Nintendo Switch Is An "Evolution", But What About Price And Specification?
On October 20, 2016, months long rumors have reached to an end, almost. Nintendo Switch has been officially introduced to the public, with the Japanese platform holder offering a first trailer about the new console and basically saying we won't have any other news on it before next year. Which is pretty significant when it comes to the communication. Nintendo has made a lot of mistakes lately in terms of communication, as you could remember people were outrageously confused at Wii U presentation. Since then, they've striven to have a clearer and faster communication with its fans, more… Direct. While this is something they're not returning to yet, they've opted for the same approach.
Basically, talking too much could repeat the mistakes you made in the past. This is the idea Nintendo has in mind right now: we're taking less mediatic exposure at this point, so we can make less mistakes and prevent competition to find solutions to contrast our product by the time it releases on the market (do you remember Vita remote play with PS4 and SmartGlass for Xbox One?).
Opposite to Wii U, which was seen as a threat to PS4 and Xbox One back in the days because of Wii's huge commercial success, Nintendo Switch comes in a time where Sony and Microsoft are pretty relaxed about their competitor – they don't fear Nintendo anymore, so they would hardly be interested in following its steps now, though. And this could be what makes Switch successful again, in case people see and like the evolution it offers.
We're talking about "evolution" rather than "revolution" simply because with Switch Nintendo is carrying on the concept created with Wii U, making it finally complete and up to the standards – at least, at the first look we could take – of living room entertainment products. I mean, Wii U is basically a toy, you could see it from the first impact.
I remember I was really disappointed by the look and feel once I bought it on day one, so this is the first great improvement the Japanese platform holder has apparently done so far. In my opinion. Someone else could think something more like a Wii U, aesthetical in terms of product quality, could be more adapt to people carrying the console all over the places they're going every day (and to the kids??)
Well, to those guys thinking this I say we're in a world where 5 year old kids play all day long with air thin iPads, without basically destroying them in few seconds. In a world where, again, we have our tablets and expensive smartphone always with us. So why you still think handheld gaming should be cheap, in all the senses?
When they ask me what I think about Nintendo Switch, I give the same answers I usually give when platform holders announce new consoles. I don't think anything about a console. The console itself is just the mean by which you can play games, so the most important thing here is, and will always be, games.
From the first look we could give Switch, it seems third party are timidly showing their support: Bethesda has a low budget product such as a Skyrim remaster on its way, so why shouldn't they make this experiment and see if Nintendo's audience can fit their needs. 2K Games have an easy port with NBA 2K17. So nothing new, really: it's basically like when, with Wii U, EA brought the Mass Effect 3 quick port to Nintendo's people, just experiments.
First party games will still be the most important thing in Nintendo's portfolio but, you know, it could be not enough. I don't know if Nintendo really cares about that, but for us as consumers it is important that Switch gets support, since support is what determines the longevity of a platform. Wii U could live forever, if you look at the quality of its first party exclusives, but it didn't because most popular games weren't available for it, and people always had the idea of this dying console that doesn't deserve your money.
Nintendo can keep going on about its own crazy ideas, and I hope it will be like that forever because this industry needs ideas and people brave enough to make them reality, but it surely needs to understand, they have to approach and embrace all the different ways to create and play games. Like Bethesda's latest (and standard) RPG.
I like the idea of playing the same games on both portable and home consoles, sharing progress and whatever. It's something no one has really made possible, maybe Sony could do that with PS Vita but lost a good opportunity back in the days of its announcement. As a player I'm happy for that, because it's getting harder and harder for me to sit down in front of a TV and playing long sessions with the exception of weekends.
So personally, it's a sub-judice yes for now. We're yet to learn everything about pricing and battery life. It's really something that's subject to change from now to the day when we'll have some more details. Nintendo will need specs of a quality good enough to sustain this vision, and again, more importantly it will need games of all kinds that deserve to be played.