Finally after months of waiting, consumers finally have information on the upcoming Nintendo Switch. There are a few things that I expected would come about, some that I did not, and some that were somewhat of a surprise. The big question that remains, is whether or not the Switch has enough to get gamers to buy beyond the March release date. I do not understanding why sometimes Nintendo does some of the things that it does that just seem so tone deaf to consumers. The 11pm press conference was just one of those things that make me really wary about what Nintendo thinks about the Switch. There may be more announcements coming as Nintendo does their New York presentation, but from what I have seen so far there is nothing too compelling to hype me for the system. As much as they presented at the announcement, there are still some questions that needs answering, as well as trying to justify all that has been announced.
Granted, I don’t doubt that the Switch will sell out at launch because there are die-hard fans that will get the system, but from what I have seen so far, there are reasons why I can’t see myself getting one come launch.
The $300 price tag
I am not surprised at this price point, but for everything that we know about it right now (more on that later), I think it’s overpriced. Nintendo had to do enough to separate itself from the 3DS XL but it’s priced the same as the Wii U was just 4 short years ago and I think, for what you got in the box, gamers got more value with the Wii U. For me, $250 would have been reasonable and $275 would have been a stretch. $300 for a system that from the outset may be under-powered is tough to consider. Not to mention, the PS4 Slim runs just under that price mark, as does the Xbox One 500 GB system. The only thing that really separates the Switch from the other two is portability, and I am wondering if that will be enough to satisfy gamers in the long stretch.
Also, it was revealed that you can get extra controllers, but if I heard right (and sadly other sources report this as well) they will be $90 dollars. What the heck, Nintendo?
The Launch Titles
When one considers the price of a machine, one should consider if the launch titles are worth spending all that dough to get the system itself. Unless there are more title announcements soon, the launch lineup remains sparse. The biggest game is, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While many critics are intrigued over the Super Mario Odyssey game, it’s not due out until late this year. This choice is a head-scratcher. With maybe 2 rare exceptions, there has always been a Mario (or Mario-inspired) game at the launch of a Nintendo home console. At a critical junction like this for Nintendo, it’s stupefying that their flagship IP is not a launch title. Other games that gamers would be excited about such as Mario Kart Deluxe and Splatoon 2 won’t be out until 1 to 3 months post launch. It looks to be a slow drip of games from launch until later this year, and this is the critical time that Nintendo needs to use well to convince consumers to give them a chance. Frankly, I don’t feel like their launch is going to do it. Again, unless things change between now and March there will be 4 titles at launch. I don’t get it, Nintendo. If you have a nice launch selection, there should be 4 games that consumers should WANT at launch not just four games total. When you look at other systems like the PS Vita, there were close to 30 games at launch. The Wii U had at least 20 launch titles. The 3DS had close to 20 games. So why such a small amount of launch titles for the Switch? It makes me think that Nintendo should have taken more time on the console in order to build up a bigger launch library. The more I learn about the console, the more I wonder whether or not the Switch was rushed to market.
What’s powering it?
Again, maybe we will find out more later on, but it’s a concern that during last night’s release, there was no mention of the hardware specs or any mention of the game format. It’s almost safe to say that the games will be done in a cartridge format similar to the 3DS and it makes sense considering that its biggest touted feature is that the Nintendo Switch is portable. But, that brings up the other issue facing the Switch: the battery life. Let’s set this up: The Gameboy Advance could last between 10 to 15 hours on a charge. On a good day, the 3DS could get you between 4 to 6 hours on a charge. But the Switch is being touted as 2.5 to 6 hours? Now granted, because the Switch will have a USB-C port, you can always go out and purchase an external battery pack but…WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PURCHASE AN EXTERNAL BATTERY PACK? Why weren’t there any forward-thinking minds trying to find ways stretch the battery life? Consumers, go back and look at the introduction video again from this past fall. This is a system that is touted to go with you for car rides, on the metro and the plane. It’s already enough we are carrying extra batteries for other devices but part of being mobile is to hopefully not be tethered. Needing to carry an extra battery pack and your charging cable hinders the mobility of this system. One can already see now going to airports, or gaming cons and recognizing people with Switches as those either tethered to an outlet, carrying an external pack or having no juice at all.
I have a lot of concerns about Nintendo’s newest system, and to be totally honest, last night’s event doesn’t give me confidence to consider this a day one purchase. I am concerned because everything from the $300 price point to the tepid launch titles points to the idea that Nintendo may have wanted to wait a little longer for this system to be ready. Only time will tell if the Switch is Nintendo’s last gasp at console gaming or the gem that the Wii was.
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