Thoughts on the (Upcoming) Nintendo Switch

The video above is a simplified take on one aspect of the Nintendo Switch for comedic effect. The video at the bottom of the article is a longer, softly spoken video covering it more casually and naturally. I just wanted you to have other options in case you don’t feel like reading about this. I totally understand if you’re sick of hearing about the Switch by now. I’m a little late to the game as far as the presentation hype and impressions, but since the system isn’t out yet I suppose I’m still on even ground with most of everyone else. I figure it’s better to get this out now before the system comes out since… well I won’t have one to talk about firsthand while others will. Anyways, let’s try to get into this and hopefully I get all my thoughts out.

Console and Handeld Hybrid

The system itself has a fine amount of potential. Being a console and handheld all in one is a nice idea even if it’s not terribly exciting. I mean, we’ve had them both separately before so just making this work as both isn’t a huge deal. Games will pretty much play the same on either one so it’s not going to change your experience. Another thing to consider is that a console is more of a shared thing. It’s part of the home entertainment center. Parents often get a console for their kids to share. A handheld, however, is more of a private thing. So who gets to use it on the go? There are ways to play multiplayer on the go, as has been demonstrated, but what about the single player games? Will there be more of a focus on the single player, multiple players, or a good mix? I guess the question is, how will the library be affected? Will there be a variety of games made to fit the inherently different nature of consoles and handhelds? Will one mentality dominate the other? Battery life is said to vary greatly depending on the game so it would seem that higher-end games will most likely eat up more battery and therefore have a console mentality to their design, whereas handheld-friendly games will most likely consume less battery. Will that mean a drop in quality or performance? It’s still kind of up in the air. It could mean some games have different modes that use up varying amounts of battery life, but it might also mean that you’ll end up with longer experiences that will not be well-suite to playing on the go with short battery life while the shorter and simpler games are too tedious or unimpressive to bother putting on the big screen. Only time will tell on how the library gets filled out.

Launch and Library

There are a good number of games announced, many that I don’t even know about. I didn’t look at a full list and a lot of them were just mentioned to me and then forgotten. I don’t want to sound like a cynical prick, but I don’t know that third party support is going to be what sells the Switch. It’ll help, but it’s not why people are going to pre-order or buy at launch. And as far as I’ve heard, the biggest ones for that are Sonic Mania which will probably be released on other platforms as well, and Skyrim which is new to owners of Nintendo systems but not to the rest of the world. The big seller for the launch is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I could talk about that a ton I’m sure, but the main thing to note about this is that it’s also coming out on the Wii U at the same time. So really, the launch of the Switch is still a really hard sell for a lot of people. You can get most of these anticipated games elsewhere. Even the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe idea is more like a remake of a Wii U game than a full-fledged new title to sell the system. So basically you’ll be waiting until the summer to see Splatoon 2, which looks more or less like more of the same as the first one to me. And then Super Mario Odyssey is quite an interesting looking game… that won’t be out until the end of the year! I’m sure the system will get the games it needs to make it worth your while, but there’s just no great reason to get it right away. Wait until there’s a decent set of games out, possibly even some innovative titles using the Joy Cons to their potential, before you go rushing out to buy this.

In addition to that, I’m not sure how well backwards compatibility, virtual console, and the general eshop will work. I don’t even know if that information is out there yet. Will there be some slot for Wii U or 3DS games? Or will there be some method of getting the ones you own scanned in and downloaded on the Switch? Will this only go towards digital games? Will there be physical games for the Switch at all? And what of the eshop purchases? Will virtual console and other digital titles carry over for old games or indie games? Or will we be forced to purchase them all over again? It’s nice to have them all be on one device for both handheld and console to eliminate the need of splitting the eshops, but if you have to buy them all over again then the price of this system is going to go up. Backwards compatibility and library transfers are a huge concern of mine, and I’m sure anyone looking to trade up will have similar concerns.

The Price of Progress

The system itself is 300 bucks… IF you get the system just by itself. I’ve not heard of there even being a pack-in game for this one. Instead, you can buy bundles that come with certain games, but that will also increase the price. So even paying that much for two systems essentially, a console and a handheld, is still going to be hefty sum when put altogether at once. Most games will likely be the retail price of 50 or 60 bucks, which is also tough to slap on top of that. If your old 3DS and/or Wii U games will not have some form of compatibility then that’s another chunk of cash to get those back through a virtual console eshop on the Switch. And what of your other digital and virtual console games tied to your Nintendo ID? If they don’t go over either then that’s more money. But another bit about not having 3DS or Wii U games play on the Switch without a repurchase is that you won’t be able to sell your old systems to cover some of the cost on a trade-up. You’ll either have to sell the old systems and buy the games all over again or keep the old systems for their games and pay full price for the Switch. So this is a big concern that I’d like sorted out if it hasn’t been already. Nintendo also decided to make the SWITCH to a paid online service. Taking the bigger hit on the Wii U price versus that of the Wii was still nice in comparison to the monthly or yearly drain to your wallet that the PS4 and Xbox One forced on players. With Nintendo now keeping the price tag AND adding the online fee, it makes the price go up considerably… when considered. I’ve also heard the extra controllers are around 80 bucks, which is another big hit on top of everything else. Price is very important for competition. If this is going to cost the same as the next big consoles from Sony and Microsoft, then is there going to enough to make the Switch stand out for the general gaming crowd?

Gimmick or Innovation?

I already touched on how the hybridization isn’t going to be much in terms of innovation. It’s a nice idea that has been tried a bit before, such as with the memory cards of the Dreamcast, but it hasn’t caught on. It might catch on now, but it won’t do much for the overall experience except make getting the system and games more convenient. However, the new Joy Con controllers seem to have a lot of potential. we’ve seen handhelds and consoles and touch screens… we’ve seen it! And these new controller do have some resemblances to other game controllers, very notably the Wii remote. The thing is, these have some interesting features. they can be used like a more standard modern controller, but they can also be split up and used like more retro controllers. They also can do things with motions and hand reading. I’m not even entirely sure what this could mean for future games or even just design concepts in more standard games, but I’d love for it to become something interesting like the Wii and DS were with their changes. I guess the ultimate verdict on the feature depends on how well it does. If it gets utilized by developers and supported by consumers then it’ll become and innovation like the d-pad, dual joysticks, or touch controls. If not; then it’ll be dubbed a gimmick like the Power Glove or 3D.

Conclusion

Sorry, I couldn’t think of a clever way to title the end here. Basically I think this all boils down to details. Once the system is out we’ll know everything we need to know about it. Once a good amount of games are out we’ll be able to see if it’s worth the price. And once all of the services and future plans are more firmly in place, we’ll know what we’re getting into. My recommendation is to wait. You maybe have some extraneous circumstance to jump on it early, but to the general public I advise you to avoid pre-ordering or buying at launch. There will be plenty of the systems made and put in stock as Nintendo is putting a lot of eggs into this basket. Let them know you want there to be enough games to play on their fancy new piece of hardware before you’ll just go buying blindly. Wait for your game to come out rather than buying the system on the hopes of a promise. Zelda fooled me. Yooka-Laylee fooled. Don’t let some game that MIGHT come to the system trick you into buying. Wait until it has arrived. That’s about it. Anyways, feel encouraged to share your thoughts, opinions, speculations, and corrections on my information in the comments so we can have some fun discussion. Once again, the video at the top of the page is a short, funny take on one aspect of the system so you can check that out if you’d like. And if you still want to hear an ASMR ramble about this then you can check out the video below. Comments on those are also appreciated 🙂 There! All those thoughts are finally out of my head. Hopefully it made some kind of sense. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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