Last night, Nintendo gave us the first full look at their new console, Nintendo Switch, and for a self-proclaimed “dormant Nintendo fan”, I have some thoughts on the messaging, games and system itself. Let’s dig in.
Launch date and price:
These are two things that Nintendo needed to get right for many of us to care about what was to follow in the presentation. If priced too high, or released too late, we simply may not care, or be turned off to the idea as a whole. Thankfully this is something that I think that Nintendo got right in terms of messaging and timing. They delivered this news right out of the gate, and then moved on to the games and hardware demos. The cost of $299.99 seems like a prime spot for any console launch, especially one as ambitiously flexible as the Switch. Similarly, the launch date is just far enough into the future to allow consumers to save up or allocate money to get one on launch day, and close enough that the hype will stay alive.
One thing that many of us wanted to know was the battery life of the Switch when played on the go and undocked. Obviously this will be depended on the game being played and the features of the console being used, but anywhere from two and a half to six and a half hours will be available. To me this seems just fine, and a reasonable amount.
This is one of the aspects of the new console in which I was most interested. After seeing the teaser video back on that random-ass day in October where the Switch and Red Dead Redemption 2 were revealed, I became concerned that this new controller was going to be where my interest in the Switch would die, for two reasons. The first is the gimmick aspect. This seems like another way for Nintendo to innovate on how you play, which hasn’t always been a huge success for them. The second is the size of the Joy-Con when used in the “wand” configuration. That thing looks really small. As a fan of the original “Duke” controller on the OG Xbox, I like a big, beefy, vibrating controller in my hands. This looks like something that I could lose track and traction of quickly, something that only a hands-on interaction will tell. As far as the functionality of the Joy-Con, I have to say that I am impressed, they seemed to squeeze a lot into these little things and seem to have in a way build the system around them, for that reason they need to be good.
As a developer and publisher of games Nintendo has a solid track record that needs no introduction, and very little, if any course correction. What has needed improvement over the last generation specifically is support for those crucial third-party games that round out a system’s library and can help justify the purchase of a console to those with only enough cash to get one. Nintendo wasted no time getting into controllers that showcased their new Joy-Con, 1, 2 Switch, and Arms. Sadly neither of these appealed to me, but thankfully I wouldn’t have to wait long to see a game that I wanted to play right now.
Mario. Yeah, you knew it would be everyone’s favorite plumber. Seeing Mario run around on screen will always coax a smile to my face, and man I wanted hop into that ship and wear that hat and run around with Mario right then and there.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild needs no more hype from me. I want to play it and want to play it badly. I will one day.
I was also excited to see the announcement of Xenoblade 2, a new Shin Megami Tensei title, Splatoon 2 looked cute as ever and I loved seeing Sega and Suda 51’s set of super awkward moments as well.
I think a weak point was the Skyrim intro as it is obvious that at this point having Skyrim on your console is like having Minecraft. It’s a “me too” factor that holds no weight for me. It was also painfully evident that it’s not the recently released “ Special Edition” of Skyrim, perhaps pointing out that this console does indeed lack the power of its current generation counterparts.
I do not want a Fire Emblem Warriors game. I was getting full on excited when I saw the iconic gems and shield, but then my hopes were dashed when they added “warriors” as the game’s suffix. Nope, I want a proper Fire Emblem console release.
EA Sports FIFA, yay football…..
I think Nintendo is on a nice trajectory here. The games look good, the console looks sleek and not like a toy that is connected to a TV, the first party line-up is already shaping up, and they have a decent amount of third-party and independent support in the pipeline. With the launch just a few months off, I think that did what they needed to do to establish that they are still swinging in this fight, and aren’t tapping out just yet. For the love of all that his Hyrulian, make enough Switch units so we don’t have rioting in the streets.