If you’ve been following along with recent gaming news, you’ll no doubt be aware of the fact that the mystery of the Nintendo NX has finally been revealed as Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch, named for its ability to, well, switch between a handheld and a console. If you haven’t already seen it, you can find the trailer here:
Video from Youtube User: Nintendo
Pretty interesting, no? Well, we here at UWG certainly thought so. To celebrate the Switch’s reveal, we shall be providing you all with our initial thoughts on Nintendo’s most recent innovation in a special collaboration post. (And, as always, please provide your own thoughts in the comments below!)
The Duck: When I first heard about the Nintendo NX, I had my doubts it would be Nintendo’s next innovative console, but now that I’ve seen the trailer, it looks as if the Nintendo Switch (the NX’s true name) is going to be the true successor to the Nintendo Wii. When I first started learning about the Wii U, I thought that you could use the gamepad to play games like a handheld. Well, this isn’t true because the gamepad can only stray so far from the console before you lose a connection. Plus, even when you want to just play your games on the TV, you always have the burden of that heavy screen that is not only awkward to hold, but sucks the gamepad’s battery power. It was as if the Wii U was just a prototype for a console/handheld hybrid and not a true next-gen console. (Honestly, if it wasn’t convenient to record games on, I’d really regret ever having bought it.)
The Switch appears to have answered the Wii U’s problems, which I find very cool. Not only does it appear to be truly portable, based on the variety of locations and situations we see people using it in the trailer, but the screen is not a permanent part of the controller, so you don’t have a giant, bulky thing to hold all the time. The name “Switch” really applies here because of the console’s apparent ability to switch with ease between a console and a handheld by docking it to play on your TV or disconnecting it from the dock to take it with you.
The first question that comes to mind so far is: what is the battery life for this device? Thus far, research has told me that the Switch’s battery is rumored to only last three hours, which is about the battery life of the Wii U gamepad. So while this device is portable, it’s possible we would still need to be fairly frugal with how often we use it on the go. Even though I don’t play handhelds very often and, thus, don’t really know how long people typically play them in one continuous period, I still think I can assume that three hours would be an issue?
Hatm0nster: My thoughts kind echo the Duck’s on this. I was not all that excited for the NX, actually it would probably be more accurate to say that I was not excited for it at all. You see, while they each had several good games, I found both the Wii and Wii U to be rather disappointing as gaming systems. I never liked the Wii’s motion controls, the Wii U’s gamepad always felt cumbersome, and they both spent way too much time sitting on the shelf collecting dust. They each had a few good games, just not enough. So, it was very low expectations that I entered into the Switch’s promo video. However, I have to say that I came away from that announcement quite surprised.
I’ll just say it: The Nintendo Switch actually looks like what I’d hoped that the Wii U could be: all of the power of a home console, but combined with the portability of a mobile device! More than that, it looks like the Switch is going to have full 3rd party support, unlike its last couple of predecessors. That sort of support means a steady stream of worthwhile games rather than having to wait around for Nintendo’s 1st party exclusives, and I’m absolutely all for that! If I buy a console, I want to get regular use out of it, you know?
Beyond that, it looks like the Switch could be aiming to address some of the issues with this current generation of consoles. By using cartridges instead of discs, perhaps we can finally return to the “buy now, play immediately” set up that used to make consoles an attractive alternative to a PC. I don’t know about you, but I hate having to download the entire game before I can have the chance to play it. Seriously, what are they even putting on these discs if they’re going to make us download the game anyway? Anyway, hopefully this cartridge-based system will alleviate that. The Switch also appears to be offering built-in local multiplayer! How incredible is that?! It’s 2016 and built in local multiplayer is now an exciting new feature! This is something that used to be standard and it’s taken two generations to get back to it! Ah well, I’m just psyched to see that making a comeback (not to mention that system to system multiplayer they were showing off).
All said, I’m about where the Duck is on this. I’m psyched, but I have questions. What is the battery life going to be? The rumored 3 hours would be enough I suppose, but that would rule out taking it anywhere for the day without some sort of charger. Price is also a concern. The Switch is looking pretty good, but it probably be a tough sell should they decide to charge too much for it. I want to see the Switch succeed, and I think satisfactory answers for both of these questions will be necessary for that to happen.
Cary: Like my United We Game colleagues, I too was pleasantly surprised at seeing the Nintendo Switch for the first time. In an effort maintain the element of surprise, I had only been nominally following news of the NX-now-Switch. At most, I knew that it was going to be some kind of home/mobile console that used cartridges. And, in fact, that’s what it is…and it’s so much more! After seeing the Switch’s first trailer, I quickly jotted down a bunch of thoughts. Bear with me as I expound upon them here, and repeat some of what Hatm0nster and The Duck have already said. (Bottom line: the Switch looks like a pretty darn awesome re-entry into gaming for Nintendo.)
My biggest takeaway from the trailer was play your games everywhere, all the time, with just about everyone. The Switch seems like a device that’s meant to combine games into all aspects of your life. No matter if you’re alone or with friends, traveling across the world or across town, the Switch is meant accompany you on every journey. Start a game at home and pick it up on the road. Plan out a strategy with your team and then hone your skills in the quiet of your abode. Or care to play a little Skyrim while waiting for your doctor’s appointment? You can with the Switch!
Building upon that mature, lifestyle-integration theme, it was a little strange to see a Nintendo commercial void of kids and family. (I can’t think of a single Nintendo commercial from the past couple decades that didn’t feature one or the other.) So…does that mean for the parents out there that they should get themselves the Switch while shoving other Nintendo consoles/handhelds onto their kids? Oh, I’m kidding…or am I? Because it sure seems like Nintendo wants to gain the attention of core, adult gamers with the Switch. And speaking of that, Breath of the Wild aside, it would be silly of Nintendo to not release a new Mario game as one of the Switch’s flagship games. And a pretty, new 3D, Mario game, a few moments of which they showed in the trailer, would be just the thing to really get the new console off the ground with seasoned and new gamers/Nintendo fans alike.
So how about the Switch’s hardware? Well, I thought its mobile controllers were interesting, but they really seem geared towards small(er) hands. And because they appeared rather small, they also looked rather uncomfortable/awkward to use sideways. Beyond that, with the Switch, Nintendo seems quite okay to leave the disc-based Wii/Wii U behind. That makes me a little sad, but maybe it’ll mean I’ll be able to build up my Wii U catalog! (Haha, yeah…probably not. We all know how expensive old Nintendo games can be. /sadtrombone) Furthermore, like Hatm0nster and The Duck, I also have a bunch of related thoughts on functionality and usability: what’s the battery life of the tablet? Do the separate controllers have separate batteries? How does wifi connectivity work? How does one set up multiplayer gaming on separate screens? In house, will the Switch work like the Wii U where one can play on the gamepad while someone watches something else on the TV? Just how well do the mobile controllers connect to the gamepad? Cost, specs, etc., etc.
Overall, while I’m impressed by the Switch, for me, it’s not yet a must-buy. In the coming months, as more information about it is released, that may change. I certainly like the mobile gaming aspect; I haven’t had a Nintendo handheld in several years. Playing new Zelda and Mario games is certainly a plus; and with showing Skyrim, it seems the Switch is going to support third-party developers, and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, I don’t see myself using the Switch socially. And given the plethora of other electronic things I already carry, would I want to add something as large as the Switch to my daily menagerie? I’m not sure.
The Duck: Cary makes some very good points. I, too, thought the controllers looked awkward to use, like tiny Wiimotes, but I didn’t even think of the potential for batteries for each controller! Then again, hopefully these controllers are rechargable like the Wii U gamepad so we won’t have to use lots of batteries. I just hope these controllers last a while and can be charged at the same time. We’ve already asked what the battery life is for the Switch, but what will the battery life be for the controllers? And I find it interesting that Cary also pointed out the lack of kids and families shown in the trailer. Is Nintendo finally going to start aiming their games and consoles at an older audience? For those of us who grew up with Nintendo, it feels a bit disheartening to be left behind as Nintendo ignores us to cater to the next generation of gamers. Obviously, I hope today’s kids can grow up with Nintendo like we did; I just want Nintendo to make games geared for everyone, not only children.
I also share Cary’s thoughts when it comes to whether or not I’ll be getting the Switch. I need to learn more about this new console before I can make any real decision. Honestly, right now, I just managed to save up enough money for the PS4, so I can’t add another console to my to-buy list any time soon. For me, the simple fact that Yooka-Laylee and Breath of the Wild will be playable on my Wii U means the Switch is not a must for me right now. I’m assuming us Wii U owners won’t be able to play that new 3D Mario game, but that’s a game I can pass on for now. It really depends on if the Switch delivers the experience we’re all hoping for and if it offers some exclusive games I really can’t live without.
Cary: As my final thought, I echo the Duck in saying that as long as Nintendo makes its newer titles available on the Wii U, I don’t see any reason to switch to the Switch (ha) for now. Considering that we’ll be seeing the likes of Yooka-Laylee and Breath of the Wild on both CD and cartridge, I’ll be really interested to see if there are any differences in the way the games look and feel. Since the Switch will be competing with the likes of the Xbox One (and S) and the PS4 (and Pro), one would think that it’s going to have to have competing specs, ones that will likely outshine the Wii U. So it’s reasonable to think that Nintendo’s new games might look and play better on the Switch. But who’s to say right now? At this point, it’s simply time to play the waiting game.
Hatm0nster: Indeed, we really can’t speculate any more until Nintendo releases more information. Whatever they tell us had better be impressive though, otherwise the Switch is still going to be a tough sell. Cary and the Duck probably aren’t the only gamers out there who need more than cool features to sell them on the system. When it comes down to it, gamers care more about games than they do about system specs or features. It’s that mentality that’s kept Nintendo consoles afloat this whole time. If it was all about the console, then I think there would a lot fewer Wii U owners out there. Right now, the only game that’s confirmed for the Switch is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A new Zelda game is good, but it won’t be enough to sell the system (especially since it’s coming out on Wii U also). Whatever Nintendo announces in the coming months, it had better include some must-have games.