The flood gates have opened with information about Nintendo´s upcoming Switch console. We’ve had the conference. People have had a chance to take a look at Nintendo’s device in the USA, and I’ve sat in my pants ingesting all kinds of information gagging in horror that this can’t be true. Nintendo’s brand-new console is once again another gimmick built with gimmicks with little to shout about. Admittedly, my expectations weren’t exactly high either after the Wii U one would hope their new flagship console would be an improvement but golly gosh not a chance, I can’t say I’m impressed or pretend I’m excited; there’s not much to convince me to make a ‘switch’ at all.
Aside Zelda and Mario Odyssey there is little to shout about when it comes to the Switch, to be honest I don’t even know where to start? Whether it’s the price of the console, accessories, battery life being anything from two to six hours, there’s a paid online subscription fee, the so-called ‘free’ game you get monthly is free for just a month, a mobile app is required to invite friends and party chat, the launch line-up (Arms seriously?). It’s just crazy the only positive is that you can look forward to this a bit sooner as it’s releasing March 3rd, you know before all the other good games are even ready (Wait…that’s not a positive, damn!).
I guess price is always a good way to start. However, the Switch will set you back £270 with no game bundled in. Accessories range from £60 to £80 and the games also have an RRP of £60! And considering the fact that you can now buy a Xbox one S or PS4 Slim for around £250 with a game, it’s hard to see how Nintendo’s new console is going to thrive when the competition is leaps and bounds ahead, it’s a tough position for anyone to be in, but if you’re releasing a new console in-between two very successful consoles that are stepping into the world of 4K you need to do something special.
The Switch has a modified Tegra processor, boasts a 720p screen and up to 1080p when docked, it certainly packs a punch but is it going to be enough to stay relevant? Well, it seems Nintendo just can’t let go of the past as they spent a good 20 minutes talking about Joy Cons, Joy, motion controls and what a controller actually does. You can just hear the ice cubes rattling in my empty glass as I pour another whisky to get me through this cringe fest.
Staying relevant doesn’t look to be at the top of Nintendo’s list either, only they could make playing online a bloody farce. Paid subscription will come into place by the end of the year. However, details are limited (probably because they don’t know what they’re doing). Online play is something Nintendo’s not exactly renowned for other than Splatoon on the Wii U I can’t think of any standout games, but they’re going in full steam ahead packed full of caveats that will leave you flabbergasted. Starting off is the way you will communicate and play with friends, while conventional consoles let you simply press a button, plug a headset in and play. Nintendo wants you to download an app on your phone that lets you do just that and the way the information is being relayed doesn’t mention the app being on the console.
It does infuriate me as to why Nintendo can’t they just do what everyone else is doing and keep it simple rather than adding more gimmicks? Either way you’re going to have to pause your game while you flail around looking for mobile to invite your buddy to play “ARMS”. Furthermore, subscriptions like PS Plus and Gold offers benefits like discounts and more importantly “free games”…A notion that seems lost on Nintendo being the tight buggers they are as the so-called “free” SNES game (yes a SNES game) you get each month is only available to you for that month, and after 30 days you will lose access and have to pay for the game (honestly, how tight are you if you can’t give away 20-year-old games?) how is this enticing? With such a vast library of digital content surely a service to PlayStation Now would make sense? There’s also no word whether previously purchased games from the virtual console will be available to Switch players.
The launch line-up is completely abysmal on the 3rd of March you’ll be able to buy FIVE GAMES yes there’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild which looks fantastic but the rest, One Two Switch, Skylanders Imaginators, Super Bomberman R, Just Dance 2017 and that is it. So, yes, there will only be five Switch games available at launch. Surely Nintendo should have pushed the launch back rather than bringing it forward. It makes no sense launching with just five games, where’s the rest? Where is Mario?
Well, Mario is slated for fall 2017 as for the rest of the year, there’s dribs and drabs consisting of Mario Kart, Splatoon 2 (both Wii U re-releases) One can’t deny the major lack of third-party support, there’s no Titanfall, Battlefield, Mass Effect, Overwatch, Diablo, Resident Evil or Call of Duty, such games would be great on the go and considering they intend to implement a paid online subscription you’d think they’d have some decent online games to play other than Splatoon and Mario Kart. However, don´t worry guys and girls, because there is going to be an FIFA game at some point. It’s Déjà vu all over again; if Nintendo can’t secure decent 3rd party games then we will see the exact same issue that plagued the Wii U which was lack of games! Even during the conference there was little to no support, it was all eventualities we would see this year or after.
Nintendo never ceases to amaze for all the wrong reasons. As they appear to be out of touch with competition. I mean, the conference was evident of that, the pacing was awful. The announcements were very few, and the delivery were just toe curling at times. They appear to have split their focus on whether their new hardware is a primarily home console or a handheld, there was so little talk on what games you can expect to see in the future and what the device is exactly capable of running. Nintendo announced that there are currently 80 games in development but what of the dozens of games that released last year? Where is the effort to get them to support the launch?
Such games would be great when out the house, during travel and lunch breaks, but they’re completely absent. Despite boasting third-party support it’s still not enough to take them seriously. People may joke about playing Mario on PlayStation or Xbox, but if Nintendo carry on like this..Then yeah in a few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if that turns out to be the case. So unless Nintendo makes some big changes by making an online subscription more enticing, announcing stronger third-party support and just simplifying things, cutting the fat like motion controls and other gimmicky nonsense. Then we might have something here but with the console just two months away, perhaps it’s too little too late.
Other than that, I’ve recently noticed whenever you talk about Switch’s launch line-up some people try and compare it to PS4 and Xbox One (pretty sure there was more than five bloody games day one but whatever) while Ryse and Knack didn’t set the world on fire they were still supported by great 3rd party titles which are the core content of modern games consoles, but then of course we’re reminded the N64 only had two games when it launched, but this isn’t 1996. It’s 2017 times have actually changed, and the current gaming climate is very different now. When the words “Wait till E3” are uttered, I can’t help but sigh. Maybe Nintendo should have waited until after E3 rather than releasing a console with an undercooked line-up of games? Even Skyrim is disappointing when you find out a 6-year-old game will cost you £ 59.99. As the game isn´t even the remaster edition. You would think Nintendo needs to sell this console and make sure it succeeds, not just throw it off a cliff to see how it gets on.
Sure, while I don’t have a crystal ball which has all the answers, a little foresight shows that it’s not looking great, and trust me when I say this. I really, really hope I’m wrong that the Switch could potentially fail. As I grew up playing Nintendo, I’ve owned the consoles and played the countless classics. Nevertheless, Nintendo is making it so hard to be on board with the Switch. Even diehard fans are slowly becoming tired of defending them. Nintendo really needs to do something truly remarkable to turn the sceptics into believers, but taking them at face value after the conference, I can’t see that happening. I obviously expect diehard fans will be throwing their money at the Switch to play Zelda after years of waiting, but this is bigger than that, what is Nintendo’s long-term plan for this console? As the Switch is literally on our doorsteps, and Nintendo´s strategy doesn’t seem to be any different from what we have already seen in the past with the Wii U.
What should I expect from Nintendo? Well, I wanted to see a solid line-up consisting of strong third-party games, a system which can run alongside current consoles with a few exceptions in power, a competitive price, taking big AAA games with me anywhere I go, an online environment that can at least stand shoulder to shoulder with Xbox live and PSN offering decent deals and offerings for fans who have supported the brand for the last few decades, I wanted to see new ideas yes, but I don’t need to be spoon fed on how a controller works.
However, Nintendo doesn’t need to do anything at all. As they have their own direction, and they believe that it’s the best direction to take. So whether that’s ballsy or simply plain stupid is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, Nintendo believe in their product and the tech behind it, and while I or anyone could call them ignorant. They have their own goals and direction, and I acknowledge that. I may be somewhat jaded by the decisions they make, but I don’t need to throw my money at them. Right now, all I can do is just wait and see what happens, they might just blow us away with some incredible announcements in the next few months, or they might repeat the same-old mistakes, but after reading everything, after watching the conference and listening to reactions of many other gamers, If I’m completely honest, and it scares me saying this…But I believe this may just be Nintendo’s last console, and I really hope I’m wrong, because that would be very sad.
Robin Ek – Editor and co-writer
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground ´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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