So Many Questions About The Nintendo Switch

nintendo-switch-logo

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?

Categories: games

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10 replies »

    • There is just so much up in the air. And I think it’s strange that some of the footage they showed off in that trailer isn’t being backed up by the developer responsible (in this case, Bethesda).

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  1. I’m optimistic towards Switch as well, but if only we have more info, then I could confirm my thoughts about the console. Right now I don’t see myself buying it, not before playing some 7th generation consoles (PS3)

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  2. i’m actually pretty optimistic about it. You have good points all. But there are a couple of things that I like about it, that seem to have answered some customers concerns. The first (to me) is that it apparently will use a standard controller (which may be a separate purchase). I’m all about the Pro Controller, and if the device can use a similar controller (without the annoying hassle of turning to the gamepad for certain functions, like the store), I will be happy.

    Also, it is using Nvidia technology. A very good sign for third party support.

    Then, it will apparently be compatible with Unreal Engine. This should be jaw-dropping for those interested in third party support and indies.

    The thing most important to me that they have not addressed: a unified account system. They NEED to make all virtual console purchases transfer over to the new system via an account system.

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    • I’m also super excited about the standard controller option. I mean, sure, we had that option with the Wii U, but it seemed more integral in the Switch announcement.

      I’m super glad to hear about the support for it. That gives me hope.

      And I’m right there with you on the unified account system. Nintendo seems cluttered in that sense.

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  3. I’m cautiously optimistic about the Switch at the moment. A lot of the issues you have are weighing on my mind as well, so it won’t be a day one purchase for me however I wouldn’t rule out owning one eventually.

    On the positive side, I’m happy that this console seems to be focusing more on the gaming side of things and Nintendo isn’t relying on motion controls or some other weird gimmick that makes porting for third party developers more difficult. As confusing and mysterious as it looks right now, I think the portability aspect of the console actually works as a positive too since Nintendo has always been great with handheld gaming.

    The unknowns that make me nervous at the moment are the technical side of things. From what we saw of the visuals on the games, it looked to me like Wii U quality which admittedly is good right now, but with Sony and Microsoft beginning the push towards 4K visuals the Switch has to be comparable in order for third parties to support the system, a problem Nintendo hasn’t addressed in the past. Adam H brought up some good points: supporting Nvidia and Unreal 4 is good news, but that wasn’t addressed in the trailer. His other point of a universal account system is also linked to one of my biggest concerns about this system, the fact that Nintendo hasn’t ever had a great track record with their console’s online offerings. With this portability aspect and showing multiplayer gaming on the go, there better be some really powerful processors to keep the games lag free, especially on Wifi. The ideal for the system in my opinion would be in the vein of Steam with easy digital distribution for both AAA and indie developers, ability for friends to meet and play, and a unified account tying all my purchases. I shouldn’t have to rebuy games I bought on the virtual console like the situation currently is with the Nintendo Store.

    If these issues are clarified, the Switch could be just what Nintendo needs to bounce back. I honestly do think too much time has passed to actually become the main console in gamer’s minds, but the Switch could be a great addition to make portable current gen gaming possible without a high end laptop. Sorry this was so long.

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    • No worries! I think you make a lot of good points. I’m also heartened by the portability aspect; Nintendo’s handhelds have always been so solid.

      I’m looking forward to hearing more concrete details about the system.

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