Nintendo has some explaining to do.
Yesterday we got to feast our eyes on Nintendo’s newest console. Formerly codenamed “NX”, the Nintendo Switch will take home console use to a new plateau never seen before. Using the ability to take your console on the go, you can essential use the Switch as a portable device. This has a lot of cool options, like: Playing on long flights or car trips, the ability to take your games to your favorite chill spot, or going over a friend’s house to play local multiplayer.
These are all cool little options, but there are a few things that we DO NOT know about it. These are things that will concern not only myself, but the larger gaming public. Let’s take a look at my concerns for the system:
What will the price be? How much will need to come out of my hard earned cash? Will it be worth it in the end? At this point I can only speculate. If I had to put a price down right now, I’d say it would be in the $299 – $350 price range. Add the pro controller as a bundle and you’d probably come out at $399. I feel the price point will be the tipping point for many gamers out there. The more expensive the system will be, the more people will probably feel less inclined to buy the device. Now that we know what the system can do and how it looks, I’d say $299 is the best case scenario for the Switch. In bundle deals and you’ll probably see the rise up to the $399 mark and at that price for a bundle. This would be the perfect way to set the pricing for the Switch. Anything higher than this would probably spark internet outrage.
Backwards Compatibility (ANSWERED!)
Before writing this piece, I got my answer as to how backwards compatibility would work. It won’t, apparently. In an article on Destructoid, Famitsu happened to question Nintendo on the details of the device. One of those questions was if backwards compatibility would be one of the features of the device. Unfortunately for many fans out there, there won’t be any BC for Nintendo Wii U games nor the Nintendo 3DS. This doesn’t mean that BC is completely dead, however, as the Virtual Console will still probably be the next best thing for Nintendo fans to get their backwards compatibility on. This does make sense, as the Nintendo Switch will be using a new card based physical medium for their games. So the Wii U would probably not be a great fit for the Switch. For the 3DS, however, which DOES use a card-based medium, it’s a tricky situation.
While the 3DS is a fantastic portable device, it lacks good image quality that will make the games look good on the Switch. Many games would need to be patched for the games to look as good as they do on the Nintendo 3DS. Not to mention that the Switch will not have another screen to deal with the bottom half of the screen. It’s possible that this could be implemented when the console is docked. Although it is unknown if the screen is touch enabled. While I’ll always love Nintendo’s portable devices, they’re just not meant to be played on a home console.
Battery Life and Specs
For a lot of people, this is the most important point for the Switch. For me, the most important part of the Switch is the battery life. The battery life needs to be sufficient to play games on the go for many than a few hours at a time. If the iPad can do it, so should a console dedicated to video game playing. Since the console is a hybrid and that portability is one of the main features of the device, if the battery doesn’t work for more than three hours at a time, then what’s the point about making it portable? Now, to be fair, Nintendo is marketing this to be more of a “home console” than a portable device, but if recent reports* of the battery being around the three hour mark, then that would be disappointing.
As for the specs…look, the Nintendo Switch will not be more powerful than the PS4/Xbox One. Let’s get this out of the way now. Nintendo does not play the Sony/Microsoft hardcore market. The Switch is made for people who like to game, but not hardcore gaming. Nintendo’s marketing is usually gear toward a different audience than what Microsoft and Sony are accustomed too. With that said, I wouldn’t expect 4K gaming, but I wouldn’t rule out that the Nintendo Switch won’t produce SOME 4K goodness. There are reports that the device may output up to 4K* at 30fps for video streaming with 1080p, 60fps being on the gaming side. If that’s the case, then I’d be more than happy with that from Nintendo.
* – These are individual reports from Twitter and are to be taken with a grain of salt.
Game Library (3rd Party Support)
The library of games is also another concern. In the past we have seen Nintendo spout out that it had a lot of great third party support. The Wii U initially had great support behind it. But a lot of those games were never fully realized on the Wii U. Not to mention shovel-ware was apparently on the system as well. Speaking of shovel-ware, Nintendo needs to do it’s best to eliminate that from it’s new console. If the Wii or Wii U is any indication, then the new system will also include games that NO ONE will be interested in. Nintendo needs to limit these types of games from coming out in the future. While it’s true it will be hard to remove all of these types of titles from their library, But it should in Nintendo’s best interest to keep it on the low-side.
When it comes to their third party support, the games can’t just be a version for the Switch. The games coming out for the console need to be the same exact experience that you can find on the PS4/Xbox One. Gone are the days where developers would need to fix the game up so that it would look good for the Nintendo console. The console will have just as much power as the PS4 and Xbox One. We don’t need to treat a Nintendo console as a second-class device.
Overall, these are the major concerns for the Nintendo Switch. Battery life is the key to success for the hybrid, while price is the key to the success of the device itself. If Nintendo wants people to buy the system, they need to be aggressive. Not only in consumer awareness, but in marketing as well. Being called the Switch is a great step to distant themselves from the Wii U and in-time we will see them become one with their new marketing.