So, it’s official. The long-awaited ‘NX’ has finally been revealed, and it’s called the Nintendo Switch: a hybrid device that links the worlds of home console and handheld gaming together. It’s a concept that journalists have been predicting for quite a while, but it has now been officially confirmed through the trailer released earlier today:
After having a few moments to digest the content of the reveal, here are Power Up Gaming’s initial impressions of the Switch, and what it suggests about Nintendo’s strategy for their next platform.
As a concept, the Switch is an excellent idea. Nintendo have always been a strong performer with their handheld consoles, and I’m sure that after the Wii U, they’ll be keen for some of that magic to rub off on their home console business once again.
The utility of this device appears to be quite bewildering at this stage. It seems that you’ll be able to play games remotely while on the go (assuming that you have a decent internet connection, at a guess), then dock the mobile device with the home console and carry on playing on a big screen. The nearest current comparison would be Remote Play with the PS4/Vita, but this seems much more useful in a variety of different situations. Also, the controller configuration is a great design, in that you can quickly clip both Joy-Con controller parts to the mobile device.
However, I do wonder if there’s likely to be some confusion around the control systems involved. There seems to be several different input methods with these controllers. You can play with them clipped onto the mobile device, unclipped and working wirelessly, in two-player mode where each player holds one half of the separated controller, and also as a more traditional controller when playing at home. There was also a pro controller in the trailer, which adds another input method to the Switch. What wasn’t shown was the touchscreen interface with the mobile device, but it has been heavily rumoured that this will be a feature. If so, that’s yet another way to interact with the Switch.
For players, this all sounds like great news and offers a wide variety of accessible options, but I do wonder if this will leave developers feeling a little cold. If game creators have to account for so many different input configurations, how will that affect the games they create? For example, will you be able to play Splatoon on the go with one split controller between two players, or will you need two separate full controllers to play multiplayer locally? Will control schemes have to be compromised to cater for people playing with only one analog stick? Will certain games have to opt out of certain control methods (i.e. touchscreen) if they require more complicated inputs? This could become very confusing, especially if the control schemes in place are only adopted on a case-by-case basis.
As of the time of writing, Nintendo’s press release for the Switch is unavailable on their website, so there isn’t a lot of clarification around this. The idea is really neat, and I’m a fan of the design. I’d just like to know what developers can do with it and how rigorously Nintendo will force their games to suit all control options.
Having been an avid Nintendo supporter for years, I was eagerly awaiting this announcement. I was ecstatic for the idea of a half-portable-half-home console, put out by a company that truly understands the mobile market, and solid first-party titles. In short, the Switch hits all the right notes.
However, I’m not one-hundred percent sold on anything yet.
We have two sides to this reveal. On the one hand, we might be able to play games on the go, seemingly anywhere, as well as with the console snuggled up in its dock back home. This sounds awesome, and the idea of continuing a big, console-gaming experience on the go with a screen the size of an average tablet is appealing (although battery life could be an issue).
On the other hand, my biggest grip with Nintendo and their consoles has always been giving players a great lineup of games to experience, outside of household titles such as Mario and Zelda. Yes, those games are great, but more third-party support is needed. While there was Skyrim playing in the trailer, that game is now five years old; I’d like current games, if possible.
Like Adam mentioned, I too was a little confused about how the seemingly many ways controller use would translate to the real world; from wireless, to “clipped” on, to the pro controller – I wonder how they all can, or will, work together. Also, I’d rather there be no touchscreen interface, but if rumours are correct that will probably be revealed in time.
I hope developers, such as the list Nintendo released, are really all-in on this console. While I love Mario and Zelda as much as the next person, I want to play other games as well, and never-before has Nintendo given players this option, really. In the trailer we also got a glimpse of the console being used between gaming competitions, and if this can be a reality, I’m game. If Switch can deliver on all of these fronts, I’m ready to jump on board.
Feeling a little burned after being a relatively late Wii U adopter, I had grown weary of the constant NX speculation over the past few months and considered myself unlikely to have any great interest in Nintendo’s official announcement today.
After being thoroughly impressed with the Switch’s reveal trailer, however, I’ve found myself thinking that the console is what the Wii U should’ve been all along. While the GamePad was undoubtedly a novel concept, it always felt a little half-baked. Stray more than, say, a couple of rooms away from your Wii U, and the novelty soon wore off; what had potential to be an innovative hybrid of portable and console gaming was soon reduced to being little more than an additional monitor.
With the Switch, Nintendo appear to have fully committed to this concept of hybridity, and the initial outpouring excitement on social media – along with the company’s stock increase – appears to suggest that users are buying into their approach. The idea of being able to play the same game at home and on the move so seamlessly is a simple, yet undoubtedly exciting, one. While the PS4’s Remote Play and Xbox’s Game Streaming offer users on those respective platforms a solution to a certain extent, each come with their own limitations and reliability issues.
It’s especially promising to see that Nintendo has wasted no time in touting the various third-party developers and publishers that are onboard with the Switch from launch, from Activision and Bethesda to Square Enix and Take-Two. Hopefully, unlike in the Wii U’s case, these developers will be provided with the necessary tools and support to create content for the console in the long-term.
Regardless of NVIDIA’s announced involvement, the Switch was never going to be able to compete on a technical level with the likes of the Xbox One Scorpio and PS4 Pro, and so it came down to what Nintendo selected as its key differentiator. If the company is able to continue with this initial, positive momentum by continuing to nurture both its first- and third-party developers so that they can embrace the system’s unique concept, then it may well be on to a winner.
After watching the reveal trailer for the Switch, I’m still not quite sure how to feel.
On one hand, we finally have a portable home console that everybody knew Nintendo was capable of. Sleek design, multiplayer functionality and support for some of our favourite Wii U titles are just a few of the things we have to look forward to. Mario Kart 8 on the go? Yes, please.
But on the other hand, we have a company that many speculate might be well past its prime. The Wii U was one of the company’s biggest failures in a while and it left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths.
There’s a lot on the line with this release and with the amount of information out, who can even begin to guess where this will take everybody’s favourite plumber-loving game company?
That being said, the Switch seems to strike a nice balance between a new, innovative direction for the company while still maintaining the quality handheld experience we’ve known them for since nearly the beginning. Plus, it’s not the Wii U GamePad: anything’s better than that piece of battery-sapping plastic, which has me very anxious about the battery life of the Switch. If Nintendo has learned anything from the Wii U’s tablet, it should be that 45 minutes is an unacceptable battery life.
Regardless, Nintendo has seemingly made a smart move in showing that it will indeed continue to offer third-party support. However, it seems strange to me that everyone is getting excited about this when the Wii U’s release promised the exact same thing. Remember Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed III, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Deus Ex: Human Revolution? The Wii U had plenty of third-party titles. It’s just up to Nintendo to get the right titles on their new console and make sure the jump to a handheld format adds to the gameplay rather than takes away from it.
There’s not a doubt in my mind that Nintendo will do an amazing job making their own stuff portable. They just need to make sure the third-party titles also look and play well. Early performances of third-party titles could really make or break the possibility of other developers investing time and effort into ports to the Switch. So let’s make sure they get it right.
Let’s also hope they get the controllers right. The small, almost mini Wiimotes that slide onto the tablet’s sides look simple but effective. Again, let’s just hope Nintendo’s design mixes well with games such as NBA 2K, Call of Duty (if it makes an appearance on the console) and Skyrim. Because at the end of the day, Nintendo fans are a given when it comes to a purchase. It’s everyone else that they look to impress with the Switch and given they nail these few things, I don’t see why this portable home console can’t be the next big thing. Throw in tablet/smartphone game support, the possibility of VR support of some kind and the ability to play retro titles, and Nintendo might just be making up for the sins of the Wii U.
What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? Do you share our collective optimism? Let us know in the comments section below.