat.
I like all of these areas and I love the idea of them coming together. I'm not seeing myself use the more modular aspects of the system. Trying to use either of the Joy Cons as a single controller seems absurd to me. But a new, more powerful portable with some Nintendo love? Who can say no to that?
I see a fair amount of positivity in these replies, as well as some questions. As for me, I'll admit that I'm a little skeptical that it will get the third-party support it will need to thrive. How powerful is the Switch? How much memory will it have? Are cartridges a good solution given how much games have grown? Will it support HDR lighting and the other bells and whistles we've come to expect from our consoles? These are all pertinent questions.
Then again, maybe Nintendo really is past the point of competing directly with the Xbox One and PS4. In embracing portability, Nintendo is truly playing to their strengths, as well as the desires of the Japanese market. If it is indeed the true successor to the 3DS, it stands to be the market leader for Japanese RPGs going forward. Certainly, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, and Monster Hunter will help in that regard.
More than that, we're in kind of a post-triple A world now. One of this year's biggest hits was Stardew Valley—a game that could run on the Super Nintendo. Mobile games are dominant. If Nintendo has robust indie support in addition to their usual offerings, there's no reason to believe that it will suffer a content gap nearly as acute as that of the Wii U.
Whether the Switch ultimately catches on will have a lot to do with its battery life, its price point, and its launch lineup. If it can show out of the gate that it can compete, then Nintendo may truly be on to something with the Switch. As for me, I plan on picking up a Switch on Day 1. Portable NBA 2K and Skyrim? I know what I'm going to be playing on my future flights to Japan.
I'm excited for the prospect of any new Nintendo hardware, if only because I love Nintendo-developed games. That said, the Switch teaser isn't necessarily made for people like me. From my perspective, the pitch amounted to: "Now what if you could—stick with me, here—take your video games on the go?" I get it, though. Since the rise of smartphones, portable gaming has been ghettoized more than ever before, and Nintendo needs to win back the mindshare of folks who don't see things like the 3DS and Vita as "real" gaming systems. (Even if these people are unimaginably and catastrophically wrong.) Still, even if we've been giving very little explicit information, I'm on board with the Switch: I already do a ton of gaming on my 3DS, and having the choice between playing on a TV and a small screen whenever I want sounds cool as hell. I mean, sure, that's what the Wii U was supposed to do, but, in retrospect, it feels like a half-step to the Switch's giant leap.
I’m a Nintendo fangirl, so I’d buy Nintendo’s new system even if the box it came in required you to dig through dog poop with no gloves on. That said, I’m glad the Switch appears to be a solid investment -- and that the trailer contains no indication I will have to squelch through dog refuse to start playing one.
One thing that’s nice about the Switch is there’s no confusion over what it is, or what it does. The Wii U’s debut left people baffled; people came away thinking it was a mere extension to the Wii, not a whole new console. There’s no such confusion with the Switch. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it has a whole new name constructed from all-new parts that hints you can use it to hit the behind of a willing partner.
What I’m getting at is, Skyrim and full-fledged Zelda wherever, whenever? Sure, I’m down. Goodbye life, you were kind of fun.