Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
Yesterday Nintendo released more information for the much-anticipated Nintendo NX, which they have now named the Nintendo Switch. Speculating on Nintendo products always brings up the best and worst about the company and this time is no different. The stakes are high and the electronic industry is booming. With constant changes in the electronic market, and an ever evolving gaming market, companies have a real challenge when it comes to pleasing their fans and selling hardware and software. The PlayLegit team has some speculations of our own, today, we’re here to give you a dose of Real Talk.
Let’s go ahead and praise Nintendo for the name of this console. Nintendo Wii was controversial whether you liked it or not. Wii U was just played out, strange, and used up. It was time for an update, something that rolls off the tongue, something that is sharp, meaningful, sensible, and trendy. Nintendo Switch is all of those things. This helps Nintendo when it comes to marketing, and that is always a good thing.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for the Nintendo Switch it can only be described as a home and portable gaming console in one. The hardware consists of a main dock, with all the computer fixin’s. A detachable tablet comes from the main base unit which has a screen similar to the Wii U controller. However, unlike the Wii U, this tablet has several configurations which include detachable mini control units. Two units can be used, one on each side of the screen to create one big controller or each one can be used in of itself as a fully functional controller. The halves can be connected to one another to make one controller as well. On top of that, if you aren’t into the motion control or the snap on control, you can go ahead and use a good old-fashioned pro controller. While there are endless options for controller configurations, there is a concern with the size of the mini units that snap on. They look tiny, I don’t see many full-grown men playing this console without a pro controller or both side units snapped on. People can find their own configuration, so in the end of ends, there are options for everyone.
Because of the versatile design, it seems that there is no limit to where and how you can play your favorite titles. Play them the classic way by sitting on the couch in front of your television, or take them on the go with the detachable tablet. Tell your friends to bring their tablets for an impromptu tournament, because now everyone automatically has a screen. (Can anyone say Super Smash Brothers?) You can hold the tablet in your hand and stare down at the screen while using the click in controllers, or opt to continue using the controller separately from the tablet, in this instance Nintendo has provided a flip out stand so that you don’t break your neck. In the living room, in bed, during your travels, to your friends, in the supply closet at work, in your self driven Uber car…I mean whenever, wherever, Nintendo is making it as easy as possible to take any game your playing with you anywhere.
Nintendo is king when it comes to hardware innovation, I don’t think there is any doubt in that. They have contributed well to the gaming industry when it comes to hardware in the form of the rumble pack, the first in-game camera for a handheld device, successful motion controls, analog stick, network adapter and let’s not forget, they delved in virtual reality years ago. In my opinion, one of their biggest strengths has always been their hardware. They are on the cutting edge of what is up and coming and they are willing to take risks. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but they always somehow make it work. A big reason for that is their first party software, which include some of the most well-known, well made games in human history. So if the hardware is boss, and the first party software is boss, that’s a start, but that’s certainly not the end. We know we will see these things from any console Nintendo creates.
As a big Nintendo fan myself I expect more from them than I’ve seen in the past. We need legitimate and predictable third-party titles to come out on this platform. Nintendo hasn’t needed third parties fully on board for several generations of systems, but it’s time, we want them. It’s time for them to realize that if they want to see the full potential of the Nintendo Switch, they are going to need third parties on board 100%. That being said, they have an incredible line-up of third parties already. We’ve seen this before with the Wii U however. Wii U started with third-party support in the beginning, and then it slowly waned until the end of the system’s life. It’s not only incredibly disappointing but if you consider the big picture it’s heartbreaking. If Nintendo could keep third parties interested, not only would they port multi-platform games to the system, but those third parties would make more money, prompting them to make more in-depth exclusive titles for a system that is possibly more versatile than anything on the market. If third parties made exclusives, eventually having an exclusive on the Nintendo Switch would be the pinnacle. It’s a continuum that is necessary if Nintendo wants us to take this next platform seriously.
This leads into the next subject…are the guts good enough? This is the age-long argument, are graphics and speed important in making a game great, the answer? Yes, for the most part they are. Let’s face it, there was a time when they weren’t. (I’m looking at you Playstation 2 people.) Some gamers live for graphics and this is a large part of the gaming population. If Nintendo wants to pull that particular gaming population in, they need to have the looks, and not just some of the looks. I’m talking Mass Effect, Skyrim, Gears of War, Call of Duty. This is another aspect of bringing third-party ports to your system. If the game doesn’t look good or run well on the Nintendo Switch, then why would third parties downgrade it? It’s extra time and extra money for very little benefit. The insides of this device matter and I’m hoping that the components of this technology are just as impressive as the versatility of the hardware. We need Nintendo out of the ice age and into the technological age. So far it’s looking promising. Unreal Engine tweeted that they are teaming up with third-party companies to bring games to the Nintendo Switch.
The memory and battery life are going to be another issue. If we are going to be taking this thing all over the planet, we need battery power. I don’t want to have to buy a huge backup battery to put on the back of something that is supposed to be totally mobile. We need something that lasts all day. It needs to compete with smartphones in that aspect. A battery that lasts half the day and a large space for memory. Video games are huge, and since Skyrim has already been announced for the console. I’m not taking the storage situation lightly. These aren’t things I want to be thinking about when I’m in the middle of a good game.
Some people aren’t a big fan of the screen, even here at playlegit we are running into debates over having a screen on the controller of a system. I think it’s a good benefit and it was the right decision to keep it. It’s the only thing that makes the Nintendo Switch portable, and the portability is the one aspect of this console that might kill the competition. While the other companies seem to be heading the route of virtual reality, Nintendo thinks you just need to leave the house and play on the go…like Pokemon Go…for real. Can you imagine if they somehow aligned these two powerhouses? This would give them the edge. Believe us, it’s what we’re hoping for. The one question that is left unanswered by Nintendo is where does this leave the DS? Could the true to self handheld be totally phased out. This may be a question that Nintendo doesn’t have to answer for a while. The DS is still doing well enough in sales that they don’t need to make a decision on whether another handheld needs to happen. It could be an issue of if the Switch does well, we phase out the DS, if it doesn’t we create another handheld. I can say that if Nintendo Switch sales do as well as a console and handheld combined, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Then there’s the question of compatibility. Does Switch play Wii games? Gamecube games? DS titles? What was that little piece the guy clicked into the tablet during the trailer? I think it might be a little hard for the system to be compatible with the DS simply because most titles would need the dual screens. I feel like Nintendo Switch could certainly have add-on accessories that would allow for backward compatibility of almost any system they have ever made. An even better scenario is if they invested a team into putting their entire past library of games into the downloadable content. Now that would be something.
The last consideration is price. What are we willing to pay for such a device. I feel like the standard $299 price is cutting it a little low. With everything I need out of this console, and considering what the cost of a standard smart phone is, we might expect to pay more in the $350-$399 range. It’s not that I have a problem with that price point but I better get some real bang for my buck. Anything over $399 is going to make the success of the console questionable in my mind.
Overall we are excited to see what the Nintendo Switch has to offer. While hardcore Nintendo fans like myself will always be happy with innovative hardware and first party titles, their goal needs to be to work hard on what they’ve been missing for years to pull in the people who haven’t been playing on Nintendo consoles. This is our plea from PlayLegit to Nintendo: we need graphical capability, seamless controls, hardcore online support, an incredible library of past titles from all consoles, an insane marketing campaign to get people Pokémon Going again, perfectly updated interface, first party bombshells, third party exclusives and ports, backwards compatibility, loads of memory and battery life, entertainment applications that remind us to pick up the controller and play, all wrapped up in a big bow for a decent price. Switch us on Nintendo.