Nintendo’s Switch reveal highlighted the main concept of their newest hybrid home/portable console and showed some of it’s key features and functions, but still left a lot of unanswered questions on the table. For starters, how powerful was it going to be? Will it be as powerful as Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s X-Box One (an issue that it’s predecessor, the Wii U had). How much is it going to cost at retail? Will there be different versions or bundles that will be available at launch?
Well, Nintendo just had an hour-long presentation a couple of days ago. How many of the above questions were answered? And how effective was the presentation in making the Switch an attractive mid-cycle purchase? Since the main presentation, the floodgates have been opened and a lot of other info has been made available, but I won’t be talking about those. I’ll just focus on what was revealed during the main presentation because that’s what everyone had their eyes on.
The Switch Itself
The presentation reiterated the Switch’s main feature which is the ability to “switch” between play styles, with three modes of play: TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, and Handheld Mode. We also got some much wanted and much awaited information about the Switch. When you purchase a Switch you’ll get the dock and the tablet-like console. You’ll get the pair of Joy-Cons, the Joy-Con Grip (the handle-like device where you can attach the two Joy-Cons), Joy-Con wrist straps, an HDMI cable, and an AC adapter. We learned that the Switch would have a battery life of 2.5 to 6.5 hours, and that it also uses USB Type-C for AC input instead of proprietary adapters. The Nintendo Switch would also not be region locked. Most importantly, we learned how much it’s going to cost: $299.99 in North America, around $50 more than the rumored launch price.
But that’s about all that was said about the console itself. How big is the actual handheld screen? What about some of the technical specs, like internal memory and processing speed? This would be revealed later, but I think this should have been discussed during the main presentation because people wanted to know how the Switch would measure against the competition.
The Joy-Con Surprise
Before the Switch was fully revealed, I predicted that it would have a yet-to-be revealed special feature that will be one of its selling points. Well, I guess I was right? The original Switch reveal did not show the Joy-Cons to have any form of motion controls, but it was strongly rumored. Who could have predicted that Nintendo would keep on improving the tech after Sony’s (PS Move) and Microsoft’s (Kinect) efforts failed? This isn’t the same kind of motion controls that the Wii had, since you no longer needed to face a motion detection device for this.
At the same time, I’m a little apprehensive about this reveal. At least from my perspective, the gaming community has already soured on the use of motion controls in gaming (Star Fox Zero is a good example of this). While impressive, I can certainly see a lot of people rolling their eyes not just on the reveal, but on the length of time that was devoted to the Joy-Cons.
Other thoughts on the Joy-Con: HD Rumble? Who wanted that? And who would want a clashing neon blue/red color combination??? Also – I’m not up to speed on VR technology so forgive me if I sound stupid when I say this but… with the JoyCons having this kind of motion controls, isn’t the Switch a headset away from becoming a good VR gaming console? Turn that VR headset into something much smaller and now you have a portable VR console. Hmmmmmmm….
A Lack of Significant Video Game Reveals
The rest of the presentation was spent on different video games that would be released on the Switch. I’d like to comment on the approach in general first before I share my thoughts on those that got a significant amount of screen time.
While I was watching the show, I was looking out for the release dates whenever a game would be revealed, and I was surprised at seeing only two that would be released at the day of the Switch launch (1-2 Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild). Later on, two more were revealed to be launch day titles as well and they did not get mentioned during the presentation at all (Just Dance and Skylanders: Imaginators). I’m not really sure what the issue here is – is it because there will only be a few games available at launch, or is it that Nintendo felt it would be more important to talk about what’s coming ahead? I think Nintendo should have spent more time on showing the world what games they’re going to be able to play right away when they buy a Switch and save the upcoming titles for future presentations.
My second thought about the entire thing was that there was a lack of real surprises on the first- and (especially) third-party side. The original Switch reveal showed Skyrim so we already knew about that; Square Enix has been talking about Dragon Quest X and XI for quite some time now. We already saw a new 3D Mario, a new Mario Kart and a new Splatoon. What we got during the presentation was more of the same, along with new IPs (Arms, Square Enix’s Project Octopath Traveler, a new Shin Megami Tensei title). But we didn’t get anything like a Red Dead Redemption 2 or a Final Fantasy XV reveal, something AAA like a new Batman Arkham game. We also didn’t get any first party titles that longtime Nintendo fans were hoping for, like a new Metroid or F-Zero game.
In all honesty, the game reveals were lacking. I wasn’t convinced to get a Switch at launch. And now onto the individual titles:
- 1-2 Switch – This looked like a lot of fun, but purely for casual gaming. This generation’s equivalent of Wii Sports; probably not going to be as popular.
- Arms – Nintendo’s newest IP. Will it be a surprise hit like Splatoon? Or a disappointing miss like Code Name S.T.E.A.M.? Motion controls are a neat gimmick in short spurts; I don’t see myself playing this for longer than half an hour if it doesn’t support traditional controls.
- Splatoon 2 – The greatness of Splatoon was only known to the few who owned a Wii U. I’m glad to see it get the opportunity to be played by more people.
- Super Mario Odyssey – 3D Mario games have always been critical successes. I never got the chance to play any of the Mario Galaxy games; if I get a Switch, I’m sure to get this title.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – I enjoyed the first game and I’m glad that it’s going to have a direct sequel. The return of the Monado!
- Fire Emblem Warriors – I’m a big Fire Emblem fan and unless this title has big flaws, I’m likely going to get it if/when I get a Switch.
- Dragon Quest X and XI – This RPG series simply doesn’t grab at me in the same way as the Final Fantasy franchise does.
- Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2 – See above.
- Untitled Shin Megami Tensei game – I’m not a Shin Megami Tensei fan, so no comments.
- Project Octopath Traveler – New IPs are nice, but I think Square Enix would have made a bigger splash if this were a Bravely title instead.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – We already knew this was coming. But it was nice to see the guy from Bethesda to announce this himself.
- Untitled Suda51 game – This part of the presentation was just weird. Are we getting a No More Heroes sequel? Is Travis Touchdown going to appear in other games? Suda 51 is kind of popular but he’s no Kojima.
- FIFA – Of course the Switch would get a FIFA game. I wish EA has something from it’s more popular franchises for the Switch, like a Mass Effect or a Dead Space game.
- Other video games – It all happened so quick, I wasn’t able to catch much. Later information would confirm a new Street Fighter II and a new Bomberman game, among others.
Nintendo’s Switch presentation answered a lot of the big questions – not all, but enough of them. It lingered too long on the Joy-Con’s features in my opinion, and the game reveals were lacking. I think the Switch is a good video game console and will probably get one in the future, but not at launch unless something big gets announced. I’m actually a little worried because Nintendo only has Breath of the Wild to offer to those wanting a Switch when it comes out but if you’re not a fan of that game genre, your alternatives are limited. I predict that the Switch will have a sales performance that’s similar to the 3DS, which underperformed at first but gained momentum after a price drop and the release of more games.
What did you think about Nintendo’s Switch Presentation? Did it convince you to “switch” to Nintendo? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or two below!