Rumors of the Nintendo NX have been running rampant, with people making all kinds of predictions based off of questionable leaks and theories. Now, I’ll be honest and admit it… I wasn’t entirely convinced that a console/handheld hybrid was set in stone. Then again, I thought the name NX would stick, so I’m clearly habitually wrong. Go ahead ahead with the I-told-you-so’s. The rest of us mature folk will be continuing on, thank you very much. The Nintendo Switch is riding on that gimmick of having the power of a console on the go as well as being able to use it as your console when you’re at home. You can check the first look trailer for the fancy presentation and see what that entails. (see below article) And… well… let’s start with the positive thoughts.
This is another Nintendo system so I’m naturally hyped because it will have Nintendo games on it, which are generally of high quality and historically right up my alley. I do think having both the console and handheld in one system purchase is a nice thing as well. The different control methods, such as using a standard controller, using the sides like a controller, or slipping off the side panels as separate or even entirely different controllers open up a lot of interesting possibilities for game design. It’s also neat that you can disconnect the side Joy-Con controllers and set up the portable unit like a little TV. It looks simple yet versatile to a point. So, it’s basically just a new, more “normal” kind of gaming device and I can’t stress enough how inherently exciting that is, but this is also where my questions start.
I know it’s still early and many of these questions will be answered down the road as it closer to launch and finally launches. Heck, some might already be answered somewhere I didn’t see or answered by the time you read this, but let’s go over them a bit anyways. I see you can use the built-in controllers as well as new Switch Pro Controllers to play. Will there be more options for controllers? How easy is syncing different controllers? Can you use Wii U controllers on it or will you need to purchase all new ones regardless? How easy is it for the controllers to come off? Is there a locking mechanism? How durable and lasting will these be? You can pull the system out of the dock to take it off the TV for playing on the go or just using the TV while you play. Does this mean there’s no secondary screen? Is the screen on the system a touch screen? How will games using touch controls and dual screen work? Will these even be available on this system? Will there be a disc port to put in Wii U games or is there some other form of backwards compatibility? Will there even BE backwards compatibility? Will it work through digital means? Will all our eshop purchases linked to our Nintendo ID be available as free downloads on the Switch? How much internal memory will the system have? Will there be ports for USB or SD cards for external memory? Or will the games be saved on a cloud service? Will physical games be widely available for most titles or limited to select titles instead? Will the system support motion controls in same way or are these types of games off the table? What is the battery life? How restrictive is the wifi connectivity in public? Is the system just as powerful, more powerful, or less powerful than the Wii U and/or New Nintendo 3DS? This also brings up a rather large line of questioning. What about handheld gaming?
See, console gaming and handheld gaming are a bit different. On the go, you want to be able to complete things in a reasonable amount of time and have the ability to save whenever. This seeps its way into the very core of the design of handheld games. Console games, on the other hand, are geared for people with time to sit down and play at their leisure. So will this hybridization of the two create problems depending on what you play and where you play it? Furthermore, the big issue is handheld gaming. See, the biggest competition to Nintendo’s handhelds these days has been mobile gaming. Mobile gaming usually takes place on phones, something most people already have for other reasons anyway. However, mobile games are also designed differently than handhelds, often relying on very simplistic, bite-sized gameplay spiced up by interesting gimmicks. So handheld gaming has still been a nice middle-ground that offers the convenience of gaming on the go with the control and sensibilities of console gaming. With this being both, this could mean the end of standalone handhelds. Especially considering the main competitor in handhelds, Sony, seems to be headed more towards the mobile route. Will standalone handheld game systems become obsolete? Will other consoles follow suit? Or is it just a gimmick?
Speaking of gimmicks, the term that has been used in a negative light for critics of Nintendo since the DS, this system has its own main hook. The ability to SWITCH between handheld and console gaming on the fly is certainly the main push. That’s pretty cool, but it seems like it’s one more step back in line with every other gaming method out there. The controllers are fairly simple and standard. There’s no hints at motion controls, dual screens, or touch screens. A fresh start isn’t a bad plan, but it sure makes the Switch look even more like the competition, which makes it far less interesting. The unique ways of using the controllers is about the only way I can see to make it truly unique beyond the simple functionality. Basically, even though the DS and the Wii made huge strides at being different and sold pretty well because of it, Nintendo seems to still be on the apology campaign, trying to still appear to be innovating while offering more and more of a standard gaming experience hardcore gamers are looking for. Even the Wii U and 3Ds felt like a step back in line, with less focus on motion controls and touch controls in favor of more traditional gameplay. So I do genuinely worry for this leading to a fall in the handheld market and adding a third home console sporting nearly the same hardware with a different branded shell.
But hey, maybe it’ll come back. Maybe Sony can make a thriving handheld that doesn’t need to compete with another standalone handheld. Maybe Sega could survive with a Game Gear 2 of sorts. Regardless of all my questions and concerns, I ultimately think this is a pretty cool idea that will most likely continue Nintendo’s great quality. Pokemon on your TV. Skyrim on the go. Everything everywhere. It has a lot of potential for what it is. I just hope it does well enough to get the proper support. Then again, I just got a Wii U two months ago so I’m in no hurry myself… except for Zelda. Really want that damn Zelda game. Share your thoughts either here or in the comments on my YouTube video at the top. I’ll close this off with the official first look trailer below if I’m allowed to embed that here. Maybe seeing it in action might make more console gamers SWITCH to Nintendo… or something.