The big Nintendo Reveal is now over and I think there’s only two possible reactions; Hype or Disappointment.
Anyone who’s been familiar with my articles on GWW knows where I stand but let’s take a look at all the new information we learned:
First off, we know that the Nintendo Switch is launching on March 3 with the suggested retail price of $300. This seems a bit high considering that the internals are based on old Tegra X1 processors that have been used in the Nvidia Shield which currently retails for $200 (slightly more for the portable iteration.) Let’s however, give the benefit of the doubt to Nintendo on this one. We are getting the interesting Joy Con controllers as part of the package and that’s worth something, right?
Where things start to fall apart a bit is when you look at the battery life and launch lineup. Nintendo has stated that the portable lifespan of the system will be 2.5-6 hours depending on the game. This is a large range and at the low end, is completely unacceptable for a console that is promoting itself as “portable.” Will each game inform us how long they will last in the portable mode? It feels like Nintendo Switch Owners will be like camels, wandering from oasis..I mean, outlet to outlet as they game. Speaking of which, let’s look at the launch library. It comprises a sum total of 2 first party games! One is the eagerly anticipated Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which is also coming out on Wii U) and the other is the extremely odd 1-2 Switch. Based on the presentation, I actually thought that 1-2 Switch was a packed in collection of mini games to demonstrate the capabilities of the new system in typically Nintendo fashion (as was the case with Wii Sports). However, this is not the case! This is a fully priced game at $50! I can’t understand why this is a launch title. The whole point of it seems to be that it’s played without even looking at a screen but rather into your “opponents eyes”. Perhaps it’s something that needs to be experienced instead of played? Regardless, it didn’t seem very appealing to me.
Other games were shown including trailers for a ported copy of Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, an intriguing boxing game called Arms, and an absolutely gorgeous Mario Game. All of them are not slated for release until Summer or later (with the exception of MK8 which is releasing April 28). Many games such as Fire Emblem Warriors or a new Shin Megumi Tensei had very short trailers with no release info whatsoever.
A widely acknowledged problem with the Wii U system was lack of 3rd party support. However, Nintendo has done very little to assuage worries of history repeating itself. While several 3rd party developers were on hand, many seemed to be there for purely perfunctory reasons with zero enthusiasm for the platform. The Sega corporate director epitomized this saying only, “”We intend to be present on the platform. We will consider new games for Nintendo Switch, and we will present them soon.” Hardly fills you with confidence doesn’t it? EA was also on hand to declare their support with a FIFA title but their presentation made it unclear what iteration of FIFA they were bringing to the Switch. Was it being specifically built for the Switch or is it a port of an older FIFA game? The speaker did not make this clear. I wasn’t the only person disappointed with this presentation, actual investors also aren’t convinced that this won’t be a repeat of the Wii U.
Let’s also take a moment to talk about harddrive. Nintendo has confirmed that the Switch will come with 32gb of space at launch. Are you kidding me Nintendo!? Are we still in 2005? Zelda, the game which you HOPE will make the system successful will take up 13 gigs of space! Along with the native operating system, that means about HALF of the space will be used up after 1 game! Sure, it can be expanded via micro SD card but both Sony and Microsoft are selling me consoles with 500 gigs of space out of the box for the SAME price as your console! So not only do you have to pay out of pocket for a micro SD card but the pro controller costs $70. Want a second set of joycons to play with friends? A cool $80! These costs add up quickly and I’m not the only one noticing.
Bottom line, Nintendo is asking you for $300 for what appears to be a gimmick system. It’s using 5 year old tech, claims to be portable but has horrendous portable battery life, practically requires you spend extra money on memory, controllers, etc. All that and there’s very little tangible 3rd party support and honestly, I strongly doubt anything will materialize within the year as developers struggle with porting newer PC/XB1/PS4 games onto this system. Nintendo has it’s work cut out for it to convince anyone other than die-hard fan boys to give them a shot, I personally wish them luck. Prove to us this is a system worth buying!