I’ve been waiting to post about the Nintendo Switch. Waiting for more and solid info, not just the rumors that have been going around. I’ve been waiting for my initial considerations to settle and get a more complex view of the system. And I finally feel that it’s time to sit down and write about what I think of Nintendo’s upcoming system.
First, let me say that I am excited. I currently have two preorders for the system sitting at Gamestop. One online with a couple bundled games, one from the store with just the system. I’m currently contemplating whether to cancel one or to scalp it. Not sure. But I am a Nintendo Fanboy and I get that my excitement is me being excited to see what Nintendo has next.
I looked at the previews for the various games coming out and personally I thought how different the games look. The last couple of consoles, we have been treated with gimmicky and kiddy games, and while that is still there, I felt that Nintendo has a line-up of RPGs which is fairly strong. In 2017 alone you have: Disgaea 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Skyrim, Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I hate calling this game an RPG, but this release seems more RPGy than most), I am Setsuna, Dragon Quest XI, and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2. And that’s just what has been announced for 2016’s RPGs. On top of those, we have Project Octopath, Dragon Quest X, Shin Megami Tensei, and Tales of being announced as Switch games, if not this year then in the future. And then we have rumored games of Pokemon Stars, Mother 3, and that Ubisoft Mario/Rabbids crossover RPG. This is such a huge RPG lineup and I don’t think people fully comprehend this. RPGs have been where Nintendo has struggled most since the SNES, which may very well be the best RPG console ever. Since the SNES days, Nintendo consoles may have 6 to 9 total RPGs in the entire lifespan of the console. Now, Nintendo may cross that mark in their first year with this console.
This shows Nintendo has definitely changed their tune for getting third parties involved. Obviously they are missing the mark on getting the prime 3rd party support that everyone wants. No Madden announced, no Red Dead Redemption 2, not even GTA V. But it feels like Nintendo is picking a niche that generally does well with a certain segment of adults and trying to add it to it’s repertoire. Let’s consider something else here when talking RPGs… Xbox One has , to my knowledge 4 RPGs after 2.5 years of console life… Final Fantasy XV, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Dark Souls 3. Unfortunately for Nintendo, these are all considered AAA titles and it doesn’t look like Nintendo will score 3 of them, though there is a fairly large chance for Dark Souls 3 to enter into Switch’s lineup at a later date.
Outside their strong RPG lineup, I am slightly dismayed at what I saw from Nintendo. Again, no big sports games outside of FIFA and NBA 2K18, I usually get one Madden per generation and that won’t be on a Nintendo console yet again. Nintendo themselves have a good threesome of Splatoon 2, Mario and Zelda. Though Zelda is just a port from the Wii U and Splatoon 2 looks a lot like Splatoon 1. Mario looks great, but I don’t feel Mario holds the same sway that it once did, I could be wrong on that… Galaxy 1 & 2 were well thought of and those weren’t that long ago. I don’t think that 1, 2 Switch or ARMS were strong showings and outside that there really isn’t a ton out there. But I love the RPG support. It makes me feel so much better about the Switch than the Wii U.
I feel the best games for Switch outside of the RPG & Mario is Snipperclips (which I may not get because I don’t think I’d have anyone to play with) and Bomberman R. Neither of which is getting much mainstream press. I’m not interested in a lot of the other stuff, I feel Arms might be great, just not targeted towards me. I could be wrong. I looked at it and was like why isn’t this a Punch Out game? But I do think it goes places Punch Out doesn’t and probably is a more deep game than Punch Out even.
I also didn’t feel like any of the games they showed, really pushed the system past what the Wii U could do which really gave me pause of what the Switch could do. I felt like though it wouldn’t hit PS4 and Xbox One levels, it would outdo what the WU could do by far, but after watching their presentation, I question that. I have no doubt it is better… but it doesn’t feel like it is much better. I wish Nintendo had something that really made me feel like OMG this thing is so much more powerful than the Wii U AND I can take it anywhere. But really I feel like it is the Wii U, just portable. Which is cool, but disappointing at the same time.
Which kind of brings me to what is the biggest disappointment of the Switch. Their marketing. You would think that they would have learned from how the Wii U failed to NOT fail the same way, but I feel they are doing the exact same thing they did before and I think it might bite them. From watching everything they do, you would think that the Switch is a console that you can take anywhere. But the problem with that marketing is it puts it up against the Xbox One and PS4. Which if the Switch was slightly weaker than those two but portable, people would be OK with it. But it isn’t. It is drastically weaker than those two and so the comparisons to those two systems are really going to hurt the Switch I fear. They should be marketing as a portable that you can play on your TV. The reason this is an important distinction is that this puts the Switch into the realm of competing with the 3DS and Vita and maybe tablets to a lessor extent. In this comparison, the Switch does much better. It is hands above those systems in nearly every aspect. When someone complains to me about the graphics capabilities of the Switch vs PS4 I reply back.. yeah but the PS4’s battery life is crappy and it’s hard to play in the car while someone else is driving. My point obviously being that really the Switch is a portable. The problem Nintendo has is that the 3DS still has steam and they are really scared of replacing the 3DS and the Wii U with the switch because while the Wii U has done poorly, the 3DS has done OK for itself. This past Christmas saw a huge seller in Pokemon Sun & Moon, so huge, it was hard to buy a 3DS from retail because they wanted to get one to play the new game. It puts Nintendo in an awkward place with this system, but they really need to sell it as a replacement to both, I think sales and 3rd party support would do better if they did.
At the end of the day, while companies were not supporting the Wii later years, and the Wii U…. support for the 3DS never really failed. And now with reports of the Vita being discontinued in American territories… the big place I feel Switch is picking support up is those Vita developers, hence the huge RPG support they seem to be getting. I think we may see a number of games which will be PS4 and Switch only, not because the Switch is the second most powerful, but because people are choosing #1 console and #1 portable. But if Nintendo continues to insist that it is not a portable because they are afraid of galvanizing the 3DS market, they may find that instead the 3DS is galvanizing the Switch market and dooming the Switch. Nintendo needs to pick their poison at this point in time… and it is hard for them to change. They don’t want to admit that they are leaving the console market. But the Switch’s best hope is that they have.