The world only found out about Nintendo’s first worldwide presentation of what was then referred to as the NX the day before the actual presentation, so I didn’t have much time to react and offer my predictions about what the NX was going to be. This time around, Nintendo revealed that they would have another presentation centered around what we now know as the Switch on January 12, giving me plenty of time for speculation.
We still don’t know much about the Nintendo Switch, aside from what the initial presentation revealed. What we know is that it’s main “gimmick” is portability and it looks like it’s going to be close to the XBox One and PlayStation 4 in terms of performance, but we don’t know its exact specs, so there is room for guesswork. With that said, let me add my thoughts to the long list of speculations.
The Switch’s Battery Life is Going to be Poor
It’s been rumored that the Switch’s battery life will only allow up to three hours of handheld gameplay. It’s also been rumored that this lifespan is based off of development versions of the Switch and it’s not really indicative of the version that will be sold at retail. But I think that the retail version won’t be much better, and I’ve got several reasons to believe this.
First of all, Nintendo has been marketing the Switch as a portable home console and not as a handheld gaming device. The difference is significant because Nintendo wants the public to know that the primary function of the Switch is to be a home console, and that it’s portability is only a feature. A home console that will allow limited portable play is easier to market than a handheld gaming device with only three hours of battery life. Secondly, the Switch looks like it’ll need a lot of juice. Aside from powering the main unit itself (which is more powerful than a PS3/XBox 360), the Switch will need to be able to power two detachable wireless Joy-Con controllers. I don’t think we have the needed battery technology to power the something as powerful as the Switch for longer than five hours of gameplay.
And lastly, Nintendo has explicitly said that they plan to continue support for the 3DS, at least for a few more years. They’ve already announced titles for 2018, both first party and third party games. Putting out Pokemon Sun/Moon recently is proof of this. It doesn’t make sense to release another device that would compete against their current handheld, so even if the technology did exist that would allow the Switch to have comparable battery life, I doubt that Nintendo will do that this soon.
The Switch Will Have Different Versions to Come – One Will be a Dedicated Handheld Device
It’s pretty certain that we’ll see different versions of the Switch in the future – console developers have been known to do this even as far back as the 8-bit/16-bit era. And just by looking at the Switch, we can see that it has a lot of features/components that can be upgraded or updated – storage space, battery life, performance, and even screen resolution. An improved version of the Switch is a certainty, so I’ll make a bolder prediction: a dedicated handheld version of the Switch will be available in the future. This version will be more of a downgrade, similar to how the 2DS is to the 3DS – a smaller, more portable Switch version that will have improved battery life at the cost of losing certain features like a high resolution screen and detachable JoyCons.
This won’t happen anytime soon though. The 3DS is very much alive and kicking, and like I said above, I don’t think that Nintendo will do anything that will negatively impact 3DS sales while they’re still willing to fully support it. Once Nintendo is ready to retire it’s current handheld system, the most logical replacement to me is a handheld, more cost-effective version of the Switch. Not only will it be cheaper to produce and to sell, but it will also give those who did not want to buy the home console version to play Switch games. And this will finally unify Nintendo’s handheld and home console development efforts.
The Switch Launch Lineup is Going to be Awesome
I’d like to think that Nintendo has learned it’s lesson from the current generation of consoles. Both the Wii U and the 3DS struggled at launch due to the lack of quality launch titles – the 3DS was able to recover thanks to a price cut and the constant release of great games. But the Wii U never overcame it’s initial failure for several factors, one of which is the sparse releases of good titles. Nintendo can take advantage of the Wii U’s failure by rereleasing improved versions of Wii U titles; because the Wii U sold poorly, we’re sure that it’s titles didn’t have a wide reach. Games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon were enjoyed by the Wii U’s limited audience. Since the assets have already been created, it should be easy enough to rework/remaster them for the Switch.
Aside from the first party lineup, Nintendo also seems to have learned the value of third party software; almost immediately after the Switch trailer, Nintendo released a list of third party developers that are/will be working on games for the Switch. Sure, Nintendo’s promised third party support in the past, but those were different times – both the Wii and the Wii U were considerably underpowered and had gimmicks that required developers to take a different approach when it came to developing games. The Switch’s “gimmick” is simple; it doesn’t involve motion controls or a gamepad that need to be factored into game design. So third party support is clearly more plausible this time around.
A list of launch titles has already been leaked, and that list includes new editions of Splatoon, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros., as well as Skyrim (a title prominently featured in the Switch preview trailer) and a new 3D Mario game. That list has not yet been confirmed as true, but we should expect the actual launch titles to be confirmed as part of Nintendo’s January presentation.
The Remastered Version of Final Fantasy VII Will Be Released on the Switch
I’ve been highly suspicious of Cloud’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. as a DLC character – it simply did not make sense. Cloud was never a significant character in any games released on Nintendo platforms, and only characters significant to Nintendo’s history become part of the Super Smash Bros. roster (even Pac-Man and Ryu appeared on Nintendo consoles). If there was a Square Enix character that deserved a spot, it would have to have been Sora from Kingdom Hearts, Crono from Chrono Trigger, or any of the lead characters from Final Fantasy VI or Bravely Default.
But no, Cloud Strife made the cut instead, and it can’t have been because of the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy games. It can’t have been because of the poll that Nintendo ran because Cloud isn’t significant to Nintendo fans. I’m still holding on to my prior theory that Cloud’s addition to Super Smash Bros. has a bigger reason behind it, other than to give Square Enix representation in Nintendo’s hit franchise.
And that about covers my predictions about the Switch. I’m very excited about its’ future and I’m really looking forward to Nintendo’s January presentation. I can’t wait to learn more about the console, and I’m definitely going to monitor any Switch-related news closely. How many of my predictions will come true? We’ll find out in the next couple of years.
What do you think about the Nintendo Switch? Any big guesses about it? Let us know by leaving a comment or two below!