The Nintendo Switch has my expectations on what can only be described as a rollercoaster ride. At first, when I heard about the console, I was excited. Finally, Nintendo is going to take this opportunity to break out some new and original titles that give Sony and Microsoft a run for their money.
Finally, they’re going to give Zelda, and Mario (among other clutch games) a break, and actually try and step out of their comfort zone.
FINALLY, I would be able to pat them on the back and congratulate them for overcoming the creative drought that has bogged their company down for quite some time.
Then I realized, they had rehashed about a billion games from the Nintendo glory days. Boy, was I pissed. Well, maybe not ‘pissed’ — but it wasn’t a good look. I sort of touched on this topic in my Most Anticipated Tech Products of 2017.
Suddenly, I was (once again) disappointed with the gaming supergiant.
Until I saw Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The gameplay and trailers looked so great, it made me feel like actually buying the console. See what I had to say about the game in my list of upcoming RPGs.
Of course, whether Zelda is an RPG or not is debatable. But the point is it revived my hope in the Nintendo Switch. So much so, I went ahead and dug up some more info about this bad boy. Such as its release date, specs, and just how many actual FRESH and ORIGINAL titles will accompany it shortly after launch.
So let’s get into it.
My Gripe with Nintendo
In case you haven’t noticed by now (by some sort of miracle) Nintendo’s lack of NEW titles grinds my gears. I’m not saying the company isn’t great in their own right. I’m not saying you shouldn’t support them. I’m not saying they suck.
I just want to see them move forward. Mario’s had his day. So has Zelda, though it’s not nearly as old as the Italian plumber who hops around killing mushrooms.
Halo was like the poster child of the Xbox platform for years. But they still have tons of other titles that can be used to define the unit and the community to a degree. They don’t rehash the famed shooter every week and expect me to treat it like its brand spanking new.
If there is a SOLID and TOLERABLE excuse for Nintendo’s refusal to move forward feel free to let me know. I can admit when I’m wrong.
Why am I Writing This Review
I think Nintendo might be onto something with the Nintendo Switch. I’m not overly fond of the rehashed games, but some of the previews I’m seeing look awesome. I think the form factor has the potential to be groundbreaking, and the price makes sense — although fans had other expectations.
I’ll get into stuff like pricing later on.
Why do I think Nintendo may have something special here? Because I’m tempted to buy it. I’ve been a heavy supporter of Sony for the better half of my life. This is the first time I’ve been tempted to try out another console since…EVER.
Nintendo Switch Release Date
The Nintendo Switch isn’t so far away, so Nintendo fanboys can wait with bated breath and high expectations. The console should be released on March 3, 2017, even better, there are a few games that will be available straight away:
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- 1-2 Switch
- Just Dance 2017
- Skylanders Imaginators
Other titles will be released later on, including yet ANOTHER Mario game. I have no doubts it might be good, I just don’t know if I want to talk about Mario in 2017.
Elder Scroll: Skyrim will be available on the platform. While that’s interesting, it’s hardly a Nintendo exclusive let alone an original concept in and of itself.
In any case, the console will be available on March 3, 2017, first in countries like:
- Select parts of Europe (including the UK)
- And Hong Kong among other countries
Why the Price Makes Sense
Because the Nintendo Switch offers a handheld gaming experience (as well as a traditional console experience) some people expected it to wear the price tag of a handheld gaming device as opposed to the latter.
I feel the opposite. Let me explain.
The Nintendo Switch is supposed to be the best of both worlds. You feel like you want to get into some console gaming? It’s got you covered. Feel like gaming on the go? It’s got you covered there too.
I’m not telling you I expect to love the Nintendo Switch as much as I do my PlayStation. I’m just saying I can hardly use my PlayStation like a Gameboy or a console when I so desire.
Providing that the Nintendo Switch actually pulls this off (as in it captures both experiences perfectly or close enough) I don’t see why they shouldn’t charge the price announced at the Nintendo Switch presentation.
Here’s the price you should expect at launch:
- $299.99 (US)
- $279.00 (EU)
- $469.95 (AU)
Here’s what you get for your money:
- The Nintendo Switch console (naturally)
- Left and right Joy-Con controllers in color of your choice (slate grey | neon red | neon blue)
- Wrist straps
- Joy-Con grip
- Switch dock
- HDMI cable
- AC adapter
The Nintendo Switch pro controller will be sold separately at $69.99. I’m not sure of prices for Europe and Australia.
Why Are People Sour Grapes over the Price
I mentioned that people were expecting a lower price tag for the Nintendo Switch. While I think it’s obvious as to why Nintendo chose to go with a heftier price, this isn’t to say consumers are being totally unreasonable in their expectation.
The Nintendo Switch differs greatly from its predecessors in terms of pricing. The DS and Wii both launched at $150 and $250 respectively. The Switch, however, wants to sit at the table with the big dogs — the PS4 and Xbox One.
Is this a wise move on the part of the company? Obviously, this comes down to the performance of the unit (Nintendo Switch). If it delivers on both fronts satisfactorily (as a gaming console and handheld device) — they won’t have a single thing to worry about.
If it turns out to be a pile of junk, well…let’s try to stay positive here.
Can the Nintendo Switch be a Failure?
Nintendo is obviously a gaming supergiant, but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible. The company recorded its first annual loss (in 30 years) in 2011. They actually didn’t make a turn around until 2015. So while from a gamer perspective, when I take into account the decades of contributions they’ve made to the industry and the millions of loyal fans in their corner, I’d say there’s no way their new console can ‘fail’.
Numbers, however, don’t lie. The Wii U is an underwhelming unit. In my opinion, it’s like gaming on a cell phone. In that, it may suit casual gamers, but if you’re looking to stack up to the PlayStation and Xbox, you’re going to have to come a little better than that. The Wii U’s sales haven’t exactly been that impressive for some time either. And has underperformed on a consistent basis.
When you look at the stats, 2016 wasn’t even that big of an improvement from 2015.
The point is — the gaming supergiant is indeed mortal. And with the Wii U being so mind-bogglingly subpar and far from interesting, the Nintendo Switch is pretty much their shot at taking their place back in fans’ living rooms.
The next point is — while Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks amazing, it is very likely that Nintendo can and will lose. They were, after all, losing from 2011 through 2014. And their 2015 comeback wasn’t even much of a comeback, to be frank.
To be honest, I don’t think they’ll sink. But seeing as they’re having such a slow recovery in terms of revenue, I’d say they may have a SLIGHTY better year than 2016.
Nintendo Switch Features: Innovation-driven
If it’s one thing I can respect about Nintendo it’s that they usually stay in their lane. I’ve referred to PlayStation and Xbox as the Goku and Vegeta of the gaming world. Terrible as that analogy may be, it oozes with truth.
Both Sony and Microsoft are ever on the quest for more power. Every generation they claim to have created the ultimate console. Here’s Xbox again with the Xbox Scorpio, which should at the very least, make for an interesting year for the company.
Traditionally, Nintendo is the bubble gum version of PlayStation and Xbox, focusing more on 3D displays and unique controllers. Things that, if I may be so bold, are actually superficial and fail to augment my gaming experience in the slightest bit.
But that’s what they do and I won’t knock them for it.
You might have noticed that over years Nintendo has been split between focusing on their consoles or handheld devices. Someone over at the company (someone who deserves a cookie) seems to have come up with an excellent idea of equipping ONE unit with the ability to provide both experiences. That way they can just focus on that unit (the Nintendo Switch) instead of being all over the place.
And here we are. So, let’s get into the features.
Nintendo Switch Gaming Modes
The Nintendo Switch actually has THREE modes you can play in:
- Traditional Home Console TV Mode
- Tabletop Mode (console is supported by its kickstand)
- And Handheld Mode (for multiple players simultaneously)
In Handheld Mode, you attach two controller portions to the side of a 6.2” 720p multi-touchscreen. The controller features a split d-pad. You can easily detach them once you dock the console. Here you have the option to game with a Pro controller, or simply reassemble the detached controller handles into a gamepad — which is where your Joy-Con grip comes in ‘handy’.
According to Nintendo, the Switch has Wifi and the ability to connect multiple Switch systems (up to eight) for some epic multi-player action.
Even better, the console isn’t region locked. So if you are a big fan of Japanese games and such, you’ll have access to some pretty neat stuff.
The Nintendo Switch’s battery life (in Handheld Mode) will remind you a lot of the Nintendo 3DS. That’s because they’re virtually the same. Depending on what games you’re playing your Nintendo Switch will last you anywhere between 2.5 – 6.5 hours.
Obviously, games that cost more processing power will sap at its battery life much quicker.
While the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS do have similarities in terms of battery life, the Nintendo Switch takes this one home thanks to the modern USB-C connector that allows you to charge on the go with more convenience.
Nintendo Switch Dock
The dock is supposed to contain an additional fan. The aim is to have the console run at a faster clock speed and keep cool while docked for at home play.
A faster clock speed basically means extra processing power, which means the Nintendo Switch will be able to output 1080p resolutions on external televisions.
When docked, the Switch charges via the USB-C connector.
You get a dock with your purchase of the Nintendo Switch, but you can always buy extras separately. Apparently, the idea is to be able to connect them to all your TVs in the house, and take on the go play to another level?
Buying a separate dock will run you a hefty $90. So if playing ‘on-the-go’ in your house is your thing maybe it’s an investment worth looking into.
Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima mentions a ‘wide array of accessories’ in the works. Knowing Nintendo, this heavily suggests new detachable controllers. We all know Nintendo loves experimenting with controllers.
The Nintendo Switch offers a Single Screen Experience
Unlike the gamepad with the Wii U, players won’t be able to go dual screen with the Nintendo Switch. What you’ll have is a single screen experience on ‘whichever screen you might choose’.
If you like retro gaming as much as I do, you might be stoked about the cartridges. That’s right, the Nintendo Switch games will feature cartridges as opposed to discs.
The downside to that is the console won’t be backward compatible. How ironic.
Not Quite the Media Device
If you’re like any of the 100 people on my PSN friends list that stream religiously, you’ll be heartbroken to learn that the Switch won’t support streaming services. That means no Netflix, no Amazon Prime Video Launch.
Well, because Nintendo wanted to create a gaming console, and apparently a gaming console alone. Personally, I’ve never depended on my console for Netflix and such. So this would hardly ruin my day.
No VR in Sight?
If you were one of the poor souls who had your hopes up about VR (courtesy of a rumor that caught on not too long ago) — you may be disappointed with the recent developments.
They’re shocking. Mostly because they don’t exist.
The Nintendo Switch is a month away from launch, the Nintendo Switch presentation is behind us, and we still have yet to hear anything solid about the console’s VR capabilities.
According to Twitter’s Nstyles (who attended the meeting in Kyoto), Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto expressed that research had been conducted on VR. But the company has concerns about integrating the functionality. Mostly due to how long users would be playing.
Nintendo Switch Controller
The main controllers are called Joy-Con. Judging by the images that are available they seem pretty legit. When the Nintendo Switch is in Tablet Mode, these are the controllers you attach to both sides of the touch screen.
You’ve probably noticed, but users have the option of detaching the Joy-Con and using it as two one-handed controllers. Both controllers are effective in reading Amiibo characters and such, but they do have their own unique purpose.
The right controller has the ability to scan objects and has an IR Blaster built into the bottom. Players learned (at the Nintendo Switch presentation) that the controller (right side) can read hand gestures like rock, paper, scissors. And would be able to differentiate between each gesture.
If a more traditional gamepad is more your speed, Nintendo also has the Pro controller. It even features the traditional Nintendo d-pad. The Pro controller is sold separately for $69.99 in the US.
Nintendo Switch Online: Pay to Play?
I remember back when Xbox players paying to play online was a big deal to me. Remember Sony doesn’t charge for online interactions, at least up until the PS4. Just like a bunch of other PS fans I was super shocked to hear Sony would be following Xbox tradition. I imagine it’s the same for Nintendo fans now.
That’s right. Nintendo Switch players will pay to access online services. So if you’re on a really tight budget, but really want the console, I’d suggest you save a bit more. Or if like me, gaming is more important to you than having food to eat, and clothes on your back, go ahead and buy the console and pay for a year of online services upfront.
It’s all the same in my world.
Online access will, however, be free for those who have Nintendo accounts. But that’s six months in (after launch), after which online access will cost you.
So far we know online service will be available for:
- And Mexico
At this point, it can’t be confirmed if it will be available in other territories.
Here’s what the service includes:
- Online lobbies
- Voice chat
- Free NES and SNES games monthly (*Games are playable for that month and may include exclusives and discounts*)
Apparently, you won’t need to pay in order to access your friend’s list, the eShop or share screenshots. It’s suggested that the Nintendo Switch’s online service will depend A LOT on its smartphone companion app—particularly for matchmaking.
If you’re into features like voice chat and matching up with other players (the kind of things that embody online gaming) you’re going to need that companion app. This is according to Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Amie.
What Games Are Coming to the Nintendo Switch
Here’s where things get interesting. Or where I would hope things get interesting. The only thing stopping me from getting into Nintendo’s new console is the lack of fresh and interesting ideas with regards to titles.
Sure they come up with cool controllers and pretty 3D displays, but if you’re not forking up some NEW and INTERESTING games every generation what’s the point?
We know Zelda is probably going to be stellar. That’s all good and dandy. I’m more interested in those 80 games that over 50 companies are currently working on. I have my fingers crossed, hoping to the universe these guys aren’t going to crank out 80 different versions of the classic Mario games.
Mario is done. Let him rest his old bones.
Here are some of the games we can be sure are coming to the Nintendo Switch:
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Mario Odyssey
- Splatoon 2
- Project Octopath Traveler
- Dragon Quest (X and XI)
- Fire Emblem Warriors
- FIFA (You read that right, it’s just ‘FIFA’)
As you can tell by that list, the upcoming games are as predictable as I’ve been dreading they might be. Yes, they rehashed Mario again. Xenoblade, and Dragon Quest are okay, but we already know what they’re about more or less.
What is this creative drought that has consumed Nintendo? There is a famine of the imagination that has been sapping away at the company’s creative energy for far too long. Would it kill them to step out of their comfort zone?
Take some of that creativity you dump into your controllers and 3D displays and come up with a title we haven’t been beating for the past 25 years.
Upcoming Nintendo Switch Titles: Rumors
The games that are just rumored to be coming to the Nintendo Switch aren’t exactly original either. Apparently, Pokemon Sun and Moon might be available on the platform. That would be exciting if Pokemon wasn’t already beat into the ground by that money grubbing, less than imaginative company that won’t stop until the cash cow has been milked to death.
It WOULD be interesting to see a traditional (if you’d call Sun and Moon traditional) Pokemon game played on a console. But how about they use a different generation like Red or Blue? You know, something that had interesting Pokemon designs. Something that was really worth playing.
Apparently, Dark Souls MIGHT be coming to the Nintendo Switch as well. I love Dark Souls. Loved it for the past like 5 years. But guess what? I’ve beaten it countless times, and I already have it for the PlayStation. Plot twist — this is hardly original as well.
I’m not sure why it is that Nintendo’s fan base keeps eating up the same games over and over. I’m not versed on this topic. Is it that Nintendo keeps appealing to the next generation after the previous one outgrows these games? Is it that Nintendo fans are mostly casual gamers who just don’t care?
I’m not even being a jerk. This is a genuine and sincere question.
Nintendo Switch: To Buy or Not to Buy
Here’s the deal, I think the Nintendo Switch in and of itself is a killer concept. One that it looks like Nintendo might actually pull off. I like what they’ve done with the Joy-Con controllers (although I prefer the traditional gamepad). Battery life kind of has me worried about when you might play games that require a bit more juice. But the USB-C connector sort of rectifies this.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the only game that has really grabbed my attention. I’m just not sure if it’s worth buying a damn near $300 console just so I can play a rehashed game one million times, hoping Nintendo will come out their shell and eventually make something new.
Some people are okay with this and that’s perfectly fine. Feel free to explain in the comments why Nintendo’s infallible rehashing abilities don’t seem to bother their fan base.