The whispering surrounding Nintendo’s new consoles have finally found validation, as the veil on this mysterious new console has finally been lifted, if only a little bit. Now known as the Nintendo Switch, the console will be hitting shelves on March 2017, bringing with it two generations of a harsh learning curve for the beloved developer.
Here’s a few notes on what we know so far:
What is it?
The Switch brings a bunch of new gimmicks to the table, of which Nintendo can’t seem to get enough of (more on that later). This is the first console in years from Nintendo to attempt to bridge the gap between a traditional home console and portable devices, likely chosen due to the continuing success of the 3DS.
The Switch is a two step console, able to be used as basic platform for stationary console gaming and as a portable device. With both a gamepad and the new “Joy-Con” detachable wireless remotes, there seems to be a lot of room for custom gaming.
When the console is placed in a docking bay and set up to a television, you have a very standard console setup, as Nintendo finally steps up to take on the big boys at their own game (pun intended). But the exciting part is that once the Switch is removed from the bay it becomes a portable device ready for transportation. The previously mentioned detachable controllers can be slotted on both sides of the device to mimic a very large PSP type layout, but it can also be propped up and played wirelessly. Smart move Nintendo.
Games will seemingly be stored on small cartridges, which opens space on an otherwise strained hard drive. Another smart move. Consoles can also “link”, with around four maximum users combining their consoles to play. And don’t worry, splitscreen is featured.
Games and Third Party Developers
Ninetendo has repeatedly shot themselves in the foot over the years by making a development unfriendly set of consoles, which require a significant amount of busywork to port titles over. EA, Ubisoft and more simply couldn’t justify the costs of developing for a very niche audience, and because of this Nintendo has been unable to capture the market fully.
But the Switch is looking like a turning point, with few truly dramatic changes that would make development too difficult. In the recent trailer, we got to see some third party projects like Skyrim: Remastered and NBA 2K17, which is promising to say the least. Ubisoft and EA were recently quoted praising the console, so it is likely we’ll see some form of partnership deeper into the consoles lifespan.
But Nintendo sells hardware because of their first party titles, and we got a sneak peek at a few, including Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart and even a new as of yet unannounced Mario project.
Fingers crossed mistakes have been learnt this time around.
Why is Nintendo keeping it simple
We keep mentioning the mistakes of the past, and we don’t do it out of any kind of uppity bias. Nintendo has made a number of seriously costly errors in the past due to a fear of competition, and the Switch needs to avoid this more than ever.
Unable to keep up with the technical advances of the newer consoles, Nintendo made a wise decision to do something different rather than throwing out a drastically under-powered console, that being the Wii. And it works, it really worked. The Wii began a new fight for motion controls and remained uncontested as the Kinect and PS Move peripherals failed miserably.
But the Wii U was a serious misstep, as they decided to again shift the formula and bring something more familiar to the market. But with dated tech mixed with clumsy and non-intuitive controls, they lost a great deal of support from developers who withheld the most popular games out there. This reduced the Wii U to an almost Nintendo exclusive library and alienated a large percentage of gamers looking for variety.
The Switch seems to be a result of Nintendo finally coming out of this dark period, throwing away some of the naivete they displayed in the past and yet retaining what made their previous consoles so special.
By creating a platform that is both innovative and developer accessible, thanks to updated hardware and some behind the scenes magic, they seem to have finally created a console that will be able to bring all kinds of gamers into the fold.
But success is in no way guaranteed. Performance, technical specs, pricing and line-up will be what sells the Switch, and if they fall short, this could very well be the last time Nintendo puts out a true console.
We’ll keep you updated with further information when it becomes available, so keep your eyes on this spot for more ominous warnings and potentially, a whole lot of hype fuel.