Finally, the shroud of mystery surrounding the Switch is fading away. Nintendo presented their new baby and we can now analyze it and make predictions.
Let’s start with the technical aspect of the machine. I will keep it simple. The Switch is made to be played at home in a docking station or on the go. Connecting the Switch to a TV is the way to use the full capacity of the system. This will allow a higher resolution (1080p) and smoother gameplay. If you are using the on-board display then your resolution will fall to 720p and frame rate will drop on most games. This allows the console to survive a little longer on the battery it has. The autonomy is said to be between 2.5 and 6 hours depending on the game. Let’s be honest this means about 3 hours for any title you really want to play (Zelda Breath of the Wild for me). This is my first concern with the system. It is priced at 299 USD, which is 50 more than what I expected. 300 dollars is at the limit of overpriced for a device with such specifications. I don’t really have that much interest in the portability because of all those limitations and I will probably stick to my 3ds and dock the Switch every time I want to use it.
Second aspect to look at is the lineup of games coming for the early time of the system. Nintendo failed that horribly on the Wii U and I can see that they don’t want to see that happening again. We will get many new big games. Xenoblade, Splatoon, Dragonquest, Mario and, of course, Zelda, they will all come to the console early on. This a pretty good start but Nintendo needs to make sure to increase the library of titles if they want the console to survive. To be honest, I really think most of the games will be decent at the bare minimum. The only one that I doubt is the new Mario game. I get a strange “3D Sonic game” vibe from it. This is generally not a good sign but I will give the game a chance. One new thing coming with the Switch is paid system to access some online functions. Nintendo finally made their move and followed Microsoft and Sony. They will have to do a lot to make it worth my money. Right now playing online on the Wii U is a pain due to the lag and instability even if I am using a higher than average connection for my region. Add that to the fact that generally Nintendo titles are more interesting while playing on the same screen as your friends. I will invite you to do your research and see if this system interests you because I don’t want to go too much into detail in something that I will probably not use.
What are my predictions for the console you ask? Well, horrible availability at first (it is already out of stock for pre-orders) and we should not be surprised by this. Nintendo is just trying to boost the demand for later releases as usual. After that I have two possible scenarios. The first one is quite simple to explain: complete failure. The Switch feels a little too much gimmicky like the Wii U (and we all know we don’t want that history to repeat itself) but they did market it in a way better way. I think they tried to reproduce the feeling of the original Wii and this is a good thing. They must also be careful when trying to artificially raise the demand. The average consumer may just turn their back on them. The second scenario is a little bit more complicated. There is the possibility that Nintendo can annihilate the console war with the Switch. Not because the console is better but how it was marketed and what is awaiting the Nintendo fans in 2018. Let’s talk about the latter. When the fact that the Switch was also portable was revealed a lot of concerns were heard from the community and Nintendo assured that they would not stop the support of the 3DS before 2018. It is possible that they plan to fuse their markets together. Now parents wouldn’t have to think: “What is this? Wii? Wii U? 3DS? What do I buy my kids for Christmas?!!!!” Now there will be only one choice. If it works this would probably make the Switch the most successful console in the history of video games… Or maybe not. Am I crazy to think that? Maybe but don’t you find it weird that Microsoft is jumping off the “console” boat? How? Well, making their next console keyboard/mouse compatible, multiplatform with PC and making their exclusives for Windows is a good sign of that. They are making the Xbox a computer for the living room. Maybe Microsoft is seeing that they won’t be able to compete with that (already having problems in general in this competition) and they want out. If this crazy vision becomes reality, Sony does not stand a chance against the combined users of the portable and home consoles from Nintendo. Alright, let’s be real. The Switch will probably have poor sales during 2017 and will go up in 2018, 3DS or not, and will probably out sell the new Ps4. That’s it. It will end up being a mediocre console because Nintendo tried to repeat the success of the Wii (again) and will end up failing (again).
I’ll end by stating that I am a fervent fan of Nintendo’s products in general and that I will probably enjoy the Switch for the same reason I enjoyed the Wii U: because of the games not the console.