Delayed thoughts on the Nintendo Switch
We've been waiting a long time to hear about the NX/Switch and now we know all the details. Except we don't. We know a little - but only what Nintendo wants us to know.
Let's just break it down into some confirmed facts and then we can digest it from there.
There's some other stuff but let's break these down in order.
1. The release date is 3rd March
That's a strange release date. Normally it would make sense to wait until the new financial year but Nintendo may need a boost following awful Wii U sales and a useless Super Mario Run launch (you can read my analysis of that here). It's not the first time that Nintendo has done this so it might not be the ultimate factor in whether the console is a success or not but I can imagine a slow start that'll hopefully pick up around Christmas 2017.
2. The price is £280/$300
The price is... okay. At least on the surface. It sky rockets when you consider the price of everything else but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Purely in terms of the price of the console £280 isn't too bad but it is a little on the pricey side.
3. Zelda is confirmed as a launch title
Well it damn well should be! It does look gorgeous though.
4. Arms, 1-2 Switch and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will also be available
It's not Nintendo's worst launch line up by a long shot but it's going to take more than this to sell systems. 1-2 Switch seems to have the ability to be a console seller in the casual/family market (like Wii Play) but the price is going to be an issue. More on that later.
5. Super Mario Odyssey is confirmed but not for launch
I don't care. I really don't. Mario fanboys are drooling but I won't be buying this. That being said, it will be a system seller.
6. A some-what sequel for Splatoon will be coming out in the summer
That's fine if you like Splatoon - and yes it hints at Nintendo getting more into eSports but this does very little to tickle my pickle.
7. Xenoblade 2 is happening
I'm not qualified to comment on this particularly but I know that people are pissed off. Apparently the art style has changed drastically to a very hand-drawn anime style and people are not happy. They'll probably still buy it but just be a bit bitchy about it when they do.
8. SEGA is coming in big with Sonic Mania and Sonic 17
One wouldn't necessarily think this would be a system seller - but woah hold on now! The special collectors edition of Sonic Mania has been selling well on pre-orders and the game looks great. But it can also be taken with you as a handheld version with the Nintendo option - you can't do that with Xbox One or PS4. You could technically do it with Steam but not really. I know plenty of people that have switched (see what I did there?) their pre-orders from PS4/Xbone to Nintendo. Presumably SEGA will fuck it up with Sonic 17 but they might surprise us. Still, there's always Puyo Puyo Tetris, which is superb.
9. There's a load of other games no one cares about
Nobody cares. Oh, Skryim - that five year old game. Yeah, you'll have that. Probably the PS3 version.
10. The console will be on sale in China (Hong Kong)
Now this is big. No, seriously, this is huge. For many reasons I won't go into full details about the political climate between Japan and China but let's sum it up by saying they don't do much business. However, with the Switch making its way into China via Hong Kong, Nintendo has opened up a massive (and I mean fucking massive) market - why else do you think they're shouting about an NBA game so much? It's because NBA games make ridiculous amounts of money in China. The Switch could fail everywhere else and Nintendo would still be rolling in money.
11. The accessories are expensive
That they are! In fact, they're too expensive. The cost of the console is a little higher than everyone was hoping for (although not really higher than expected) and that's a little disappointing but quite frankly most people will get over it and hand over the dosh. Or at least they would have done before they took a look at the price tags for some of the accessories. 70 quid for another set of joycon? 60 quid for a pro controller? It's 13 fucking quid for Mario Kart joycon wheel holder things.
12. There is no pack-in game
This is a massive bullet in the foot. This will have to change before Christmas. You cannot have a console that has the ability to reach that casual audience that bought a Wii from you 10 years ago, make a game like 1-2 Switch or Arms and not pack anything into a bundle. Nothing! 1-2 Switch is 40 quid! 40! For a casual game that shows off what the system can do. And even then you can only do two player without shelling out another 70 quid to make it a family affair. Bonkers.
13. The screen is 720p which outputs 1080p to a TV
720p is absolutely fine for a small screen. We've seen it, it looks nice and it means that it'll be less intensive on the battery. Which leads us on to...
14. Battery life is 2.5-6 hrs
Hmm. Is this worrying? I'm not really sure. I mean yes, 2.5 hours isn't very good but at least you can charge on the go - which is helped by our next point...
15. It'll use USB-C
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Not only is it a relief to see a non-proprietary charger for once but also, USB-C supports rapid charging so you won't be left having to plug your Switch into a power socket for ages before you can leave the safety of a power oulet.
16. The "joycon" have advanced rumble features and IR cameras
Why does everything have to be "HD". It's like in the 80s when everything was "Turbo". As impressive as it is, there's nothing "high definition" about the rumble features. Even so, it's pretty interesting - skip to around 15mins from the launch presentation.
17. There is a capture button on the control pad
Like it'll make any difference to Nintendo's YouTube policy. I don't really know why this has been included.
18. Nintendo is launching a paid online service
Not a massive surprise really. Nintendo players have enjoyed free services until now but it's hardly irregular to have to pay for the service. Without knowing too much about the service yet, all we do know is that the incentives to sign up early are pathetic. Free until fall and a free NES/SNES game to rent for a month at a time until then.
19. It has 32GB of internal storage which is expandable by Micro SD
Again, good that it's non-proprietary and a micro SD should be able to provide all the space you need. It does add to the ever-growing price list though.
20. There's an app to support parental control and chat etc.
I don't really get the chat service. But here's the parental stuff:
So what's the bottom line? Will the Switch be a success? Well, I'm not sure.
The console itself looks like a lot of fun and I want one. It's just that Nintendo has pulled a classic Nintendo by making some awful, awful (like seriously awful) decisions in its approach to bringing the Switch to the market. It really needs to stop thinking like a toy company and wake up to what's happening this decade.