Why I Would Probably Wait on the Switch if I Weren't in the Press

I'm pretty excited for Nintendo's new console but...

Opinion by Kat Bailey, .

I received my confirmation that my Switch is on the way today with mixed feelings. There was a lot of excitement, but ambivalence as well.

I have a Switch coming because, as a member of the press, I'm obligated to get every major console as soon as possible for coverage purposes. With our review unit going to Mike, I sucked it up and dropped $350 on a Switch and a copy of Zelda. But the moment I hit the "confirm" button on my order, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I knew at that moment that I probably would have waited until the fall to get a Switch if I weren't in the press.

Our Dreams for Virtual Console on Nintendo Switch

As well as more grounded speculation about the form it's actually likely to take.

In the months since, my personal excitement has grown as I've had a chance to test the system for myself, as well as take a closer look at Zelda. Flaws aside, it's a neat little platform, and I'm sure I will have a lot of fun with it.

But would I buy it at launch? Ehhhh.

The Joy-Con issue looms over everything

It's not being talked about quite as much now, but the Switch's Joy-Con desync issue looms over everything. While Mike hasn't had as many problems as others, it's a pervasive problem that has affected multiple outlets. Today, Digital Foundry confirmed that the Day One patch, which rolls out many of the Switch's initial online features, does not resolve the desync issue.

Nintendo has been mostly silent on the issue, but they won't be able to avoid it much longer with the Switch about to reach the general public. It should be noted that this sort of thing happens all the time during console launches. Sony consoles in particular are notorious for their launch unit hardware hiccups, and everyone remembers the infamous red rings of death with the Xbox 360. It's usually better to just wait for the first hardware revision, no matter which console you buy. The Switch is no different.

There's no Virtual Console

Virtual Console is far from perfect, but that hasn't stopped me from loading up my Wii, 3DS, and Wii U with tons of old games (I think I've purchased Super Mario World four or five times now across different platforms). Sure, they're just ROMs, but sometimes it's nice to be able to dip into Ninja Gaiden or Super Mario Bros. 3 and feel the warm fuzzies.

The Switch's lack of Virtual Console at launch isn't exactly a deal breaker, particularly with Zelda sucking up so much of the oxygen; but Zelda isn't going to last forever, and it would be nice to be able to take a break and jump into a VC game from time to time. From the sound of it, the best we can hope for in the near-term is Nintendo's online service, which will offer free retro downloads each month for less than $30 a year. But as someone who never plays online with Nintendo consoles, I'm unlikely to get it. In the meantime, Virtual Console probably isn't getting a full rollout until this fall, when the Switch itself figures to be more mature. All the more reason to wait.

Zelda is on Wii U

Here's the real kicker: Breath of the Wild is going to be on Wii U. Sure, it'll look better on Switch (my recollection is that it's a fair bit clearer), but not so much better that it'll ruin my enjoyment of the Wii U version. This isn't exactly a standard definition versus high defition situation. Funnily enough, there's actually precedent for this, as I played Twilight Princess on the GameCube rather than the Wii. And you know what? I'm kind of glad I did. Twilight Princess really deserved to be enjoyed without the novelty motion controls.

Anyway, my point is that Zelda won't be so different on the Wii U. Being the kind of game it is, I'm also more likely to play it on my television, neutralizing one of the Switch's main selling points (though it'll be nice to have the option to move to my armchair and play with a cup of tea). If Zelda were only available on the Switch, it would be a whole different story. But it's not, so here we are.

The bulk of the games won't be out until fall

This is a broader issues with most launches. Even the PlayStation 4, which by most measures has been well-supported throughout its life, didn't get a truly killer exclusive until Bloodborne came around in early 2015. My old rule of thumb was that I would wait until a console had at least five must-own games before I decided to invest. The Switch has one in Zelda, but the rest are mostly party games (1-2 Switch) or indies that are available on other platforms.

Happily, things will get better this fall. More indie games will becomes available, Splatoon 2 and Mario Odyssey will arrive, and the Switch's library will begin to look more robust. But in the very near term, there's not going to be a lot to play on the thing outside of Zelda—a game that isn't even a platform exclusive. There's a reason it's being called a "soft launch."

And then there's everything else. I've already had plenty to say about the platform's comparatively high price, the ludicrously expensive accessories (which are completely sold out), the poor battery life, and the extremely limited storage. Just today, Nintendo revealed that the Switch will utilize Friend Codes, a system that should have been retired five years ago.

The fact of the matter is that there are more great games than ever; and even if you're a Nintendo diehard, the 3DS has an enormous library that is still well worth exploring. It's more than possible to wait on the Switch. In fact, if you're planning on standing in line at a midnight launch (cough, Nadia, cough), I would advise it.

But hey, I don't blame you if you're succumbing to the hype. Console launches are exciting, and the high price of admission includes being a part of the hype and the conversation. Hell, I just spent an entire article highlighting the Switch's issues, and I'm still pretty hyped to dig in to Zelda. There's really nothing like breaking into a new console for the first time.

But that feeling will still be there in the fall. Or even next year. And when you break it open, you'll have a much more fully-featured console and way more games to play. Sure, we all have our own preferences, and some people are just early adopters. But as for me, I'd probably wait.

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Comments 35

  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #1 SIGGYZtar A year ago
    Nadia, you are definitely brave to stand in line tonight, but it's normal weather up there I guess.

    I can wait to get it. Zelda sounds cool, but I'm not a big enough fan to salivate for it on day one. Besides, my Vita still beats with the fiery blood of a SRW protagonist.Edited March 2017 by SIGGYZtar
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #2 Kat.Bailey A year ago
    @SIGGYZtar She'll be in a mall. She'll be fine.
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  • Avatar for camchow #3 camchow A year ago
    I feel this. I want so badly to play Zelda but as someone who never got around to buying a Wii U it's either pay 350-430 (pro controller) or buying a used Wii U I guess. Idk, neither option appeals right now. I have a secret evil wish that Nintendo would just drop the 1 or 2 games I want on other consoles or PC but I know that's ridiculous. Man I just really want Zelda BotW.

    Funny enough I had originally thought I would be getting one day 1 but after that Switch Nintendo Direct I was really caught off guard of how few games the system was going to have. The Direct turned me from day one buy to wait until later. For now I'll wait. I have Horizon Zero Dawn and Mass Effect + Persona 4 are just around the corner. Better use of my money for now. Hopefully I can justify the price later on.

    But damn do I really want to play Zelda...
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #4 The-Challenger A year ago
    I asked your exact question to a couple of my family members. One said I should wait, the other said I should wait and that I may be addicted to video games. So I think I'm going to wait it out. I usually never buy consoles on day one (I prefer to wait for a bundle/sale), and just because I have the cash doesn't mean I need to spend it.

    And I have a Wii U, which only makes my choice all the more clear.
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #5 Jonnyboy407 A year ago
    Nah. The hype is real! Buy buy buy! ;)

    Interesting read and fair concerns.
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  • Avatar for sketchlayerjosh #6 sketchlayerjosh A year ago
    The idea of the Switch is great, and Zelda looks real good, but...I can't. Not after the Wii U. Buying a console at launch is a show of trust. Trust that there will be enough good games over the system's lifespan to justify the purchase, and I got burned on the last Nintendo console. To me, a system is worth it if it manages to release ten great games, and the Wii U had, what, six? Mario Kart, 3D World, Mario Maker, Smash, Splatoon, and Bayonetta? The rest were re-releases and *okay* platformers, like Yoshi and DK. That's not great for five years. You're almost spending less on the games than for the system itself at that point. And they *never* dropped the price? Seems odd.

    I want to believe. Mario Odyssey looks really fun! Not for a while, at the very least.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #7 Modern-Clix A year ago
    All valid points, Kat. So not going to disagree there. I think it's a question of whether you want to be an early adopter or not. I usually am not. I think I'm doing it this time because I am reliving my launch excitement of my youth with Dreamcast and GameCube. Oh and Zelda on the go!

    But, to also be fair, the reason I say it's a fair point what you just said, is because the same applies to the PS3, Wii, PS4 launches. They were lackluster. I skipped those launches for lack of compelling software and price. Sure Wii had Twilight Princess but I had my GameCube. But even the PS2 launch was meh to me until a few months later.

    The OG Xbox had a solid launch too, but I knew I would eventually want a PS2 so I didn't want to blow all this money. To be fair, I did eventually buy a preowned Xbox to play Buffy, KoTOR, and Jet Set Radio 2. I traded it in when I was done with them
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  • Avatar for Namevah #8 Namevah A year ago
    I can't blame anyone for holding off on buying new game consoles. Not just Switch, but any of 'em. Logically speaking, why should we be early investors? The upsides of sticking with the older hardware always outweighs whatever the new hotness offers, and yet a healthy chunk of us buys into the hype. I'd sooner encourage people to buy a Wii U (and its underappreciated library) instead of a Switch.

    That being said, my Switch is arriving tomorrow. I admit, I'm weak to the hype.Edited March 2017 by Namevah
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  • Avatar for Tebunker #9 Tebunker A year ago
    Kat I always appreciate your thoughts and impressions.

    I even tend to agree with you here. All of the switch early adopters are in effect beta testers. They needed this out for fiscal reasons and it needs another 6 months of work.

    The os quirks look like they are stemming from anti-piracy matters, which is silly since wii, ds and 3ds got broken and still sold a metric ton.

    They made that weird reversal on NNID and went back to friend codes, which were retired. Great they are giving other options to add friends but it seems they bailed on NNID prematurely.

    But I do have issue with your indies comment because I woukd argue it is something good they are doing. They can do better but after watching the nindies stuff thebl other day this system is getting plenty if great and new indies this year. I honestly feel you are short changing them on this, especially when you contrast their Nindie thing with the earlier USGamer article about Nintendo and Indie relationships.

    Otherwise, I really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!
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  • Avatar for Thad #10 Thad A year ago
    I'm hoping the Wii U gets a price drop, but starting to worry that it might not. Guess we'll see.

    $200 for a refurb direct from Nintendo isn't a bad deal, but it isn't a very good one either.
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  • Avatar for Tebunker #11 Tebunker A year ago
    @Thad sorry bud but there just isn't enough stock to even justify a clearance or price drop. That $200 refurb is probably it.

    At that point take a leap and get Switch for $100 more and get Zelda and Mk8 and a splatoon sequel etc and you have most of the best of wiiu off the rip.
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  • Avatar for Thetick #12 Thetick A year ago
    I totally agree. I don't mind the price, but i got my wii u at launch and it was collecting dust for a long time. I did snatch a Zelda special edition, cause they didn't seem to last until the end of the year.
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #13 chaoticBeat A year ago
    Handheld Breath of the Wild though... O.O

    That my hands, truly amazing.

    I am holding off on some PS4 greats right now and continuing to go strong on Nioh to be able to afford the Switch and give Zelda the focus it deserves.

    I fell for the hype and life is short so if I enjoy it then, what else is there?

    edit: you know, besides life purpose, relationships, meditation, walking my dog etcetcetcEdited 2 times. Last edited March 2017 by chaoticBeat
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  • Avatar for Jaegermeist3r #14 Jaegermeist3r A year ago
    I wanted to buy the switch. But Nintendo made some wrong decisions for the launch of their new console and as I keep reading the news there are more and more details that bug me.
    If I want to play Zelda I can get it for my Wii U. The rest of the launch line up does not convince me to spend 330€ right of the gate (without a game or a preferred pro controller).My purchase will wait until Nintendo fixed the problems, adjusted the prices and released more games.
    It's not the concept that keeps me from buying it right at the start (a handheld, which can be connected easily to a TV that's awesome!). It's the sum of the problems, which keep piling up and up and unfortunately, for me they do not outweigh the strengths.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #15 MetManMas A year ago
    All the more power to anyone who wants to get it at launch, but I can wait to get a Nintendo Switch. If I really wanna play Zelda right now I can get it on Wii U, and I'm not too interested in the exclusives available for the platform currently or in the next few months.

    1-2 Switch looks like a pack-in some crazy person decided to charge $50 for, Arms and Super Bomberman R don't really scream "system seller" to me, I'm in no big rush to play another Mario Kart expansion pak or a Splatoon sequel, the games I'm really interested in (Mario) are a ways off, and a lot of the 3rd party stuff is things I can get for the PS4 I already own.

    Speaking of the PS4, 2017's been really good to the platform so far. I already have trouble picking out games with the loads of indies and weekly sales, and 2017's added more and more games that interest me. Resident Evil 7, Yakuza 0, 2064: Read Only Memories, Nioh, Night in the Woods, and Torment: Tides of Numenera are all games I'd like to play at some point, and there's more coming.

    Also got a Galileo Pro as a gift recently, so I can add tons of Android adventure games to my WANT list, too.Edited March 2017 by MetManMas
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #16 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    It also doesn't hurt that 2017 is The Year of The Gamining either. Lots of choice.
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  • Avatar for TerryTrowbridge #17 TerryTrowbridge A year ago
    If I know I'm going to get one, why not get it first and over with. I'm sure my Switch will collect some dust over the summer but that's what other consoles are for:)
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  • Avatar for I-m-not-Daredevil #18 I-m-not-Daredevil A year ago
    I totally agree.. But I bought one anyway :) The system kinda sells itself - it's just so neat!
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #19 SuperShinobi A year ago
    PS4 hardware issues at launch affected only 0,4% of the consoles released, so it was a very minor issue compared to the apparently widespread issues with the Switch and the widespread RROD failures of the Xbox 360. The PS3's YLOD issue was similarly not nearly as widespread.
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #20 daverhodus A year ago
    It would be hard for me to play Zelda on Wii U.

    1. I hate the GamePad and I dislike the Wii U Pro Controller
    2. The game looks and runs better on Switch. Obviously Nintendo has put more effort into the Switch version.
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  • I used to buy launch equipment all the time, but I really can't with Nintendo now. Zelda looks like a fine game, but it'll still be fine when 2018 dawns and Mario is there alongside it. Nintendo is their own best representative for games on their platforms, and they can only create so many games at a time. Nobody would look at the Switch's lineup for the following year and go, "oh, dear, the backlog..."

    I'm not crapping on that, by the way. If you're a gamer with limited time or a strenuous job, that kind of periodic release schedule is actually ideal. I'm already invested in everything else, though, so for right now it looks like further hardware costs for minimal payoff at launch.

    I paid $400 for a Wii at launch, passed on Wii U entirely, and I'm in the middle on Switch. I'll spend this year with Mass Effect, Persona, and numerous indie games on PC. I could easily see a hardware revision in the realm of battery life, and if that doesn't happen for a couple years there will be bundled software to support it's price eventually.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #22 donkeyintheforest A year ago
    the controller issue is def worrying to me. I kinda hope it's fixable, unlike the dead pixels that were so worrisome in handhelds of generations past. At least they're detachable and I bet there will be some kind of solution before too long.
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  • Avatar for himuradrew #23 himuradrew A year ago
    You raise some truly important points Kat - some of which have also crossed my mind...

    ... but the moment the guy from the first commercial playing Zelda was interrupted by his dog, and he just inserts the Joycons and takes the system out of the dock and brings it along with him...

    ... I lost it right then and there and decided that the moment preorders go live, I'm preordering one.
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  • Avatar for himuradrew #24 himuradrew A year ago
    Deleted March 2017 by himuradrew
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #25 LBD_Nytetrayn A year ago
    I don't disagree, but again, job demands.
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  • Avatar for ping33 #26 ping33 A year ago
    I own a WiiU and I'm getting a switch the main reason is the portability.

    I spend 7-10hrs a week on public transportation, have 2 small children and I haven't thrown more than a dozen hours into a console game since Bloodborne in 2015, Persona 5 will likely be the only PS4 game I buy this year. The Switch is my fever dream of the perfect console.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #27 Ohoni A year ago
    I'm still waiting for the 2DS version that removes all the useless "mobile" and "motion" elements and just make it a home console that plays Zelda and costs about $150.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #28 VotesForCows A year ago
    I'm in the opposite position. I didn't order one, spent my money elsewhere, and now regret not getting one...
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #29 Frosty840 A year ago
    Zelda's not remotely a system-seller for me (2D Zeldas are the good ones), neither is Mario Odyssey (Mario 64 changed the movement physics in ways my brain still fails to deal with). Without those, Switch just looks like a bigger Vita with an even more anaemic library.
    I mean, best of luck to those of you who get along with those games, but I'm really not feeling any more compelled by the Switch than I was by the picked-one-up-just-after-its-successor-was-announced WiiU.
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  • Avatar for pertusaria #30 pertusaria A year ago
    I would have been in the "I'll get one eventually" camp, as I haven't used my Wii U as much as I'd like, but my boyfriend's sister is coming over this weekend, and it just seemed too perfect to gather 'round the TV and party like it's 1995. Hopefully my belated pre-order will come through today.
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  • Avatar for boatie #31 boatie A year ago
    I'm just waiting for a pack-in game set that I want, probably Mario or Splattoon 2
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  • Avatar for NYCAlex #32 NYCAlex A year ago
    There's a mess about the Switch not allowing game saves to be be copied off the can't even choose where it saves (HD or SD).

    I wished more people read this article before going into Nintendo fanboy mode. I really want to Nintendo to succeed but they always find ways to make it difficult.
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  • Avatar for docexe #33 docexe A year ago
    Sigh... You know, I like the core concept of the Switch, I really want to see it succeed, and I’m certainly going to buy one at some point. But that point might not be until the holidays or even next year, as the console is obscenely expensive on this side of the border and the launch lineup is sparse.

    Going on a related tangent, I have seen a lot of sites (including this one) pointing out that this can be considered a “soft launch” for the console, but I’m not really sure that’s an appropriate way to describe it as the term implies that Nintendo has some sort of grand plan in place. And sorry to say this, but to be perfectly frank, I’m just not seeing that.

    Rather, it seems to me that they are simply rushing the console to launch on early March because their investors will give them hell otherwise and because their bottom line desperately needs the infusion of cash. As a result, the console is coming in what can’t really be described as anything else but a “half baked” state: No streaming apps, a very sparse digital storefront, an unified account system (yay!) that still requires you to manually log on to the console to desynch it from your account instead of doing it from a website (boo!), no word on how their paid online infrastructure and services will work, no Virtual Console or any info on how it will work or when it will launch, not even the ability to move your save files to external storage (!!!), for not talking about the syncing issues with one of the Joycons (which based on everything I have read so far, it increasingly sounds like a hardware defect, which could be disastrous for the Switch given how widespread it seems).

    Now, Nintendo is certainly going to make updates and revisions to the Switch that might address several of the most glaring issues. But the problem is that early impressions inevitably tend to color reputations. So it might not matter how much the Switch improves by the holidays, some people will be put off by the state in which the console is launching and they will never come back.Edited March 2017 by docexe
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  • Avatar for docexe #34 docexe A year ago
    @Ohoni I get you are being facetious and you are tired of Nintendo’s “gimmicks”, but honestly, I think that if they ever release a “2DS” version of the Switch, it’s very likely going to be only the handheld without the dock (and probably with a smaller screen).
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #35 Ohoni A year ago
    @docexe No, I am 120% serious about wanting a "2DS" version for this console, and I hate Nintendo for not launching it. If I were given a Switch for free I would be playing Zelda right now 100% docked and using a pro controller, I have zero need in a screen, a battery, a disconnectable "dock", motion controllers, any of that junk, and I'm sure they could have delivered a console that offers the core hardware of the Switch but as a firmly home console and shaved as much as $200 off the cost for doing so. I would buy a Switch if it were reasonably priced for a home console that offers PS3-quality performance, but no way am I paying $300 for that when I just got a PS4 for $230 with two free games.
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  • Avatar for Thad #36 Thad A year ago
    @Tebunker There are other reasons I'm holding off on the Switch besides price; I'm planning to wait for the first hardware revision.

    Even if the Wii U isn't any cheaper, I'm thinking used Wii U games probably are.

    Plus, I'm probably just a sentimental guy at heart, and I've got every Nintendo console from the NES on up to the Wii. I've waited this long to get a Wii U, but not getting one at all would just feel like an omission.
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