As a solid PlayStation fangirl, it may sound like a betrayal but I like the Nintendo Switch. The sometimes portable console has some really cool gimmicks and some incredibly fantastic games. My current library of games for the Switch is paltry when compared to the number of games I have for my “main” system, the PlayStation 4. However, this is the system where I can only play the breathtaking Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the totally out-of-sight Super Mario Odyssey.
I’ve had my Switch since the end of December of last year and, like clockwork, it looks like Nintendo may soon announce a revision of the console. It happened with every PlayStation system I’ve owned; as soon as I got one, Sony would reveal the PlayStation Slim to be released in just a couple of months. Story of my life.
I don’t think that Nintendo will release a totally different version of the Switch just yet. The console is still rather young in its lifecycle so I’m not expecting to see the Nintendo Switch Mini just yet. However, I do want to take this opportunity to make a few suggestions regarding some issues with the system that Nintendo should take into consideration with their upcoming “new” Nintendo Switch.
#1 Install a better kickstand
The Nintendo Switch is an interesting concept, to say the least. It’s a full-fledged console that you can hook up to your television but it has a screen so you can just pick it up and play outside with it. You can use it like a regular portable gaming device with the Joy-Cons connected to its sides. Or you can detach the Joy-Cons and set up the screen on a flat surface… if you’re not worried of your expensive Switch toppling over from a slight breeze due to the flimsy kickstand Nintendo is using!
Okay, that’s an exaggeration but the kickstand just feels incredibly cheap. Even Nintendo knew it was prone to being snapped off because they intentionally made it so you can reattach it when it does break! Even the way it’s positioned on the system is awkward since its only on one side of the Switch. Not great for balance, you know.
This would be the easiest thing to modify as all Nintendo would need to do is make a more substantial kickstand for the new Switch. They can simply copy ideas from Microsoft Surface, which has most of the lower half of the system’s back act as the kickstand. Or, if they’re being cheap, just put an additional kickstand on the other side of the Switch.
#2 More internal storage
Let’s face it: today’s games are huge and demand large chunks of storage. This is especially true with the gaming industry leaning towards online delivery of their games and foregoing physical copies. The Nintendo Switch only has 32 GB of memory. Deducting the system’s operating system, that number drops down to around 25 GB. That’s seems incredibly small, especially nowadays, doesn’t it?
It’s true that you can insert a microSD card in the slot that’s hidden by the super weak kickstand for extra storage but why is it the onus of the customer to upgrade the system’s memory? I guess it’s only 32 GB to keep costs down as well. But memory cards have been lowering in price for a couple of years now so storage chips can’t be all that expensive today, right?
Here’s hoping that Nintendo will take advantage of the dropping prices in memory and make a more robust onboard storage drive for the New Switch. I’m not expecting anything like the hard drives that the PlayStation has because those systems have the regular hard drives with spinning, magnetic thingamajigs and aren’t really all that portable. I think something like a 64 GB flash memory would be passable for now.
#3 More responsive analog sticks on the Joy-Cons
We go now to the main reason why I wanted to compile this list in the first place. Now, the Joy-Cons are pretty awesome. The Nintendo Switch essentially comes with two controllers out of the box thanks to the Joy-Cons. When snapped onto the screen or the Joy-Con grip, they work as one. But, for some games, like Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, you can hand off one of the Joy-Cons and play head-to-head with each other! I have yet to experience the other neat gimmicks, like what Nintendo calls “3D Rumble” or even the IR camera, but the mere fact that it has those proves that it’s a marvel of engineering.
As amazing as the Joy-Cons are, they do have some design problems. For one, they’re small and don’t really feel as comfortable as the more substantial controllers of other consoles. It’s much worse when you use them independently of each other as the space between the analog stick and the face buttons are too close together. Everything feels cramped and so will your hands after extensive use. Now, this isn’t really Nintendo’s fault per se, as the layout does conform with the more traditional controller layouts that modern systems use when the Joy-Cons work as one.
Those are issues that everyone that’s held a Joy-Con have complained about. While I do want Nintendo to try to fix this (make the Joy-Con extend so that there’s more space in between the analog stick and the buttons, maybe?), what I want them to focus on are the analog sticks because they’re not all that great. They work well for most games that don’t really require super sensitive movements like in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. They give enough leeway to make the necessary jumps and you’re usually just pushing the analog stick forward as much as possible anyway. But for games like Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, where performing a special motion in a split second can mean life or death, the analog sticks on the Joy-Con just aren’t up to snuff.
Believe me when I say I’m super disappointed with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary on the Nintendo Switch because, while not being a total travesty, they don’t feel like second nature when I’m playing. Sometimes, I think I’m blocking low but it turns out I’m not. There are times when I want to jump straight up and I jump back. It’s still playable but I have to put in a little more concentration than I normally would and, since it doesn’t feel like second nature, it smothers the fun factor.
And it’s not just for the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. I also tried the Valkyria Chronicles 4 demo on both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 to see which version I’d get. As much as I would love to take my Valkyria Chronicles 4 with me everywhere, using the analog stick on the Joy-Con to aim where my soldiers were to fire was too slippery when compared to the PlayStation DualShock controller.
I could get the fancy Nintendo Pro Controller, you may say. That’s a more hefty controller and it has a traditional direction pad so it would be better for fighting games and the analog stick is stiffer for even better control. But that would defeat the purpose of making the Switch portable if that’s my main controller! I don’t want to lug around my already Nintendo Switch as well as a controller every where I go! I guess making the analog stick just a little bit stiffer would make it feel a little more responsive, in my opinion.
#4 An improved version of the Dock
The Nintendo Switch may be a portable system but it’s also a home console. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to hook up a bunch of wires from the TV to the Switch when you get home. All you’d have to do is slide the system into the Nintendo Dock and that’s it! Wanna take your gaming experience somewhere else? Just slide it out of the dock and you’re good to go! Genius, to say the least!
Well, maybe not totally genius as Nintendo’s Dock has a couple of problems. For one, if you’re not careful, you can scratch the Switch’s screen when plugging the Switch in or sliding it out. Also, since you have to slide the Switch into the top part of the Dock, you can’t really place it in a spot without any overhead clearance. I have a TV rack in my home but I can’t place the Dock in any of the shelves like I have with the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 because, if it was in there, I wouldn’t be able to use it. This is why the Dock is placed behind my television screen, which is really awkward.
The Dock also has three USB ports, which can be used to charge any USB device, such as the Nintendo Pro Controller. However, they’re placed in some strange places. There are two on the left side of the Dock and the third is hidden behind the back panel where you hook up the USB-C power and HDMI cables. Why hide the third USB port? For aesthetic purposes? Finally, the Dock is extremely light on its own. Not light enough that it’ll fall over but just light enough that it feels like it can fall over.
If Nintendo is indeed making a new version of the Switch, I hope they also make a better version of the Dock. Fixing the scratching would be easy if they line the inside walls covered with some kind of soft cloth. The position of the USB ports and weight issues are easily fixed as well. Just make the Dock heavier at the bottom and put the USB ports there and Bob’s your uncle.
The most difficult to fix is how to load the Switch into the Dock, or so it may seem. Actually, it’s pretty simple: get rid of the front wall. You may think this would make it not hold the Switch all that well but you’d be wrong! There are so many third party Switch Docks that have ditched the front wall and they seem to hold the console just fine.
Of course, these are third party products and they have been known to damage your Switch. So, I do hope that Nintendo imitates their designs when they to make a new Switch and a new Dock.
#5 A better internal battery
While one of the main selling points of the Nintendo Switch is the fact that it’s both a full-fledged home console and a portable system, I do mostly play mine at home for the simple reason that I don’t want to run out of juice while I’m on the road and get that dreaded warning that my system is about to die. You can use portable battery packs or just find a vacant outlet and plug in there but that would mean bringing around different equipment, which does reduce the portability factor, doesn’t it?
There are ways to extend the battery life of the Switch, of course. You can put the system on Airplane mode and play exclusively in handheld mode to minimize power usage but that will still only get you around 3-5 hours of battery for a game like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on a full charge. Not pitiful but not great either. If your going on a long bus ride or flying out of the country, you better bring some battery backup options with you.
This is a no-brainer and something that everyone wants. Oddly enough, this may be the most difficult thing to implement. I don’t think there have been massive advancements in the realm of battery improvements. Maybe there have been but I’ve cancelled my subscription to Rechargeable Battery Monthy. But hopefully Nintendo has so I hope they’ve found a better battery that can hold a larger charge for a New Switch.
What other improvements you would like Nintendo to make for the New Switch? Let me know in the comments section below!