Over three months after its debut, the Nintendo Switch’s future was given a glimpse to all at E3 2017. In this piece, I give my thoughts about the Nintendo Switch and what’s to come, definitively and specutively.
The Switch’s Beginnings
Upon its release, the Nintendo Switch was met with much hype and anticipation. Hell, even before its release, the NX was amped up by fans, social media and news sites before we even knew what the thing was.
So far, Nintendo has been doing well during this transitional period to balance Wii U owners, people who skipped the previous consoles and newcomers to Nintendo.
Think about it: what was the big reason to own a Switch if you already owned a Wii U? Breath of the Wild? That also released on Wii U and unlike the Twilight Princess situation, Breath of the Wild on Switch/Wii U is barely different, technically only by 180p under certain conditions.
“Well, what about the next big release for Switch?” you may ask. You’re right, we can’t forget…Mario Kart 8. Deluxe. Which many have played a while ago. In 2014.
To be fair, a lot of these ports from the Wii U and other consoles DID have additions and weren’t just 1-to-1 copies. Despite this, it’s hard to agree that these games are worth the $300 investment plus the additional cost for the games themselves.
So unlike past generations, the Nintendo Switch’s first few months have included a lot of re-released titles. This way, it appeals to the audience of newcomers while not ‘insulting’ the fans who bought the games when they first released.
A Glimpse Toward the Horizon
Nintendo’s E3 Presentation was on June 16, 2017. On there, they announced the Switch’s upcoming games for 2017 as well as some in 2018. They showed off some games known prior to E3, like Super Mario Odyessey, Pokken Tournament DX, Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem Warriors and Skyrim. But in addition, they announced new games in development:
- A new Kirby game, with gameplay looking similar to Return to Dreamland
- A new Yoshi game, continuing the Yarn style introduced in Woolly World
- Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, which would look 1000x better without Rabbids
- Metroid Prime 4, which got the biggest buzz despite Metroid not being a huge seller
- A “core RPG Pokemon” title by Game Freak, which I think means something like Pokemon XD or Gale of Darkness but we’ll see.
All of these games and more are available on Nintendo’s YouTube page so if you haven’t seen them already, I implore you to.
Personally, I was not too impressed with this year’s E3 from everyone, not just Nintendo. Outside the announcements of games we’re probably going to see at the next E3, there was very little; the 3DS has a lot more going on this year than the Switch. Unfortunately, a lot of these expos seem to be about selling ‘hype’ rather than games.
E3 aside, the Switch has definitely has a worthwhile future. It shows promise and we haven’t even see what they could do with a new Mario Party, Smash or Pikmin will be like. And I’m positive there’ll also be games that no one would ever see coming.
Yep, the future is bright for Nintendo’s home console. Or portable console. Or wait…
Where Do We Go From Here?
Ever since the unveiling of the Switch, there’s been much confliction on how the console should be approached: Nintendo adamantly has said it’s a home console, while some primarily use it as a portable device. And others believe Nintendo should push it as a hybrid, in order to conslidate their divisions both towards one device.
Only time will tell which route the Switch will end up taking. Personally, I don’t believe it can replace the stead of a handheld; the iPad didn’t replace the iPhone.
There are a few reasons why I believe it can’t replace a handheld:
- Size: While the Switch can fit easily into a bag or purse, it’s way more difficult to fit it into a pocket or even some jackets. In fairness, carrying cases and bags have existed for portable consoles in the past but there is a difference in having one for convinience and requiring one.
- Battery Life: Arguably the whole determining factor of portability, the battery life on Switch is what holds it back. It’s true the original 3DS had roughly the same length but even then that was barely passable. Yeah, you could get a battery pack or buy a car charger but is this what it’s come down to? Carrying around extra batteries? The Switch’s current battery of 2-3 hours works if you’re out for a bit or just traveling from point A to B. But if you’re out all day or stay at Grandma’s house a little longer than expected, just remember to save your game before it dies.
- Price: A huge benefit of handheld gaming is that the resources tend to be low since you don’t need 4K resolution on a screen the size of your hand. Because of this, the cost of developing the system and games can be cheaper. This allows for a lower price point to play Nintendo’s games. But the Switch? $300 console and $60 games. That doesn’t even include a Pro Controller, storage expansion or other accessories you may want. For the price of a brand new Switch and one game, you could have a new 3DS and FIVE games.
A counterpoint to all this would be to make some sort of ‘Switch Mini’ but that might further complicate things: Smaller form would mean smaller battery and many games are already optimized for Switch’s current screen. Making it smaller could make the UI harder to read. You could ask developers to provide updates but then some will while others won’t…see what I mean? Complicated.
All in all, what works for one person won’t work for another. Nintendo will make the best decision that works for everyone, instead of catering to ‘hardcore’ or ‘casual’ fans. I think the best way would be to keep the home and handheld divisions seperate, at least for now. But other people, and even Nintendo, might think and do otherwise.
I’m not planning on getting a Nintendo Switch anytime soon. Partly due to financials but largely due to how there isn’t much that “Wows” me about the console. The few games that interest me doesn’t warrant the large investment in my eyes. The “hype” surrounding it from people, the media and commercials didn’t do much to sway my opinion either.
It’s not even because I was “burned” by the Wii U or anything; in fact, I love the Wii U very much. Maybe I’m just getting older, maybe I have too many games as it is or maybe it’s all or none of the above.
In the end, despite the marketing of the Switch focusing on adults, I do believe the future of the Switch, Nintendo and of video games will always lie on the younger ones.