Will the Nintendo Switch Prosper?

Let’s all be honest here, the Nintendo Switch will either prove to be a return to form for the company in the console space or be the last console Nintendo probably makes. I am of the mind that the industry is at its peak when Nintendo is thriving and consistently competing with their contemporaries on the market. Nintendo hasn’t been able to contend with likes of Sony and Microsoft for some time now and it at the point where one can reasonably wonder if they will ever regain the reverence they once had.

The Wii U was a disaster launching at a very weird time when its competitors were prepping their own consoles that were light years ahead of what Nintendo would bring. Lack of third-party support, a cumbersome controller, and too few marquee first-party titles, the Wii U has been an afterthought in this current generation. This point is directly reflected in its sales with just about 14 million sold since its launch in 2012.

The Wii has sold over 100 million copies, which has paid dividends for Nintendo, but that “success” is misleading. The Wii was a tremendous success in its first couple of years for a couple of reasons; 1. They captivated the more casual gamer which is a much broader audience than the core gamer with the motion controller. 2. The Wii was seen as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at the time. These circumstances would come back and bite the console after just a couple of years on the market. Reaching the casual gamer might’ve turned a profit but core gamers are what fuel the longevity of a system who Nintendo failed to reach. Once the Xbox 360 and PS3 picked up steam, it was obvious why they were more expensive than the Wii as they were much more powerful console and provided a much better experience.

Nintendo is now prepping the release of its newest console, the Nintendo Switch on March 3. As always with the company, their console is looking to innovate the console market and bring gamers a new experience.

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console, meaning you can use it as a home console or take it on the go. Players will use a tablet-like unit named the Switch Console, reminiscent of the Wii U GamePad. The tablet will have a 6.2-inch 1280×720 resolution multi-touch capacitive screen. The tablet is battery powered, has a 3.5mm audio jack and a kickstand. The tablet is paired with the Nintendo Switch Dock for charging and television output.

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The Switch Console and the Switch Dock

The console will come with a 32GB of internal storage and can be expanded using microSDXCcard. The battery life on the console will reportedly last over six hours but will vary depending on the game.

Different from the GamePad, however, are two detachable controllers on either side of the unit which are named Joy-Cons. The Joy-Cons consist of two halves: Joy-Con (R) and Joy-Con (L). They are very versatile as they can be used attached to the Switch Console, used together on the Joy-Con Grip for a more traditional controller feel, used untethered similar to the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, or used individually. The controllers and accessories have also been officially priced. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller will be priced at $70. A set of Joy-Con controllers (both left and right) will be priced at $80. If you only want to purchase one Joy-Con, then that will cost $50 each. A Joy-Con charging grip will be priced at $30. The Nintendo Switch Dock Set will be priced at $90. A set of two Joy-Con Wheels will be priced at $15.

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Joy-Con controllers
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Joy-Con controllers attached to the Joy-Con Grip

I am excited about the system because I love the vision that Nintendo has with the console. Media outlets that have gone hands on with the console have noted that the tablet feels and looks good, switching from TV mode to handheld mode is damn near instantaneous, and the Joy-Cons, while small, are very responsive and intuitive. I do have concerns, though, that are hindering me from purchasing it day one.

According to reports, the Nintendo Switch will be more powerful than the Wii U but not more powerful than the original Xbox One. That could prove to be a problem especially in the landscape we live in now that has Sony having a high powered PS4 already on the market and Microsoft’s generation-altering Project Scorpio looming for a holiday release. Now, higher pixels and frame rates are not what makes a console great, even though that is usually a by-product of a powerful. A powerful system, however, allows for more gameplay possibilities and makes it more accessible for developers to fully realize their visions. A game like The Witcher 3 could only run on an Xbox One, PS4, or PC, for its quality to be fully realized. In a world where gamers are demanding more and more from their systems, will Nintendo be able to bring consistently compelling titles will convince core gamers to support their system? Speaking of compelling titles, I have concerns about the games Nintendo has scheduled for its first-year on the market.

First off, this launch lineup is pathetic. Usually, when a company releases a new system they provide a plethora of games that will speak to different types of gamers so everybody can be in the stores by their product. Nintendo has taken a different approach which I think is a result of the console being rushed out. The obvious highlight that day-one adopters will be clamoring for is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This is a game that is highly-anticipated but has been in development for so long that excitement is morphing into impatience. The game will obviously be fantastic with amazing visuals, a sprawling open-world, and new gameplay mechanics.

The new Zelda is the jewel of the system so far but what else will be available for those who may not be fans of Zelda?

 

1-2-Switch is an upcoming party game that will be available at launch. Players use Joy-Con controllers to compete in minigames against other players. The game looks like it can be fun as evidenced by the video I provided below but why wouldn’t Nintendo bundle this game in with the console? This type of game would do much better in a day-one bundle then on its own. I doubt the game will do well given party games aren’t that popular.

 

Super Bomberman R is another game that will be releasing on launch day. I am not a fan of the Bomberman series so I don’t have many thoughts on the quality of the game but I know that Bomberman is not a system seller and I think this game will also be better suited included in a bundle than just out in the wild on its own.

Nintendo is rounding out its launch with games that have already released in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth +, I Am Setsuna, Skylanders: Imaginators, Human Resource Machine, Little Inferno, World of Goo, and Just Dance 2017. It is very likely that gamers interested in these games have already played them on other platforms so I don’t believe that these games will do much in selling the system.

Nintendo has more games on the horizon like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 but they haven’t been dated yet. A new Mario adventure, Super Mario Odyssey, is supposed to release in the holiday season but how can you not have a proper Mario game ready at launch when it’s been a couple years since the last original Mario game? I am excited for the system and its possibilities but will Nintendo bring them to life? We will see.

What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? Are you excited for it or think this is it for Nintendo? What games are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments and like always subscribe and share.

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