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Let's discuss: The State of the Nintendo Switch

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The Nintendo Switch has been fully revealed and priced for a March release, but there is still much concern surrounding the console. I worry that Nintendo might be shooting themselves in the foot. Again. The Switch looks like a great idea, but if Nintendo execute this in the wrong way, they might face some rather unpleasant consequences like they did with the Wii U.

Nintendo's last console started off with limited launch games and third party support, and by the time the console ended production, it had only first party games on the platform. The hardware sales from the Wii U also lost traction very quickly, as gamers found no reason to pick it up. At the end of its life span, the console managed to move as little as 13.67 million units. 

The console/portable hybrid is everything and nothing we want at the same time. In a world where VR is the hottest thing since Trump’s Twitter account, and has caused gaming to be divided into two modes of play, the couch, and VR, the Switch might battle to find its place.

My two major concerns are:

  • Lack of day one games
  • Hardware restrictions

Number of Games

During the Switch reveal last week, Nintendo showed off some rather exciting games. Yes, we have much to look forward to, but come launch day, the Nintendo Switch will have a whole three games to play. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which looks fantastic, Bomberman R, and 1-2 Switch. The launch year line up looks refreshing and exciting, but if you look at the gaps between these games, you will have to be prepared to wait a little longer to play them. 

Super Mario Odyssey, and Fire Emblem Warriors, are expected to release in December this year. While others like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Sonic Mania, don’t even have a launch window. We know FIFA and NBA 2K18 will be releasing on the console, but these games normally release near October/November, so we can forget about those too.

The worry here is that Nintendo are going to rely on their SNES and NES collection to pad their library of games. With the new paid online subscription for multiplayer gaming that comes with the Switch, we will get monthly SNES and NES games, which have been confirmed by Nintendo. This could be a sign that they are porting all their Virtual Console games to the new console, to add a storefront to the launch. It would be a sad outcome to have a collection of old games, which are playable on mobile phones these days, and three first party exclusives come launch.

I would love to play Super Mario World 2 on the console, but it is just not enough, and a punch in the face to fans who fork out thousands for the console at launch, with no games to play on it. 

Hardware Restrictions

In a world where 4K is becoming more and more popular, Nintendo have done it again, they have decided to stay with 1080p. While was the best move for the pricing of the device, it will be the console's downfall in future. Part of this is probably because Nintendo always releases a new console half way through Sony’s, and Microsoft’s current generation of hardware. We saw this with the Wii, which released as a non-HD console in a world with PS3 and Xbox 360, which both made use of HD. When the Wii U released, Nintendo made a big deal about it being a HD console, but HD was already a staple in a household, so it was nothing new.

With the Nintendo Switch, it will now have to compete with a generation of hardware, and gamers, who demand the best of the best. PS4 Pro isalready able to render games at native 4K, and has visual enhancements acrossthe PS4 library. Later this year we will see the new Xbox Scorpio which will dothe same. In theory, this time next year 4K gaming will be the most preferred way to play, and gamers will be looking for a console, or PC to do so. The Nintendo Switch will not be an option for this type of gamer. 

We already see games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild running at 900p while docked on the Nintendo Switch, and 720p while in portable mode. I know games are about the experience, but unfortunately, we as gamers have created a world were the highest quality is even not enough for us. The standards are so high, that even Mario and Zelda might find it hard to compete. This in turn has diverted developers to focus more on getting the highest quality out of their games, at the highest resolution possible. If Nintendo wants the Switch to stay relevant in an industry all about power and quality, then they must make sure their games are at the highest quality.   

Another major letdown from the reveal of the console was the poor battery life. Nintendo revealed that we could see anything from two and a half hours to five hours of battery life. As a portable device, that means it will last you one flight to Cape Town while playing demanding games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild on full brightness. All we can hope for is that we see third-party accessories that let us charge it with power banks. 

Nintendo will have some obstacles to overcome in the coming months with the Nintendo Switch, and I think it is going to be very challenging for them. I so badly want them to have one of the best gaming experiences in the industry, but that seems nearly impossible now. 

What do you think about this whole Nintendo Switch situation? Let us know in the comments below. 

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