By now, every gamer (hardcore or casual) has seen or heard of the Nintendo Switch, the newest console from the entertainment giant. And why shouldn’t it be surrounded by a lot of buzz? For the first time ever, a gaming company is attempting what seems to be every gamer’s fantasy: the ability to take whatever you’re playing on the big screen on the road.
That’s right, the Nintendo Switch combines the home console and the portable device into one by making it convertible into either format. The ‘console’ itself is basically a giant tablet (for lack of a better term) with souped up specs and the ability to attach two sides of a controller to it. Of course, a lot of hardcore fans praised this innovative direction Nintendo took, while others dismissed it as too gimmicky or too reliant on its single special feature.
Today, we’ll talk about the Top 4 reasons why the Nintendo Switch is already on my shopping list come March 2o17.
1) Specs that appeal to a mass market
The biggest criticisms we’ve heard so far is that it’ll have specs lower than that of the PS4 and the Xbox One. It’s important to note that both competitor consoles have been trying to breach the VR and 4k markets for some time now, while the Switch has yet to consider them. In fact, so far, what we know is that when docked, the Switch will project a solid 900p, with at least 30fps, and when on the go, it will project 720p.
A lot of Nintendo critics think that the fact that it doesn’t even come close to at least 1080p means that the games will look ugly and won’t be appealing to the market. But think about it, at this point in time, who has a 4K television? Certainly not the majority of the market, who still stick to their good old flatscreens that can, at maximum, do 1080p.
What I think Nintendo is trying to do here, is appealing and going straight for the mass markets, the ones that are unlikely to have a 4K television, or a high-powered gaming setup. As long as the graphics and game art look good enough, it should be able to satisfy people who aren’t actively looking for a 4k experience.
Besides, have you seen the new Zelda game? It looks pretty good!
2) A Solid Game Library
Now, if you’re a critic, you would immediately point out that Nintendo only has ten games available on launch day, and the only ones that may be worth buying immediately are 1-2-Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and maybe Super Bomberman R (an impressive title, considering Konami barely cares about any of its games outside of Metal Gear and Silent Hill). Thus, I wouldn’t really blame you if you said that the Nintendo Switch launch day was…unimpressive. There’s barely anything to play, after all!
I would like to offer an alternative, however. Consider one of the statements Nintendo made during the presentation, where there were already 80 games in development for the Switch. What that tells us is that the company has learned from the blunders of the Wii U, which had a large launch library, but barely had anything exciting come afterwards.
Inversely, anyone who gets the Switch now can look forward to big titles like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8, Pokemon Stars, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim just this year, and in 2018, can at least expect a game like Fire Emblem to arrive.
3) They’ve learned from the Wii U’s mistakes
Considering that the only big gimmick is the portability of the console, and its ‘transforming’ controller, the Switch seems to be easier to develop for. Not only that, but Nintendo has gone out and taken pledges from third-party developers in order to answer one of the company’s biggest criticisms since time immemorial: that Nintendo can only bring good first party games.
Nintendo has outright said that they’re learning from the mistakes of the Wii U (weak game library, hard to develop for, barely any third-party support) and are looking to the Switch as proof of that.
4) All of their resources now go to one console
For Nintendo, the case used to be that they had a weak console development team, and a strong handheld one; thus, the Switch will theoretically combine both to reap the benefits of their strong handheld systems. Aside from having a fantastic game library, their portable devices have the luxury of having lower prices and easier-to-develop-for systems.
The Switch may just be able to emulate that, with a lower price point in comparison to other consoles (USD 300 for the Switch), and a game library that looks to be filled with big first and third party titles.
Of course, the one thing that hasn’t changed about Nintendo is their desire to innovate and cater to the larger part of the consumer market. Basically, the hardcore gamer has already made up their mind on whether or not they’ll buy the Switch, and instead, it’s the casual gamer that they’re looking to appeal to. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Switch won’t deliver some great core games. Instead, what they’re trying to do here is not be solely a gaming company, but rather, be an entertainment company.
Will the Nintendo Switch redeem Nintendo from its Wii U failure? Or is this the beginning of the end for the century-old company? We’ll find out starting this coming March 2017.