I’m Worried About Nintendo

I’m not sure if I can really call myself a Nintendo fan at the moment. The me of the past was certainly a Nintendo fan, and I still love all of my Nintendo games. My opinion of the company is a little different though; deteriorating further and further with each passing year until they became a little more than a joke in my eyes. I don’t want to dislike them. I was really hoping I’d see something incredible at their recent Switch presentation. I wanted to see something that would bring them back from the brink and show me a hint of the games maker they used to be. Instead, all I got was the same thing I’ve been getting from Nintendo for at least 6 years now: disappointment.

Let me just preface this by saying that I don’t want to see the Switch fail. It’s actually quite the opposite. I’ve been waiting and hoping to see Nintendo pull itself out of its console nose-dive for these last 6 years, and the Switch may very well do just that. For all I know, the Switch will be wildly successful and we’ll all be able to enjoy fun games and cool hardware from Nintendo for years to come. Right now though, I just don’t see that as being very likely.

The aspect of the Switch that seems to have most people up in arms are the prices of its various accessories: $70 for a Pro controller, $50 each for extra Joy-Cons, $90 for and extra dock. Those prices certainly are steep and they’re definitely and issue, but I feel that the larger problem lies with what Nintendo is actually offering with this system. First and foremost, where are the games? In the months leading up to the Switch’s reveal, we were told repeatedly that the Switch (then the “NX”) would have many desirable games at launch. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima even promised “a solid lineup of software“. So where are the games? Sure they’ve got The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but it’s debatable whether or not it’ll be system seller (especially with the Wii U version selling at $40 to the Switch version’s $60). Beyond that, it’ll have the 1-2 Switch tech demo available for $50, Just Dance 2017, Super Bomberman R, and a Skylanders game available for launch…and that’s it. This is all they could muster for a console which they absolutely need to succeed? One mildly interesting game, a tech demo, 2 games only a few people will care to buy and a shaky killer app? It’s not a lineup that inspires much confidence, not to mention that two of the other major games announced for the console a the almost 6-years-old Skyrim and the 3-year-old Mario Kart 8, both of which are being sold for full price. Still, if a weak launch library was the system’s only issue, then I’d still be hopeful. Unfortunately, it’s only the most prominent one.

Nintendo has created at least two more hurdles for the Switch to clear: a weak paid online service and the inherent shortcomings of a hybrid system. Of the two, the online service is the most mind-boggling since it should not be an issue at this point. Nintendo has had 10 years to learn from both the success of their competitors and the failures of their own online offerings. It appears as though they’ve refused to learn anything though. They could have studied what Sony and Microsoft have done with their services and offered us something that we’d really want to be a part of, something that we wouldn’t mind paying money for. It wouldn’t even be that hard. After all, they’ve got literal decades of games they could offer as part of some sort of free monthly game program, and Miiverse is a genuinely fun and interesting online social offering. So what do they do? They tell us that we’re going to have to pay for online access, scrap Miiverse, and in return we can have privilege of borrowing a single ROM version of a classic Nintendo game for all of one month. That’s it. It’s baffling! Nintendo is in a position to offer the best, most valuable online service out there and instead they decide to trot out something that is absolutely worse than their competition. What could have been a major asset to their new system is instead going to be a liability, and that just…sad. This is especially true for a system with built-in limitations.

By going for a hybrid experience, Nintendo has probably crafted their coolest hardware yet. However who exactly is this hybrid system for? It’s not really for home console gamers; it’s severely limited storage space and under-powered hardware have made that clear. It’s not really for mobile gamers either though, as its paltry battery life will ensure that players never take it too far away from its dock. This is something that will barely last long enough for a single flight, not to mention a long drive or a day at a convention. Its ability to quickly and easily set up local multiplayer is commendable and a genuinely attractive feature. Its something I would love to have with me at a show like PAX where there are plenty of people to play with while waiting  in line. However, that’s undermined by everything else about it. So again, who is this for and why did it need to be a hybrid experience in the first place?

Again, despite all this I do genuinely want to see the Switch, and by extension Nintendo, succeed. I want to see Nintendo stick with it through what will almost certainly be a tough launch year and really bring the games in 2018. I want to see them release new improved versions that will improve its storage and portability, and I want to see them seriously reconsider their online service and make it the incredible thing I know it can be. With this system, Nintendo really can get back on track. I know they can do it. All they’d have to do is try. Unfortunately though, making an effort just hasn’t been a very Nintendo thing to do these past few years.


What do you think of the Switch? Are you excited for it? If not, what do you see as the biggest problems facing it?

Lede image is official promotional art

13 thoughts on “I’m Worried About Nintendo”

    1. Yeah, Nintendo has refused to change in several ways and that’s becoming a problem. I mean, they shouldn’t change so much that they cease being Nintendo, but a bit of flexibility goes a long way to be sure.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It really would be a shame to wake up one day and discover that Nintendo is no longer a hardware developer. They brought video games back from the dead and created something wonderful that many of us now cherish.

      It would be wonderful if the Switch succeeds, I’m just worried that that success would happen despite Nintendos handling of system and not because of how well they did it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m kind of glad that I’m not the only person disappointed by the Switch. I just don’t understand why Nintendo can’t catch up to the competition. I’m bothered the Switch has the hard drive space of the deluxe Wii U when the PS4 has a 500 GB hard drive for the same price (and it’s a massively more powerful console, as well). And I’m also really bothered that, from what I’ve seen, the Switch’s graphics continue to greatly lag behind the other consoles of this generation. I can’t imagine a company like Nintendo doesn’t have the budget to compete with PlayStation and XBox. In fact, I can’t get over the feeling that they simply choose not to compete. Like they think that the fact that they’re Nintendo should be enough to make them succeed. Simply being Nintendo is not enough anymore. I’ve moved on to PlayStation, and I don’t know if Nintendo can coax me back at this point.

    …Sorry about the rant, but…like you, I can’t wrap my mind around Nintendo’s decisions. Just give us a powerful console with a normal controller. I don’t want all this fancy mumbo jumbo. I want classic Nintendo games like Zelda and Mario, on a console that easily matches the PS4 and XBox One, with a hard drive that doesn’t have to be expanded the day I buy it. That would be amazing, so why can’t it happen?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you might be touching on part of the problem. Maybe they don’t want to compete. The Wii and Wii U were both marketed more as extra consoles rather than something you’d want as your primary system.

      Like

  2. I’m feeling the same way, there’s alot I like about the Switch but there are several things detering me from buying it. I wrote an article expressing much of this concern as well, no backwards compatibility for digital Wii U games hurts me big time. Also, I just found out for us Canadians up here, retail price of just the console is listed at $399… Wtf!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ouch, what’s up with the price hike?

      But yeah, I don’t understand why they refuse recognize past purchases either. They did the same thing going from the Wii to the Wii U, if you bought a VC on the Wii and wanted to play it on your Wii U, you had to buy it again. That’s just dumb. Especially considering that they’re essentially selling ROMs of their classic games. It shouldn’t be this difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I share all your concerns Hatmonster!

    As you say – “where are the games?”

    Nintendo needed to come flying out the gate with this launch, but launch games (beyond Zelda) look weak (and overpriced).

    And Mario Kart and Splatoon are not killer apps if you already own them.

    As a long-time Nintendo fan, at this point I just don’t feel like I’m going to shell out $400+ for the Switch, Zelda, a controller, and whatever limited online service we’re getting.

    You also raised a good point that the Switch might well find itself pitched neither here nor there – not powerful enough compared to the other home consoles, and lacking the battery life needed for gamers on the go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

      Yeah, I’m really concerned that Nintendo is putting the Switch in a dangerous position with how this launch is being handled.

      Sony and Microsoft can get away a less-than-stellar launch line-up, but that’s because their customers can have confidence that there’s going to be plenty more where that came from. All Nintendo has right now are their own games. Combine that with the failure of the Wii U (underrated as it may be), and they’re going to have a very hard time generating momentum for the Switch.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a great point about Sony and Microsoft as well – we know that third-party games will come on those machines. With Nintendo, it’s more about the first-party efforts – but I’m not seeing anything compelling right now.

    Another worry for Nintendo – people like me should be a lock for them. I’m a long-time fan, all the way back to the early 90s, loved the N64, the cube, etc. But I can’t justify it.

    And I’m reading much the same comments from other Nintendo fans along the lines of “where be the games?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, any console lives and dies by the games it offers. It’s why the 3DS is a massive success while Sony is doing its best to forget about the PS Vita. It’s just concerning because this is more or less the same issue the Wii U had at launch and look at what happened there.

      It has some great games now, but they were very spaced out away from the launch. I certain that’s why it never gained the momentum Nintendo was hoping for it to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

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