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Will the Nintendo Switch Succeed?

It has been just over a week since the Nintendo Switch Presentation and there’s a lot to talk about.  There have been plenty of articles and videos expressing thoughts on the Switch’s future.  I write this article with one question in mind: “Will the Nintendo Switch succeed?”  It’s a gaming console unlike any other out there and sure, it’s got a lot of promise, but will it fly off the shelves like Nintendo hopes.  Let me break down some points that I feel are important in contemplating the Switch’s future.

Pricing

The pricing for the Nintendo Switch can make or break its success.  During the presentation Nintendo revealed that the prices for the system would be $299.99 in the US, ¥29,980 in Japan,  £279.99 in the UK and $469.95 AU in Australia.

The system itself comes with the Nintendo Switch, the Switch Dock, an HDMI cable and power adapter, a Joy-Con Grip (the non-charging version) and two Joy-Con Straps.

There are also two SKUs for the system.  One includes a pair of grey Joy-Cons and the other a set consisting of a Neon Blue and a Neon Red colored Joy-Con.  My initial impression on the Switch pricing was great, and I still feel like it is a solid priced system for what they are offering.  However it’s not the base price I’m worried about; it’s the price of the standalone accessories.  The accessories, while having a wide array of play options, come in at a hefty price with a set of Joy-Con controllers costing $79.99.

Thankfully Nintendo Joy-Con’s in a set opposite colored of the Neon SKU for all your OCD color matching needs.

Now, there are two ways to approach this price tag. The more positive one is that the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con’s function as a standalone controller for a variety of games. So at $50 for a single Joy-Con and $80 for a pair, you’re essentially getting two controllers for fairly good price.  You can even think of it as getting two very advanced Wii Remotes (with even more functionality), as the price point would be the same.  However even with each of the Joy-Cons operating as a standalone controller, the more advanced games (like Zelda or Skyrim) are going to require both of them in order to play.  $80 a pair is not cheap, even if the tech inside them is very good. Perhaps the main issue Nintendo will need to overcome here is convincing people the technology is worth the price point.  Those who have used the controllers themselves seem more willing to shell out the money for an extra set.

Unique Features

Nintendo has always been different as has always taken risks and pushed new ideas.  Some of the risks have definitely been worth taking, such as the Nintendo Wii, while others like the Virtual Boy become nothing more than a collector’s item to a select few.  The Nintendo Switch again pushes a new idea to the game industry: a home console and a portable gaming device in one.  Somewhat like the Nintendo Wii U, the console allows console quality graphics on a portable device.  However with the Nintendo Switch, you aren’t limited to just your living room.  Upon removing the Nintendo Switch from the dock it seamlessly switches from displaying on the TV to being displayed on the Nintendo Switch system.  This means you can play large scale games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wherever you go.  That is the main selling point of the Switch: the ability to “Switch” your experience to a portable and take it with you wherever you want. Is that alone enough to make the system sell?  Maybe not, but Nintendo added a couple more surprises.

During their press conference, Nintendo unveiled that the Switch will have gyroscopic motion controls as well as a new feature they are calling “HD Rumble.”  HD rumble is said to be so precise that it can imitate the feeling of an ice cube inside a glass, or even two or three, each moving individually.  How they demoed this in the press conference, however, doesn’t really scream anything exciting.  Those who have used the system have said that they can feel the purr of the engine in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.  In Breath of the Wild you can feel the pull of the bow or feel bubbles rising up from the swamp you’ve taken a deadly fall into.  Though the name sounds similar to what we have all heard before, HD Rumble can potentially offer a whole new unique immersion experience with touch.  The Nintendo Switch has also packs unique features from all of Nintendo’s past systems into one console, so there are countless ways the system can be utilized.  A few more of these being an IR motion camera, a multi-touch capacitive touch screen and the portability factor the Gamecube hoped to offer with its handle.  Even with all these features, the Nintendo Switch does have to prove itself a worthy system, despite some of its predecessors past failures.  With the Wii U, we ran into struggles of the Gamepad not having its potential fully realized. There were also many who were critical of the Gamepad and motion controls being relied on too heavily in games. These individuals argued that a better gameplay experience could have been accomplished with a return to traditional controls.  The challenge for the Switch now is to implement unique ways of play that are a good experience while again offering those who prefer traditional controls an experience they will enjoy.

Games

Ultimately the biggest point for whether or not the Switch will succeed is the games.  Not just a library of games, but a library of good games.  While I realize the term “good games” is a subjective one, the Switch does need games that appeal to every person and not just Nintendo fans.  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could be the most amazing game made in Nintendo’s history, but some consumers would be much more interested in the latest Call of Duty.  Everyone has different tastes and it’s up to Nintendo and their cooperation with third parties to bring the games that will sell the system.  While we have seen more third party support than past consoles with games like Skyrim, Disgaea, NBA 2K and The Binding of Issac, we simply do not know how well the third party support will hold up during the consoles lifespan.  Some developers may only be interested in making the most realistic and visually appealing games and won’t necessarily care for the portability or the unique features of the Nintendo Switch.  When it comes down to whether or not they will develop for the system, they might prefer to turn to more powerful consoles like the PS4 and it’s Pro counterpart.  However, the larger the install base of the system, the more third parties will be interested in developing games on Switch.  The Wii, though by far the weaker console at the outset of the 2006 console race, had plenty of third party support because of its large install base.  If the Nintendo Switch proves to be a money maker, you can be sure third party developers will follow suit.

One of Nintendo’s biggest strengths is their large base of IPs.  Nintendo IPs are probably the most well known and memorable that the gaming industry has to offer.  They are constantly introducing new and unique IPs like ARMS, while simultaneously building on their existing titles like Zelda, Splatoon, Mario Kart and Super Mario. While we have seen a decent line up for the first year of the Nintendo Switch with Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and titles like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the first year is only half the battle.  Many fans would love to see the return of Metroid and F-Zero while others are still clamoring for the localization of Mother 3.  Nintendo needs to revive these IPs in order to see more sales of their system as there are those that are going to wait for these titles to be announced before making the “Switch” (It’s hard not to use that).  It’s Nintendo’s IP that make Nintendo systems truly unique and different from your Xbox One or PS4, but the Nintendo Switch without a versatile lineup of first party titles is a system that will not succeed next to the large install base of the competition.

Final Verdict

Ultimately it’s too soon to tell if the Switch will succeed or fail.  The 3DS launched and looked like a console that was doomed for the shelf of shame next to the virtual boy.  Nintendo thankfully was able to revive the 3DS with a price drop and a robust lineup of games, turning a would be failure into the console that completely dwarfs the PlayStation Vita in sales (despite the Vita’s much better processing power).  With support for Unreal Engine 4, Unity, etc.,  the Nintendo Switch looks like it can have a lot of potential for a large library of games that take advantage of its unique features.  That being said Nintendo does need to show their fans and potential buyers that they are ready to win back their trust after the Wii U.  Here’s hoping that they are listening to the feedback they have received and are willing to make this a console unlike any other.

Switchcore Podcast 001 – The Switch Presentation Reaction Show

In this pilot episode of the Switchcore Podcast, Scott, Drew and Jeremy get together to discuss their impressions of the January 12th Switch Presentation.  Among the discussions are pricing, date, accessories, games and so much more. Please rate and review the show to let us know what you think.

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We Still Have Questions About the Switch

Nintendo answered many questions regarding the Nintendo Switch late Thursday evening, including key questions like release date and price.  There are, however, questions that still need answering.  I would actually argue that we have more questions now than we did heading into the presentation.  Questions we took for granted and assumed would be answered.

Switch Virtual Console

This is probably the biggest lingering question.  We (think we) know Virtual Console will be present on the Switch, but no mention of its existence was made at all.  We have heard rumors of Gamecube support, but still no mention.  Will our previous purchases be brought over from 3DS or Wii U?  Will the full catalog of already available games on other platforms be made available at launch for Switch?

Online Services

Nintendo revealed very little information about what to expect in regards to online services on the Switch.  What we know so far is online multiplayer will be free for a period after launch, but will turn into a paid service later in the year.  This shouldn’t be a huge surprise as Microsoft and Sony both charge for their online services.  What we don’t know, however, is the cost of the service.  Nintendo has revealed the service would allow subscribers to play one free NES or SNES game every month, but the details behind that are even a little muddy.

Voice chat and messaging services were alluded to, but the story behind how these would function seems unclear at best.  In all documents we’ve seen, Nintendo refers to a smart device app for voice chat in compatible titles.  The question then becomes, “Will we be required to voice chat using our smartphones,” and “Are we only able to communicate when we are playing the same game?”

What about My Nintendo rewards?  Nintendo rolled out the service earlier this year with the release of Miitomo and we assumed some implementation would be available for the Switch, but so far we have heard nothing on the matter.  Will My Nintendo continue to function independent of Nintendo’s hardware?  Will they instead opt to adopt a dedicated achievement service for the system?

Where are the games?

Nintendo has stated that 35 games will be available for the Switch by the end of 2017.  So far, less than 30 games have been confirmed for that window, so what else are we getting?  Is the launch of the Nintendo Switch really only going to include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild1-2 SwitchSuper Bomberman RSkylanders Imaginators and Just Dance 2017?

With 80 titles currently in development for the Switch, who else is working on games?  The list of partners Nintendo released back in October is seemingly a mile long.  What are those publishers and studios working on?

When can we expect to hear more?

Nintendo has done a decent job, thus far, of explaining what the Nintendo Switch is capable of.  The trailer we received in October illustrated just how this device was simultaneously a home console and portable device.  The presentation was able to illustrate the use of the Joy-Con controllers for different play styles.  I have a feeling we haven’t seen or heard the last from Nintendo before the Switch’s March 3rd release date.  With a Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct planned for January 18th, we may begin to see a slow trickle of information leading up to launch.

And personally, that’s what I believe will happen.  Nintendo has kept us wanting and pining for more ever since the existence of a new device was mentioned.  Perhaps their marketing strategy is such that they’ll leave us wanting more, thus keeping hype high, all the way until release.

We will definitely hear more on games, services, hardware and more.  The only question is will it be before or after release? Only time till tell.

 

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Confirmed for Switch Launch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release March 3rd, 2017 for the Nintendo Switch.  Nintendo confirmed via the live Nintendo Switch presentation that the new Zelda game would be a day one title for Nintendo’s next home/handheld console.

Nintendo has been marketing the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild heavily for over a year.  I mean, hell, Nintendo’s 2016 E3 presence was 100% dedicated to the next installment in the franchise.

During the presentation, Nintendo introduced a brand new trailer, revealing story elements and tugging at those pesky heart strings.  Be prepared for all the feels.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be sold in 3 total version:

As of the time of this writing, we are a short 49 days out from the launch of the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Are you as excited as we are?

Final Switch Predictions Before the Big Reveal

Edited: 01/11/17 to reflect Jeremy’s expectations of price

With just a few short days before the full unveiling of the Nintendo Switch (admittedly, it will feel like an eternity), there are still plenty of unanswered questions regarding the Switch. Though there have been plenty of leaks regarding just about every facet of the device, nothing has been officially confirmed by Nintendo since the October 20th video of the “First Look at Nintendo Switch.”

With all that being said, here is a list of Switch predictions, expectations and desires that Switchcore’s contributors and editors would like to see during the January 12th-13th blowout.

Jeremy’s Take

Nintendo has been making great consoles for the past 30+ years, and I don’t see that trend stopping with the Switch. Though I do not expect the Switch to compete at a level of sheer horsepower with devices like the PS4 Pro, I do expect it to be a significant upgrade over what the Wii U has to offer in terms of power. That’s a given. Nintendo has always been a company that has been very good at squeezing a lot out of a little. Let’s face it; they basically get lemons and make profound story driven, visually polished, gameplay altering lemonade. It’s nothing short of amazing.

As for predictions?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will make the Switch launch, globally. The rumors floating around about a delay in the EU, in my opinion, have been greatly exaggerated. Though I have historically defended that Nintendo has never actually stated BotW would be a Switch launch title, it has been heavily insinuated. What better way to kick off the release of a brand new device than with one of the most beloved game franchises of all time?

At this point, I expect Nintendo to have a full-blown, system-wide achievement/trophy system. My thoughts on this have been outlined in a recent article, but I find it important to differentiate between desires and expectations, and I definitely expect this to be there. I know the majority of the folks over at r/NintendoSwitch disagree with me on the value achievements add to a device or service, but Nintendo has a way of taking ideas, expanding on them, and making them completely unique to the Nintendo way of doing things. I expect this to be no different.

Nintendo fans and Switch-watchers undoubtedly know Obe1. Yes, that Obe1. The hype train of a man whose personality and love of Nintendo has seen his YouTube channel grow to north of 37,000 subscribers. Why do I bring him up? Well, he has been “leaking” Switch information for a little over a week now with more “leaks” coming in the days leading into the big Switch blowout. One of those leaks is in regards to the possibility of Nintendo Switch VR. We covered a Nintendo Switch patent a few weeks back, which discussed details such as Virtual Reality. I expect Obe1 to have hit the nail on the head with this leak. I predict, once again, that Nintendo Switch VR (or whatever they decide to call it) will be outlined during the Switch event on the 12th/13th, but will not make launch. Maybe VR could be the killer app that gets Nintendo through holiday 2017?

Switch Patent Image 21

Admittedly, I have not spent a ton of time dabbling with Virtual Console games on any platform. However, that won’t stop me from getting fanboyishly excited about the possibility of Gamecube Virtual Console support on Nintendo Switch. Eurogamer ran an article in December stating that Gamecube VC support is in. I have been clamoring for the past 18+ months of the inclusion of Gamecube Virtual Console on the Switch. Please, Nintendo, do this. Also, consider releasing the Switch with the largest catalog of VC titles available for a new system at launch. The idea of playing Gamecube games and the rest of Nintendo’s back catalog of amazing games at home on the TV, as well as on the go, is nothing short of euphoric.

How could I forget about price!? Nintendo has historically been very price conscious, attempting to strike the perfect balance between profitability and what the market dictates. Over the past decade or so, Nintendo has opted out of the arms race for sheer power, theoretically keeping the costs of their devices down.  The Wii U was an outlier in that regard and cost Nintendo dearly. Many seem to think that a $250 price point is the sweet spot, and I will not argue. The question really becomes “Will it come with a game,” and “Will there be multiple SKUs?” My guess is the Switch will feature a pack-in title, though I’m not entirely sure which game they intend to feature. If Mario does make launch, this would arguably be the best game for the job.  I firmly believe, in accordance to make the Switch’s launch as simple and complication-free as possible, Nintendo will release just one SKU.

Charlie’s Take

Personally, I think we are going to get an hour-long info-packed presentation. There is a ton of information to be divulged such as hardware, the operating system and software. I fully expect more surprises than we can predict.

I think most hardware feature rumors will be true. I do think we will see motion controls, haptic feedback, multi-touch and support for headsets with mics for voice input. Personally, I also think we will see some form of customization for the hardware, such as interchangeable backplates or custom joycons.

Virtual reality has been rumored, and while I would love Nintendo to tackle it, I don’t think it is likely that we see it at this week’s event. If we do see virtual reality, it would make sense to show it off at E3 and launch it this holiday season.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The battery life will probably be controversial, lasting around three hours while running Breath of the Wild. I don’t expect much in the way of specs to be revealed, but I don’t expect the Switch to be a Pascal powerhouse in terms of base specs. I assume we are going to get something with less than 1 TFLOPS of raw power when docked. However, I think the Switch will surprise people with what it is capable of due to custom APIs and other software enhancements that the PS4 and Xbox One do not have.

In terms of price, I expect the base Switch unit to be $250 and a $300 bundle that includes a pack-in of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Considering this event is (reportedly) only going to be an hour long, I don’t think we will get an in-depth look at the operating system. Most of what we will learn might come from the Treehouse as they navigate between games or give a little more depth. That being said, I think it’s safe to say that the Switch won’t be running Android or have any sort of Android app store. Apps will be native to the Nintendo Switch. I do think we will see a browser and common media apps like Netflix and Hulu.

Nintendo Treehouse Live Nintendo Switch

I don’t expect to see any in-depth looks at software during the first event. All in-depth looks will be at the Treehouse Live event the next day. I assume we are going to get a surprising list of launch games, upcoming games, virtual console games, and Nindie titles in the form of short video clips. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a launch title and I don’t think Mario is going to be a launch title despite rumors. Splatoon and Mario Kart will probably be launch games at $40. Gamecube Virtual Console with Super Smash Brothers Melee and Super Mario Sunshine will be available at launch with a $15 price tag. I do think Mother 3 will be revealed for $9.99 on the Virtual Console. Unfortunately, I do expect Nintendo to charge $1 per game to carry virtual titles over from the Wii U to the Switch. We will definitely see Ubisoft’s new games. The Rabbids game will be real, and I expect it to be strange, however not terrible. If Beyond Good and Evil 2 is shown at all, then it will only be a cinematic reveal that and won’t be released in 2017. I fully expect Skyrim: Remastered to be a launch title.

Drew’s Take

I fully expect Breath of the Wild to be revealed as a launch title along the likes of Splatoon and Mario Kart and even possibly a new 3D Mario game.  However, I also expect us to get quite a bit more 3rd party support than people are expecting, even if it’s just game teases, I do expect people to be satisfied with the amount of 3rd party support.  I also expect another hard hitting title to be shown by Nintendo for release in late 2017 or early 2018.  We’re likely due for a lot of surprises when it comes to software.  I expect a fully fleshed out virtual console with support up to even the Wii U.  I do expect a Mother 3 release within the first 6 months.

User interface I expect to have voice chat, party, a good social and friend system (finally) evolving on Miiverse, integration with MyNintendo and a clean, customizable UI with theme integration.

Mario on Nintendo Switch

As for hardware, I expect the Nintendo Switch to come in at least near an Xbox One level of power when docked, and slightly less when undocked.  I think Nintendo and Nvidia are great fits for technology together and that they will surprise us with how much potential the system has despite some of the negative rumors and speculation that have been floating around recently.  I do expect the Switch to have a touch screen and the device to have gyro/motion controls.  I expect the switch to have a large capacity for external storage, while keeping the internal storage around 32-64 gigabytes. I do not think they will have any “special edition” Nintendo Switch bundles until at least 6+ months after launch (No Breath of the Wild themed hardware, though I’m not saying 3rd parties won’t have skins, Nintendo just won’t ship anything designed that way).

For pricing, I’m going to say I predict it to launch for $200 flat, and $250 bundled with a game. I don’t see the games costing more than $50.  Launch date, I’m going to say mid March, the week of the 13th for all regions.  I’m a little worried that many people are going to have a hard time obtaining a Switch because of low quantity, though I think they will definitely handle this a lot better than the NES Classic Edition.

Overall I think we’re in for a big surprise on the 12th. My gut tells me Nintendo has learned from past presentations and that this is the one that’s going to show us Nintendo understands the console business better than anyone.

Scott’s Take

For the Switch, I’ve got some high hopes. It’s been a long while since I’ve had friends that felt excited about a Nintendo console, and it would feel great to have those friends feel good about coming over for some rounds in the latest Mario Kart or whatever other Nintendo title we loved together in the past. The games we play on our Playstations, XBoxes and PCs just don’t feel the same to me as they have through Nintendo’s charm, and I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to bring that back into the living room once again for the first time in over 15 years.

I don’t worry too much about the hardware, as I don’t believe it’s strong hardware alone that makes a console. Sure, the hardware doesn’t hurt, but for a gamer like myself it isn’t a necessity or a focus. I would rather have a sub-par system with a crap ton of great games (Nintendo 3DS for example) than a super machine that only wows me on occasion with a game worth playing more than once. It’s a hard balance to find, but I think Nintendo is moving in the right direction this time around. Here’s what I think/hope/want to see:

Predictions

  • $250 price by itself
  • A few surprise features for the system we haven’t seen in patents
  • A few surprise first party new IPs
  • Launch date of March 17th in the US

Expectations

  • Presentation to near an hour and a half
  • Good skits involving Reggie, Bill, and the Treehouse crew; the Japanese teams
  • Remasters of Wii U games to broaden the audience and create more content with longer support
  • Many more fresh, new games that have not been on anyone’s leak list (1st and 3rd party)
  • A super surprise announcement after we think it’s all said and done.

Wants

  • Skyward Sword remaster
  • A Link to the Past remake (in the vein of A Link Between World’s engine)
  • F-Zero in any capacity. I’ll even take a visual novel about love between Samurai Goroh and Jody Summer
  • Star Fox 0 remaster with more traditional controls
  • Heavy Square-Enix support

Robson’s Take

Specs don’t matter to me all that much. People like to hate on Nintendo for having lower specs than PS4/XBONE, but everybody loves to say “Never count Nintendo out.”

I’m really excited to see what kind of features are on this thing. Virtual Console subscription service? New replacement for Miiverse (hopefully a better replacement)? Streaming, dare i say, without a capture card?

Miiverse on Switch

The games really have me excited too. Any system that can play Skyrim on the go, in a smaller form factor than a laptop is my favorite system. Over all, I’m hyped for the Switch event, and I already got my money ready for the second pre-orders come up.

 

New Switch Patent Reveals a Host of Goodies

Nintendo may have let the cat out of the bag a little early with a plethora of images in a new Switch patent published early yesterday morning. With less than thirty days remaining until the big January 12th Switch blowout, patent images found by a NeoGAF user potentially shed some light on Switch features that have, up until now, been merely speculated upon.

Among the images and descriptions provided, we saw details as small as the audio jack on the Switch supporting headsets with microphones, as well as details as large as Switch potentially supporting VR in the future. Other details outlined in the tell-all Switch patent are:

  • Confirmation of touch screen
  • Switch runs in two “operation modes,” dependent on whether it is docked or undocked
  • Confirmation of a record (share) button
  • Images showing the Switch sliding into an HMD (head-mounted display) inferring VR
  • Multiple types of Joycons may be in the works
  • A plethora of sensors to detect motion, NFC (Amiibo support) and “infrared image-capturing” all housed within Joycons.
  • Switch may or may not output to television without use of dock

Though there is a lot of information in this 147-page patent to dissect, the above listed items are probably the most noteworthy.

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In some cases, this patent has opened up a can of worms of items we had not yet considered. Though the Switch and VR have been speculated upon, I find it difficult to believe Nintendo would implement this with their upcoming console. If the Switch is indeed using a 720p display, the visual experience in VR may leave much to be desired. That being said, I’d love to be proven wrong.

Keep in mind, patents do not necessarily make their way into the final product. We do believe, however, much of what we see here will likely be on display on January 12th. A special thank you goes out to everyone over at the Switchcore Discord server for assisting in the gathering and careful dissection of these materials.

Yooka-Laylee Makes the Switch

Yooka-Laylee, the highly anticipated spiritual sequel to the Banjo-Kazooie series, has been confirmed for release on April 11th, 2017.   However, not all the news was happily received by some fans as Playtonic Games revealed that due to “unforeseen technical issuesYooka-Laylee will not be released on the Wii U.   Instead, Playtonic will be “working closely with Nintendo” to release Yooka-Laylee on the upcoming Nintendo Switch.

When later asked, in a GamesIndustry interview, if the Nintendo Switch had any influence on them cancelling the Wii U version, Playtonic responded,“No, Switch had nothing to do with the decision. As we have shared, it’s simply down to unforeseen technical difficulties… We can assure you this was a hard decision for everyone. Our team has so much combined Nintendo heritage and we’re huge Nintendo fans as individuals. That’s why we’re working hard to make things right for our backers and with Nintendo and Playtonic’s fanbase over the coming weeks and months.”

To those who backed the Wii U version on Kickstarter, Playtonic is giving the opportunity to move their backing to any of the upcoming versions releasing on April 11th, 2017 (free of charge) or upgrade to the Nintendo Switch version as more information is release in 2017.  Stay tuned to their blog for more information on how to make the switch.

While to many it may seem like Playtonic is making cop-out excuses, we have already seen that the Nintendo Switch is a much more capable device than the Wii U.  Personally, I’m excited to see how the game performs on the Switch and if there are any exclusives features (besides the ability to play on the go) that we can look forward to.

Yooka-Laylee launches on April 11th, 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux, while details on the date for the Nintendo Switch release have not been confirmed.

Nintendo Switch Played Live for First Time on Fallon

Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime took to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last week to show off Super Mario Run. As a surprise to Jimmy, the live audience and fans watching at home, Reggie had one more trick up his sleeve. The Nintendo Switch.

For the very first time, the Nintendo Switch and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Switch was shown off live. The short demo feature Fallon absolutely geeking out over the device, exclaiming that he “knows everything about this thing.”

After a brief introduction to the game, Reggie handed the Switch over to Jimmy who legitimately began to act like a kid in the candy store.

Since the above video has gone live, people have been speculating over more Switch features like whether the device will use USB-C and how quick the transition is when undocking the unit and playing it off-dock.

We will undoubtedly know more on January 12th when Nintendo plans to host a Switch party of sorts. Until then, we can expect the internet to continue eating up every bit of Switch goodness and speculating in the mean time.

Six Features Nintendo Should Flip the Switch On

Updated 12/14/16 to correct a factual error.

With the January 12th Nintendo Switch event looming nearer, there are still many unanswered questions regarding Nintendo’s next generation home (and handheld) console.  Speculation and rumors regarding system performance, launch titles and battery life have dominated the conversation over the last several months. Regardless of what answers we get from those questions, certain things remain true. We will be playing Nintendo titles. They will look great because, let’s be honest, they always do. Instead of attempting to answer those unanswerable questions, let us instead take a look at the ways we will be interacting with the Nintendo Switch, from an OS and systems feature perspective.

OS

With the Wii, Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo has deliberately given users a tiled, App-style interface to access their content. Anyone who uses a smartphone or tablet device should find the layout familiar. Essentially, Nintendo has attempted to make their devices intuitive and simple for anyone picking up their machines to navigate.

Switch UI Fan Mockup

It would be bold to state that Nintendo tends to buck this trend with the Switch.  More-so now than ever before, a Nintendo device resembles something nearly every household has: a tablet or smartphone. Leaning on the design philosophies of those style devices in creating the system UI for the Switch would lend itself rather nicely in making it a very approachable accessible device. And while accessibility does not necessarily translate to mass market appeal and large sales figures, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Miiverse

Nintendo introduced Miiverse with the release of the Wii U. It was an interesting concept: A social media service designed to allow players to interact with games and other players, sharing posts, drawings and in-game screenshots.  I don’t see Nintendo getting rid of Miiverse any time soon, seeing as though they even pushed it to the 3DS.

What I would like to see, however, is Nintendo evolve Miiverse into a much more robust social media platform. The app could be updated to be a bit more user friendly. The inclusion of allowing users to post in game video clips would be a most welcome change, and one the community has wanted since day one. If the mysterious square button on the Switch’s controllers is indeed a “share” button, we may just get those features. You have to admit, it would be pretty cool to be able to hop into Miiverse, check out what your buddies are doing, and watch as they livestream taking down the Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild (whenever it releases).

Friends List

Let’s be honest with each other for a moment. The friend code system was garbage. Luckily, Nintendo has been moving away from that since the release of the Wii U. With DeNA being involved in the development of Nintendo’s online infrastructure, I think it is safe to say we can expect a more modern take on the way Switch handles friends. Microsoft and Sony have both gone with a follow system and Miiverse has done the same since its inception.

Even if Nintendo opts not to adopt a follow system for Switch, the least they could do would allow us to request friends. While Nintendo is huge on privacy for their users, adopting a comprehensive parental control system would provide parents a means to block incoming communications they deem unsuitable for their children while still allowing the rest of us to access the plethora of features a modern Friends List includes.

Lastly, and this should go without saying; Please ensure that Friend’s List has deep, system-level integration. Am I the only one who feels that it is ridiculous that Super Mario Maker on Wii U does not include an option to view player created stages from members on your friend’s list? Let that not be an issue moving forward, Nintendo.

Party Chat

Oh boy! This is one of my favorite things to talk about. The best thing about the Xbox 360 was its 2008 addition of a system-wide party chat system. That was eight years ago, and Nintendo has yet to adopt this feature. I understand the reservations from Nintendo. Privacy is, once again, at play here. But I will once again point out that with a comprehensive parental control system in place, parents need not fear of some creep preying on their children.

The benefits of adding this feature are immeasurable. More often than not, I would find myself looking to my Xbox 360 friends list just to hop into chat with my friends. Even if they were playing a different game than me. Most times, this was more engaging than the actual game.

Party chat also gives me the option to opt out of game-specific voice chat. Think of how many times you hopped into a Call of Duty lobby and were assaulted by an onslaught of racial slurs and derogatory language. In my honest opinion, a party chat is a safer place to be. It is carefully curated by who you allow on your friends list.

Streetpass

Streetpass was one of those amazing little gems Nintendo cooked into the 3DS and I don’t think it is going anywhere. And thought I’m not exactly clear what steps Nintendo could take to improve upon Streetpass, I would like to see it evolve a bit.

What about this as an idea? Let’s say you’re playing Pokemon and you’ve nearly completed your Pokedex. All you need is that pesky Rockruff (how you’ve gotten everything but him is beyond me). You set up a Streetpass trade ahead of time to allow your Switch to automatically transfer your Pikipek the the moment your Switch comes within range of someone looking to trade their Rockruff for a Pikipek.

Maybe this isn’t the most well thought out way to evolve Streetpass, but just keeping Streetpass there on Switch is the minimum I expect.

Achievements

I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people about global achievement systems. It seems like you either love them or you hate them. My stance on achievements is that they add value to your service.

I tend to be the guy that purchases every major console. So in 2009 when I finally picked up a PS3 and had owned a 360 for several years, I had to make a choice as to where I would play my multiplatform games, and which console would be exclusive for… well, exclusives.  I landed on the Xbox 360 to play multiplatform games.  The reason for that choice was because, in the three years I had with that system prior to me owning PS3, I had racked up a relatively high Gamerscore. I wanted to continue moving that Gamerscore higher.

Nintendo Switch Achievements

It may seem silly, but that was why I opted for third party titles on Xbox, and I know I’m not alone.

Nintendo could actually take this a step further. Nintendo introduced My Nintendo rewards not too long ago. Essentially, you earn Gold Points by making digital purchases on the eShop and you earn Platinum Points for completing in game and in app tasks. It’s possible Nintendo incorporates this system into the Switch or that they simply allow an achievement system on Switch to interact with My Nintendo rewards. Either way, rewarding players for progressing through games adds value to their systems and services and keeps customers coming back.

Final Thoughts

Nintendo is poised to release their best system yet, and that is saying a lot. In order for Nintendo to find success, they need to strike a balance of incorporating all the things people already love about Nintendo while ushering the Switch and its users into what people consider to be modern video game services. Video services like Netflix and HBO will undoubtedly be made available, but questions still arise on Nintendo’s plans for region-locking the Switch.

Virtual Console is a huge deal for Nintendo, and with the rumor of Gamecube titles soon making their way to the service, Nintendo could see one of the largest software launches (if you’re the type that includes emulated games) in history.

Nintendo has been hard on work with the Switch for years, and there is only one short month left before we know exactly what this thing can do. In the meantime, drop a comment below of which features you want to see on the Nintendo Switch.

Virtual Console Is Only Getting Better with the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS both offer Nintendo’s “Virtual Console.” The service first started with the launch of the Wii, and allowed customers to download classic titles onto their brand new system, from as old as the Nintendo Entertainment System, to as new as the DS and the Wii on newer consoles. The platform did have it’s fair share of issues, though. For example, if you wanted to have a specific game on more than one console, like both your Wii U and 3DS, you would need to repurchase the game on the other system.

Another issue was the availability of games. Nintendo has made games from a handful of their systems available on Virtual Console, and even went as far as releasing games from systems they didn’t create, such as the Sega Genesis, the Turbographx 16, the Neo-Geo and even the Commodore 64. However, Nintendo has not released a single Gamecube game digitally aside from Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, both being HD remasters of their original Gamecube versions. Nintendo has also made Super Nintendo games available on the go, on the Nintendo 3DS. Sorry, the New Nintendo 3DS. It is a New Nintendo 3DS-exclusive feature, even though homebrew has clearly proven that most Super Nintendo games can run on a original Nintendo 3DS with a proper emulator. Maybe the reason behind it is because they needed to push N3DS units, but it’s still pretty annoying that I have to buy another iteration of the system, just so that I can legally play Super Mario World on the bus.

But, according to our pals over at Eurogamer, Nintendo seems to have finally received the message, because with the Nintendo Switch, they’re switching it around!

Horrible puns aside, Eurogamer states that the Virtual Console service provided through the Switch’s online shop will release with Gamecube games available at launch. These include the following games:

  • Luigi’s Mansion
  • Super Mario Sunshine
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • Animal Crossing (Currently being tested)

The emulator responsible for running these games is apparently being created by NERD (Nintendo European Research and Development). They’re the team behind the emulation that drives the NES Classic Edition, which (I hear) runs amazingly, and has no major issues. They also go into detail about some sort of upgrade program which will allow people who already own a specific game on their Wii, Wii U or 3DS to purchase it on the Nintendo Switch for a discount. The discount was not specified, but we’ll probably learn more come January 12th when Nintendo will go into more detail about all things Switch.

How do you feel about these changes? Do you want a specific game on the Virtual Console platform? When do you think we’ll finally get Virtual Boy games? Leave your opinions in the comments!