After years of speculation and waiting, the long-awaited Nintendo Switch is finally just a few weeks away as Nintendo’s presentation on the new console last week revealed, along with giving us a greater idea of what to expect from the system at launch, what’s ahead for the rest of the year, and (importantly) what lies ahead for the future of the system and Nintendo.
In the days since Nintendo’s big announcements for the system and some hands-on impressions with the console in New York City, the DualShockers staff collected their thoughts and reactions to Nintendo’s new home console/handheld hybrid, what did and didn’t work from the company’s presentation on the console, and our thoughts on whether we’ll get the system at launch, wait and see, or pass this time around.
Lou Contaldi, Reviews Editor
Let’s face it — Nintendo botched the messaging in their reveal event. Not as awful as the Xbox One reveal, and not as snore inducing as the PlayStation 4 Pro event… but not too far off either.
When gamers were tuning in hoping to see sizzle reel after sizzle reel with an amazing lineup, Nintendo Switch seems barren in comparison. With 80 games in the pipeline, it is a surprise that Nintendo wasn’t able to show much more — let alone give Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a spot in the presentation, which only came to light in follow-up YouTube videos after the event. Hopefully, the lack of titles for 2017 we’ve seen (so far) is to keep Nintendo’s E3 presentation interesting.
With that said, Nintendo Switch is already a Day 1 purchase for me and will undoubtedly be replacing one of my consoles: my PlayStation Vita.
With Vita’s third-party support wavering as of late, Nintendo Switch is the handheld console I need in my life. I can’t imagine Nintendo Switch being someone’s only console, but as a companion to my PlayStation 4, I can see switching between the two happily — with the PlayStation offering the visuals and variety, and Nintendo boasting first parties, portability, and added creativity. For the moderate price-point, Nintendo impressed me with their concept and build for the Switch — hopefully they can court audiences and developers in the same way.
Leif Conti-Groome, Staff Writer
Quality games are the lifeblood of any system and with the reveal of the Switch line-up, it feels like Nintendo is lacking precious plasma. At first glance, the list of titles looks kind of promising: there’s staples like Mario, and Xenoblade in there along with some great third party franchises like Shin Megami Tensei and No More Heroes. But looking at the release roadmap for this year that Nintendo showed on their Twitter page and elsewhere, things look barren. A lot of those trailers that we saw were devoid of gameplay and even information. Super Mario Odyssey doesn’t launch until holiday 2017, leaving the heavily relied-upon The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to do most of the work during the system’s first few months.
The most disappointing part was that a lot of the major games covered in the presentation had been shown off before (and in Zelda’s case, too much) and there were no major surprises. Where was the left field announcement like Mother 3 or a new Metroid game? Why haven’t old franchises been brought back from near extinction such as Kid Icarus or Punch Out!? Honestly, the titles that really got me excited were the unexpected ones like Super Bomberman R and the fascinating Project Octopath Traveler. I was probably one of the few looking forward to Wii U ports as well yet the under-utilized Super Mario Maker was nowhere to be seen. If Odyssey can have a throwback to Super Mario Land, then SMM should get classic Mario palettes to play around with as well.
All of this would be forgivable if the piecemeal nature of the Switch wasn’t so painful on the wallet. $299.99 USD sounds great when you first look at it, but then the details of how much additional hardware costs start to weigh in. Extra Joycons and Pro controllers come with a hefty price tag which almost equals half of the Switch system when bought together. Even worse is that the costs will be even more devastating here in Canada.
Going back to my earlier point about quality games being key, the console is not bundled with anything. This could change going forward — maybe there’s a downloadable title on there or a demo cartridge — but it’s still concerning. Gimmicks do not a successful system make and I worry that the Switch will go down the route of the Wii U and PlayStation VR by having interesting features but not enough games to utilize them.
As much as I’d love to hold off buying Nintendo’s hybrid until it gets a much needed transfusion, I play and write about games, so new consoles are difficult to say no to. With that being said, I will be buying the Switch at launch.
Tyler Fischer, Staff Writer
I went into the Switch reveal truly believing Nintendo were going to knock it out of the park. But as you know, that didn’t happen. Not even close. I went from vehemently refreshing Amazon waiting for preorders to go up, to not preordering at all. What I saw up on stage was old, tone-deaf Nintendo.
I still believe in the device itself. But right now, I’m not interested. All the game’s shown or announced don’t speak to me — bar The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — as they were either old ports, meh-ish, or downright gimmicky.
I could go on and on about my disappointment and how I think Nintendo has no clue what it’s doing anymore in hardware, but rather than do that, I’ll just convey it all through these Michael Scott gifs (the ultimate and most efficient way of communication):
Me for most of the conference:
Me during a few moments of the conference (I’m looking at you 1–2-Switch):
Azario Lopez, Staff Writer
I went into the Nintendo Switch presentation with low expectations, but an open mind. The opening of the event pulled me in with the appealing retail price and the removal of region locking. I began to have high hopes for the system until I saw their game line-up for the launch and 2017.
Let me just say that this system should have been released in November, not March. That way, the console would launch with a Mario game that would no doubt sell a large amount of units. Sadly, Zelda does not stand out to me as a game that will move 3 million console units. Furthermore, and this really gets me, why didn’t they just make Mario Kart 9!? Why re-release a game that came out 3 years ago!?
Nintendo are just proving to me that they don’t care enough about their system to support it with new games and that line-up will show in the sales of the console and the 3rd party support that this system desperately needs. Sorry Nintendo, not even your loyal fanbase waited 5 years to play Skyrim on the Switch. I hope the best for the Switch, but at this point Nintendo hasn’t given me a reason to care about buying one.
Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
When it comes to gaming and my interest in the hobby, I owe a huge debt to Nintendo. From starting out with the NES and Game Boy and crunching hundreds of hours into games like Mario Kart or the original versions of Pokemon, Nintendo’s games and consoles come packed in not only with charm and creativity, but also nostalgia and a fondness for the games of old. Myself and thousands of others can attest to this from my generation, and that feeling definitely drives what makes learning and hearing about a new Nintendo console so exciting, but also (in recent years) nerve-wracking.
With a few days having passed now since the Nintendo Switch’s big reveal event, the years of speculation and uncertainty around the system have (mostly) been put to rest. Though it seems like a dream that the system we once called the “NX” now has a name, a price, and a release date, the questions are no longer on what the system actually is and what it can do, but instead are now shifted to “will the Switch deliver?”
Based on the presentation that Nintendo gave last week, I find myself somewhere in the middle when it comes to praising the direction that Nintendo is taking with the Switch and its upcoming games, while still being apprehensive about whether the system and its titles will be able to correct some of the misdirection that Nintendo has found itself in over the past decade.
With the Wii U having clearly been a set-back for Nintendo financially and creatively following the massive success of the Wii, the Nintendo Switch’s initial ideas and core concept are incredibly appealing to me. As a New York City resident with a limited amount of time and a lot of commuting, the grab-and-go aspect of the Nintendo Switch is simple and effective, and I truly can’t wait to get my hands on one of Nintendo’s sleekest pieces of hardware in quite some time. They’ve clearly learned a lesson from the toy-like appearance of the Wii U and I appreciate that Nintendo is trying to reign back in older audiences with a sleek, more mature design and interface. And at its price of $299, I think it’s at a reasonable-enough price to justify the purchase for what is, essentially, a suped-up tablet dedicated to gaming.
When it comes to the system’s launch and software support however, I’m far more trepidatious and Nintendo’s presentation clearly didn’t deliver on a timeline for substantial support for the system. The biggest offense came down to a lack of focus on what will be available immediately when the system launches, and aside from some interesting and quirky titles like 1-2-Switch, seems to be relying solely on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to carry the system during its launch month.
I have no doubts that Breath of the Wild will deliver on the years of waiting and be an incredible experience on the Switch and Wii U, and even less doubts when it comes to the fact that it will certainly be the first game I’ll plan to get my hands on with the system, whenever I decide to buy it. However, many of the games that Nintendo showed during its presentation – such as Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey – won’t be arriving until later this year, and with an apparently barren launch lineup that we’ve seen so far, I’m not so sure I can rely on solely Breath of the Wild to get me through until my next Nintendo fix, or other games from third-parties.
Ultimately, I’m excited about the Nintendo Switch – but, cautiously so. Nintendo’s presentation has certainly sold me on the concept and capabilities of the system and, as expected, I’ll be eagerly looking forward to spending dozens of hours with some of my favorite franchises and games that I’ve loved from the company since I was a kid. However, while the Switch represents an exciting step forward for Nintendo creatively with the system’s new possibilities, I’m a bit more hesitant when it comes to whether the ghosts of Nintendo’s past missteps may push the Switch (and the company) off-course, in a generation that they can’t afford to any more.
At this time, I’m planning to buy a Nintendo Switch, but not at launch – I’ll give it some time and see how things pan out before I flip the switch (yes pun intended) and press the Order button.
Giuseppe Nelva, Editor-in-Chief
I must admit that my expectations for the Switch were already quite low. As an old-fashioned Kyoto company, Nintendo has appeared more and more detached from the reality of the market and from what people beyond hardcore Nintendo fans actually want, so I fully expected to see more weird decisions. And those certainly came.
The console comes underpowered and overpriced. While the lack of sheer horsepower would have been acceptable if the price was competitive, $300 isn’t a good price point for the least powerful console of the generation, and all signals show that it’ll cost even more in Europe, which is borderline crazy. I heard many arguing that Nintendo should have packed in 1-2-Switch with the console for free, but I actually think Nintendo did take the right decision in avoiding that: not everyone cares for party games. Of course, said smart decision should have been accompanied by an actual competitive pricing, and it isn’t, so it’s all moot.
I almost have the feeling that someone at Nintendo thought that with the 3DS they got away with launching overpriced and then cutting the price a few months afterwards. So if things go badly, they might expect to be able to do the same with the Switch.
The problem is that the market, nowadays, only lets you get away with this trick of things once, if you’re lucky. That card has been played already. The launch line-up is a deserted wasteland: the whole launch window of the console basically relies exclusively on Zelda, and you know what they say about one-trick ponies.
Third party publishers and developers have professed enthusiasm and love for the Switch in the past few months, but the announcements definitely sing a different song. They all appear to be very tentative, with just one or two titles each, and nothing outside the realm of the super-safe or cheap bet. Many games are old or ports of titles that have been released on other consoles already. Basically, none of them will actually sell consoles: it’s a token presence, and will have a token effect.
Nintendo boasted 80 games in development for the console. To those not actually thinking about it, it might appear a huge number. Truth is that it’s actually extremely small less than two months from release. To provide a term of comparison, in a similar time frame the PS4 had 180 games in development: that’s more than twice as many.
Nintendo’s penchant for gimmicks will always hurt the variety of its game line-up. Implementing support for those features comes with a cost, and publishers can’t be blamed for not wanting to shoulder it, especially without a large install base to justify the investment. The jump on the paid online bandwagon isn’t surprising, and not particularly deplorable on its own (everyone does it, so why not Nintendo?), but what the service actually offers doesn’t seem to be even remotely sufficient to justify it.
The console itself is interesting in its basic ideas, but it’s simply a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. As a home console, it’s hindered by a large power disadvantage: as a portable, it’s big, heavy and unwieldy. I certainly don’t expect many to embrace it as a regular commute console. Maybe some will do it in the beginning, but I can see a lot of people getting tired of carrying around something that big on top of their usual equipment (not to mention actually pulling it out to play on a crowded commuter train), and start leaving it at home.
I’m sure many will say “graphics aren’t everything!” but it’s very naive to think that computational power only translates into graphics. AI, physics, crowds, density, and many more gameplay elements are influenced by it. There is a reason why the world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks like the most empty and barren of any major open world game released nowadays, and that’s simply because the console doesn’t have enough juice. Having an underpowered console to work with severely limits what kind of games and features developers can create.
The region free setup is certainly a step in the right direction, but I have no praise to give for a move that comes two generation late and is by now industry standard. The only really positive element is Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which looks really interesting, but like with every Xenoblade, it’ll be difficult to play it without realizing how much better it could have been if the talented folks at Monolith Software weren’t hindered by sub-par hardware.
Purchasing intentions: Will wait for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Now that you’ve heard our impressions of the Nintendo Switch, it’s time to share your own! What are your thoughts on Nintendo’s reveals and announcements for the system? Are you planning to buy the system at launch or waiting to see what happens? Comment down below!