At the end of last week, Nintendo previewed their latest console – the newest Nintendo device for over 4 years, the Nintendo Switch.
The name ‘Nintendo Switch’ sounds a little odd to me; the code name ‘NX’ was referred to so much, it makes much more sense. Nearly all of Nintendo’s previous products have used abbreviations, or at least very short names. The NES, Wii, Wii U, DS, DSi, 3DS. The exception to this was the Gameboy, and there appear to be more references to Nintendo’s first handheld console (as stated below).
Immediately after the announcement of the Switch, Nintendo’s stock price plummeted. I can only guess that the reason investors were not happy is due to the lack of information that came with the launch. We don’t really know the capabilities of the console, other than the features of the trailer. A number of in-house titles were announced, such as new Mario & Mario Kart titles and a new Zelda title, but the lack of other developers on board doesn’t excite investors. This drop is most likely temporary, and will probably climb as more details are announced – which isn’t until at least 2017!
The Nintendo switch is very much a hybrid device – one that is both portable, and can be used as a home console – which almost definitely means the retirement of the 3DS and Wii U in a few years. Nintendo have been trying to move to mobile devices for a long time, but could never let go of the home console market. The combination of the two seems like a good idea, as developers will only be developing games for one device, instead of portable and home consoles.
The classic ‘WiiMote’ seems to have given inspiration to the two detachable controllers on the left and right of the console. Rather strangely named Joy-Con controllers, they can be use
d individually when multiple people are playing, or as part of the portable console, much like the Gamepad of the Wii U. The multiplayer aspect is the main issue I see here. As
you can see from the image, they are not identical. In fact, on the right ‘Joy-Con’, the joystick is in the middle of the controller, a rather uncomfortable position when holding such a small controller. I can imagine there would be many arguments over who gets the left controller! The detach-ability of the controllers also suggests there is room for customisation and upgrades in the future. The internet has already devised some concepts, including a Gun attachment, GameCube controller and fishing option with a physical reel!
Another speculation is what the games will run from. In the trailer, a cartridge is put into the device itself, which is an interesting move away from discs. Obviously to make it portable Discs wouldn’t have been viable, but the retention of a physical cartridge is definitely an interesting move from Nintendo. I personally can’t see myself purchasing many cartridges, as that limits portability for me. Instead I would download the titles from the e-shop (if that is still a thing), which asks another question, how much storage will this thing have? I can’t imagine it to be anything more than 100GB, and even more would either increase price, or size of the device.
The hardware inside the Switch is still fairly unknown, although Nvidia claim that it is powered by a custom Tegra processor. One that has the same technology as its current desktop class GPU’s, which makes it seem much more powerful than the Wii U. Nintendo appear to be going in the opposite direction to it’s competitors though. Microsoft and Sony are trying to increase the quality of gameplay with the introduction of 4k, while Nintendo are trying to create the best gameplay experience on a mobile device.
Now, after seeing the trailer, would I buy it? If buying purely because of the trailer, no. There is very little information in the trailer about the power of the device. We cannot tell what it is capable of by viewing a trailer full of simulated gameplay. The next information isn’t due to be released until early 2017 and then the console is scheduled for release in March 2017. In my opinion this is one of the worst times as people will most likely still be paying off any debts left over from Christmas, which could affect sales.
There are many more questions I have, far too many for this blog post, so discuss the Switch down below:
Are you considering purchasing one? What do you think about the layout of the controllers? Will it play Pokemon Go? 😛