All things considered, 2016 has been a pretty good year for Nintendo. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the gaming world was collectively scoffing at the Japanese giants, heading into this years’ E3 with no impending announcement on what was then called the ‘NX’ and no real jaw dropping game announcements with the exception of Zelda and the new iteration of Pokémon.
Fast forward four months and life seems a lot brighter for Nintendo, the release of Pokémon Go and the announcement that Mario will soon be hitting the mobile market brought more eyes to two of Nintendo’s flagship titles. Having said that, Nintendo’s year and possibly the future of the company in general hit a pivotal moment just a few days ago, with the reveal of gaming’s best kept secret; the NX.
First off; there’s something that should be said about the way the console was announced in general – in a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to surprise the average gamer due to leaks about pretty much every blockbuster game or console that is about to hit the market, Nintendo managed to keep what will be called the ‘Nintendo Switch’ a genuine secret. This is commendable in itself, because, ask yourself: when was the last time a gaming announcement caught you completely off guard and you genuinely had no idea it was coming/what it was going to be?
In terms of Nintendo being a part of the home console space, many gamers (myself included) have wondered; why not just stop making consoles, and instead publish/produce your legendary first party titles (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox Zero etc.) and allow them to be sold on PS4/Xbox One? Can you imagine the sales of Mario/open world Zelda games on our current next gen consoles?
Nonetheless, Nintendo are a stubborn bunch and have remained adamant they’re in the home console market to stay, and so comes: The Nintendo Switch.
Blurring the lines between home console and handheld device, the Switch goes from console to HD tablet effortlessly, allowing you to take your Skyrim save on the train with you, which in all honesty; sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?
Not just a HD tablet either, the Switch comes with detachable controllers, meaning that the tablet never has to be held awkwardly no matter the gaming world you’re currently experiencing and being powerful enough to seemingly give identical visuals to when the console is set up at home.
While this seems like the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to broaden their audience past hard-core fans and family gamers. An aspect that severely hurt the sales of the disappointing Wii U was the lack of third party games on the console, meaning that unless you’re a huge fan of Nintendo’s first party games, there was no real reason for you to buy one.
Granted, Nintendo’s first party games are usually of very high quality (Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bro’s were all excellent) but without a consistent influx of third party titles, it’s difficult for any console to come off as having real star power. However, that doesn’t seem to be an issue for the Switch in the slightest, with companies such as Bethesda, EA, From Software, Activision and many others all said to be well on board for the console, and are preparing to support it, in reality – there is no way of conveying how vital this support is to the success of the Switch.
For so long Nintendo have been a company that set out to get families invested, and while this worked wonders back in 2007 for the Wii, hardcore gamers quickly became disillusioned with the direction the company were heading. But with a console that supports both home play and the ability to take your save with you on the go, as well as third party support; could Nintendo have possibly hit a home run here?
Despite the uproar of positivity that has been given towards the console, there is still much more that we are waiting to find out, what will the online infrastructure be like? Will there be some form of achievement/trophy system? How strong will the launch line-up be in terms of games? And that all important one: What will the price point be?
These are all elements that will be key to the success of the Nintendo Switch. Competition is vital in gaming, and it seems like a long time since Nintendo were truly competitive with juggernauts Sony and Microsoft. But if the Switch can add third party games, a competitive online environment and a trophy/achievement tracking system to games like the incredible looking Zelda ‘Breath Of The Wild’ as well as pretty much any game involving Mario and friends; consider me sold.
What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? Let us know in the comments! Plus if you can’t wait go register your interest in pre-ordering now on Amazon.
Kris Pugh | KrisPugh_X