Oh Nintendo. When you first announced the Switch back in October, the world stood back and watched with wide eyes. Three months on and whilst early optimism has faded somewhat,I’m still really interested to see what they had to offer.
Last night saw the second, and larger of the two reveal events. We got a price, release date, launch line up and a look at the console in person. So how are we feeling this morning?
In the first of two posts, I’ll take a look at how I’m feeling about the Switch. Starting with what has me worried.
A brand new, day one Nintendo Switch is going to cost you £280 ($300). Whilst this is significantly cheaper than both the XBOX and the PS4 at launch, it’s about £50 more than what you’d expect to pay for an XBOX or PS4, coupled with a game.
Whilst I don’t like to make this argument, the PS4 and XBOX are both significantly more powerful than the Switch. They’ve got a library of high quality titles already available for their respective platforms, they’re likely to receive better 3rd party support going forward and your friends already own one. In short, the Switch is kinda expensive.
Throw in the somewhat disappointing selection games available on launch day and you could see a significant fall off in sales after the initial batch of Nintendo fans get their console. Like the Wii U.
The Switch will offer online gameplay…for a price. Yes in a somewhat surprising move, Nintendo will be asking its customers to pay for access to online games, chat and exclusive eShop deals. You’ll also receive Virtual Console NES and SNES games, much in the way both Games with Gold and PS+ works. If you’d rather not pay for the service, you’ll still receive access to the eShop, Parental controls, screenshot sharing and the ability to maintain your friend list.
None of that would be problematic, had Nintendo shown any ability to maintain an online community before. On both the Wii U and the 3DS, their online systems have been a joke and I’ve got absolutely no faith in Nintendo to get this right. The only difference is that now they’re asking for me to pay for their service.
The service launches with a ‘free trial’, but expect to be paying for your online co-op before the end of 2017. No monthly price has yet been announced.
Day One Launch Lineup
The thinking was that whilst Nintendo had all but abandoned the 3DS and the Wii U over the last 18 months, they’d be ready and raring to go with a kick-ass Switch launch line up.
Not so much. Instead of Mario, Metroid, Pokemon and Super Smash Bro’s, we got a Legend of Zelda game that’s also launching on their previous console at the exact same time, a mini-game collection, a Skylanders game and another Just Dance game; because Ubisoft.
The full launch day line up looks something like this, and you’ve been warned..it’s not pretty.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Skylanders Imaginators
- Just Dance 2017
- Super Bomberman R
- Has-Been Heroes
- I Am Setsuna
I’m absolutely certain we’ll see that padded out in the coming month, largely with games that you’ve already played somewhere else, and maybe with one or two new games, but still…that’s not exactly what we were expecting coming into this thing.
The larger launch ‘window’ will see a new Splatoon game, a re-release of Mario Kart 8 and a decent selection of 3rd party games. And Mario is coming, but not until the latter part of 2017.
Nintendo appears to have learned nothing after the train wreck that was the Wii U’s launch. They needed to come out all guns blazing, with first party titles to revitalise the fan base after years of neglect. Instead, they’ve got 1 launch title that is genuinely interesting, and a ho-hum field of games you’ve never heard of.
The Switch is both a home and portable console. And as such, battery life is going to be important. Unfortunately Nintendo might have just come under the bar in that regard. They estimate that the Switch can run on a full charge between 2.5 hours and 6.5 hours depending on what you’re doing on it.
2.5 hours isn’t all that bad if you’re playing something that requires a lot of power, but if I plan on taking the Switch on a long flight, I’ll likely have to plug it in at some point, and that’s a little disappointing.
And there we have it. Some very quick, very ill-thought out comments on the Switch as a platform. Only time will tell how the system will do, and whilst I won’t be picking one up on day one, I’m really interested to see what Nintendo can do with the Switch going forward.