Nintendo announces their plans to release the SNES Classic Edition on September 29th. The crew discusses the incredible list of 21 games coming to the retro machine, as well as their favorite Super Nintendo games of all time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 Wild, 1-2 Switch, Super Bomberman R, Skylanders Imaginators and Just Dance 2017?
— Damon Baker (@DWBakes) January 13, 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.
Recently, I got the chance to interview Laura Kate Dale from Lets Play Video Games (LauraKBuzz on Twitter). Right now, she’s known for leaking a lot of information about the Nintendo Switch such as launch games and console specs. Check out LetsPlayVideoGames. And without further ado, here is the interview.