Nes…SNES…N64…Wii…Wii U… Switch. I may have missed a few steps but that is the general console progression that Nintendo has given us. I owned or had access to the NES, SNES, and N64. There were a few years I fell off of the gaming scene completely but I came back around 2009 and found my friend with Xbox 360’s, PS3’s, and Wii’s. The Wii was the one that stood out. Props to Nintendo for actually innovating and not following. However, Nintendo’s next offering is the Switch and the more I learn about it the less it makes sense to me. There are things that do make sense about it but others that just don’t.
Nintendo always seems to handle hardware in it’s own special way. They screwed up royally with the Wii U and some of that has carried over to the Switch. It looks like Nintendo didn’t know if they wanted to make a console or a handheld. Hopefully the Switch finds an identity but it seems a bit confused. There is just so much I find questionable about the unit, like…
- 32GB built-in memory – This seems awfully low given that some of the announced games are already clocking in at 16 GB.
- SD expansion memory – Unlike the Vita, you’ll be able to use non-proprietary memory when you run out of the built-in memory.
- No packed in game – It’s not uncommon for consoles not to come with a game but the PS4 and Xbox One had some free titles available at launch, haven’t heard about and freebies on the Switch.
- Controllers – Detachable controllers that can be put together as single controller? Neat idea but it may depend on the build quality of them
- Non-symmetrical controllers – This seems odd when you look at them individually and that is where is doesn’t work in my mind. The controller that doesn’t have the centered stick may be awkward to use.
- Graphics: docked vs. undocked – Nintendo hasn’t been very clear about how the graphics will be scaled down while undocked.
- No local screen when docked – Apparently you can’t use the local screen and a tv at the same time. Sure would be nice to use both or to have something like Air Play.
- Costs – $300 for the console without a game and the price of additional controllers seem sort of high.
Of all the things though, the strangest is the emphasis on motion controls. In the day and age of virtual reality, Nintendo is trying to recapture the magic of the Wii. Back in 2006 motion controls catapulted sales of the Wii into the millions but since then they have not faired well. The PlayStation Move controllers were pretty much gone and forgotten until they became part of the PSVR system. Then we also have the complete abandonment of the Kinect by Microsoft. There will possibly be some feel of nostalgia for motion controls but is not a good long term bet when the industry is trying to get behind VR.
For me, there are less reasons buy the Switch than there is to not buy. I’m not a fanboy of Nintendo but I do want them to do well. Plenty of loyalist will buy this system but those that aren’t are likely to be very cautious about the system or pass on it all together. Even those that are enthusiast, if they already own a Wii U they already have a way to play the new Zelda game.
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A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.