If you are both a living breathing person, as well as someone who plays games on any sort of regular basis, you likely heard that yesterday, Nintendo (finally) officially announced their next console: the Nintendo Switch.
It had long been rumored that the Switch (then code named the NX) would be some sort of console/handheld hybrid, and that’s exactly what it is. It can be both its own console, as well as made portable for gaming on the go.
That’s pretty much all we know. Nintendo didn’t even announce a price point or a hard release date, both omissions I felt were odd. This was their big moment and their audience walked away with more questions than answers.
One thing we do know is that the Switch will take cartridges, not discs. I wasn’t terribly concerned about that (after all, both the 3DS as well as the PS Vita both use cartridges), until I started thinking about data and space.
Will the entire game be on that cartridge? That seems unlikely if there will be AAA games from third party developers on the system. And if those cartridges don’t have all the game data on them, how will that work? Will they simply be an unlock for some sort of digital game? Will you have to always be online for that to work? And to play those games on the go, what would that require? Some sort of mobile subscription?
Then I start wondering about the battery life of the portable version of the Switch. How many hours will it work without being recharged? What happens if it dies in the middle of playing a game and you haven’t saved in a while? Will it simply suspend the game, or will you lose all the progress since your last proper save?
I like the idea of being able to take my console with me with little fuss (if the announcement trailer is to be believed). I like the nifty little kickstand on the back that makes it a portable screen. But I start to wonder about all these interchangeable parts and I wonder: how quickly before those parts wear out? How soon until a piece breaks off? Or what if a part is lost? Would the entire unit have to be replaced?
And speaking of smaller parts, how can those tiny controllers be comfortable for any period of time? I used to have a hard enough time with the Wii remote when held horizontally; how can a teeny version of that be anything but cumbersome?
One of the biggest questions I was left with was price; how much will this console/handheld cost? And will it be a catchall to replace Nintendo’s consoles as well as their handhelds?
Even with all these questions, I feel cautiously optimistic about the Switch. I’m curious to get my hands on it to see just how comfortable (or uncomfortable) it is. I want to see if the transition from console to portable device is really as seamless as it was made to seem in the announcement.
I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed that the Switch isn’t just a standard console. It still feels like Nintendo is leaning on the gimmick side, and that concerns me. The real test will be to find out how third party developers support the device. We may have seen Skyrim in the trailer, but when asked about it, Bethesda wouldn’t confirm anything about the game being released on the Switch. That’s concerning.
I bought a Wii U fairly close to launch and, while I had fun playing Mario Kart 8 on it, it barely got used. It felt like Nintendo had mostly given up on it before it even got into a groove. That disappoints and concerns me. I need to see that Nintendo, and the third party support, is there for the Switch before I buy in to the device. I’m already interested, I just need to be convinced. Software and functionality will be the keys.
What did you think of the Switch announcement? Are you going to be a day one adopter, or will you be waiting this one out? What questions do you have constellating about the device? What do you think it will cost?