Alright. It happened. Nintendo revealed what their next big thing for console gaming is. Or should I say "console/handheld" gaming?
Basically Nintendo's next system is called the Nintendo Switch. I am completely hyped for it since I'm a bit of a Nintendo fan. Well, not really, I try to balance everything out to prevent favoritism. But still. I'm hyped for this thing.
Before I explain it to the best of my ability, I strongly encourage you to copy/paste the link directly below this very sentence into your search bar and watch the reveal trailer for the Nintendo Switch.
Assuming you haven't seen the trailer for the Nintendo Switch like I encouraged you to do, the main "gimmick" of the Nintendo Switch is that it's a half-home-console, half-handheld hybrid thing. You can take the side pieces off and reconfigure them in a variety of ways to play video games the way you want to play them. Wanna play it like a Gamepad? Go for it! Wanna play it like a Wii Remote? You can do that!
The concept itself is imaginative and revolutionary, but then again, Nintendo is well-known for innovation in the video game industry. And unlike it's predecessor the Wii U, it appears you can take the handheld part of the Nintendo Switch wherever, like, you know, an actual console.
But there are two major questions on my lips about the Nintendo Switch. Firstly, considering that the Nintendo Switch is combining two genres of video gaming systems together, does that mean that Nintendo will stop making pure handheld systems and the fate of the company will ride on the success of this one system? Or will they continue making pure handheld systems as a fallback in case the Switch is a commercial flop? But personally, this little gambit feels like the perfect decision on Nintendo's part. The handheld gaming scene has been struggling for quite awhile now, thanks to the almost overwhelming popularity of mobile app gaming. And with the lone exception of the Nintendo Wii, every one of Nintendo's home console systems have done worse commercially than the previous one. The only reason the Wii was so successful was because of it's appeal to casual gamers, which greatly outnumber hardcore gamers such as myself. In fact, most people got into gaming in general thanks to the Wii.
What I'm saying is that the Switch is the best available option for Nintendo's success. And I hope this thing does well since I actually like Nintendo. It'd be a crying shame if the biggest company in the gaming industry goes up in smoke. But the second question I must ask, and this is much more important. How's the battery life on this thing? If it's more than 4 hours then yay! If it's less, then bad things will happen. My biggest gripe with the Wii U was the Gamepad's TERRIBLE battery life. Like it is literally less than 1 hour 30 minutes. And the reason why is because the Wii U Gamepad has to be on in order to actually use the Wii U itself.
Just like a regular handheld, the Nintendo Switch
uses cartridges instead of disks.
But here's the thing I love about the Nintendo Switch. It's a video game system. Now I know what you're thinking. "SPENCER!!! What on Earth do you mean 'It's a video game system'!? It's OBVIOUSLY a video game system!" Now hear me out. Most systems nowadays show off their features, which makes them multi-use like playing DVDs and supporting streaming devices like Hulu and Netflix. But the Switch here puts a lot of focus on the actual gaming experience. What I want first in foremost about a video game system is to prioritize the actual gaming experience. Everything else, compatible streaming devices, footage recording features, music playing, everything should NOT be prioritized when you make a gaming system. Gaming comes first and foremost. I'm not hating on those fancy dancy features of say, the PS4 or the Xbox One, I'm just saying, you need to make sure the system is a decent GAMING system. Everything else should be like the metaphorical icing on your entertainment cake.
Okay, this may be my opinion. But I feel that this might be a very successful system. But there are two major hurdles this system must surpass. First, Nintendo need to get their A-game together and make a nice strong batch of launch titles for this game. One of the reasons why the Wii U didn't do as well as it could was it didn't have enough quality launch titles. I mean yeah, there was Wonderful 101 and Nintendo Land which really showed off what the system was really capable of but other than that it was a very meh launch. Some of the best Wii U games were released very late into the Wii U's life.
The second hurdle is the pricing. Because of the whole "half home-console, half-handheld" thing It's safe to assume that on a technical standpoint the Nintendo Switch will not more technologically powerful than the Wii U, or if we're lucky, a little bit more powerful. If it was more powerful than the previous system by leaps and bounds then it would make the market price go up. And too high a price can really hurt your business. That's actually the very reason I stopped playing Skylanders games. I mean, if you only needed what comes with the game to 100% it then I would gladly play a Skylanders game. But the fact you have to pay an additional fee to get access to in-game content ruins a game for me. If the microtransactions are optional and not needed for 100% completion then that's fine, but locking in-game areas off until you buy the right Skylander IRL comes across as a gimmicky cash-grab. How I got into a Skylanders rant on a blog post about the new Nintendo system is beyond me. I do apologize for the seemingly out of nowhere rant on Skylanders.
But will I myself be getting the Nintendo Switch? Heck yeah! Especially if it has a RPG at launch. I like RPG's. Or if Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available at launch. That'll work too. Or, alternately, there's a RPG game at launch AND Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Oh, and it's currently scheduled to launch this coming March. Which CONVENIENTLY happens to be awfully close to my birthday.
P.S. Random fun fact! During development the Nintendo Switch went by the code-name of the NX. Speaking of names, what do you think about the console's name? I actually like the name since it literally tells you what the system is all about. SWITCHING from home-console to handheld in an instant! INGENIOUS!!! Plus it's better than "Wii U" (another reason why the Wii U failed was simply because of it's name. A lot of people assumed the Wii U was just a regular Wii with better graphics, and didn't want to waste money on what was thought to be a carbon-copy of the Wii).