Nintendo Switch Or Ditch?

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Like the rest of the gaming world I was watching with anticipation for today’s announcement of the Nintendo NX system. Over the months to maybe even year we have herd a lot of interesting and not so interesting thing things about the NX. Well today we got our first look at the system and probably even more importantly Nintendo’s target audience for the newly named Switch.

Let’s start with the name, Switch. I personally like it. Makes sense, easy to market, easy for people who are not gamer to understand with little explanation. Kind of the opposite of the Xbox One name. The design of the system and even the logo I find to be catered to a more mature audience. It’s not aqua green or sky blue or apple white, it’s black. Sure down the line after launch or hell in the next few months they might show other color options but them opening with only showing a more grown up black system is a pro in my book. I have not been a Nintendo fan since the Wii. I think the Wii even with its initial success killed more fans than it gained. Nintendo was for a long time a games company for baby’s and man child’s if you ask me. They made more toys than games. the last few generations but it really looks like they are stepping back and getting on track. If this system in done right it can really bring back Nintendo’s street cred and put a solid dent in the competition. I’m talk from mobile android and iOS to PC gaming. Now I repeat, if done right.

The 3 minute ad we saw was pushing a more mature crowd the whole time. It was cheesy as all hell but we got the point. There were no little kids or grandparents in sight. It was hip, it was cool, it was active and it was Nintendo showing us they know their target audience. Which is the around 20 to 40 year olds. This is the group of people who have the most disposable income to spend on things like games. The group of people who are actively playing games. Lastly and most importantly the group of people they alienated the past few generations. Why be niche when you don’t have to be? Nintendo never had to be niche but in the race for innovation that wasn’t needed they forced them selves into a corner of gimmicks. The Switch by design might also be one of these gimmicks, only time will tell. That being said I’m willing to bet on this gimmick.

No ones going to believe me but this modular console portable hybrid was something I thought would be cool as far back as 10 or so years ago. Believe me or not, I don’t really care. (Ok I care a little.) I’m just glad it’s happening because I really do believe this is the future. We are already seeing similar in PC gaming coming from Alienware and Razer’s gaming laptops. Console gaming has always been slow to adopt or innovate for the most part. If anything that’s what I have to give Nintendo credit for. Even though I didn’t like the Wii and what followed, at least they tried something different and new. I think the Switch might be the one that pays off. 3rd times the charm right?

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They seemed to want to show that they are taking 3rd part support seriously here. Unlike the Switch’s slightly slow and dumb older brothers it doesn’t look like it’s trying to be the second support console anymore. The Switch wants to be the one and only console in and outside the house. I’m happy to see the list of supported 3rd party developers supporting the Switch.

Now let me take off my rose tinted glasses and put my devil horns back on and get real with all you guys. Let’s talk about the potential failing of the Nintendo Switch. A lot of this will be guessing and interpretation so nothing is set in stone. My biggest question to Nintendo is, “What else does it do?” Here’s the thing it’s at home and it’s small and cool and hip and plays games, nice nice nice. Then the moment I take it out with me will I only be able to play games on it? I ask this because I’m a grown man and I really don’t have the time for that sort of thing through most days when I am out and about. It’s portable sure but it’s bigger than some tablets the moment you add the mounted controllers or even the external wireless one. So on top of my tablet, phone and maybe even laptop I have to lug the Switch around so I might be able to play Zelda. I don’t see it for myself and a lot of people. People will say it’s for the hardcore gamers which isn’t true since hardcore gamers aren’t out and about playing basket ball and going to rooftop party’s where they pull out games. Hardcore gamers are in dark room, sitting in gaming chairs with giant headphones on gaming. The portability is not for the hardcore. It’s for the casual and the middle of the ground gamers which are the exact same groups of people I don’t think will buy the Switch or take it with them. Excluding kids.

What I’m basically saying is, if it can do more than just game I would really consider replacing my tablet and bring the Switch with me instead. My iPad mini is my main system of choice at the moment for general tasks at home and when out when my laptop isn’t needed or I don’t feel like bringing it with me . It’s what I’m writing this review on as we speak. If I had the Switch and all it did was play games it would not be a difficult choice to leave it at home for my iPad mini. Games are fun but I have work to do. Even if the additional feature of the Switch were just semi decent I would greatly consider or at least try to make it my main system when out. If not it will simply be a wasted feature/gimmick to me and many other people.

Also something I’m going to go over quickly since it’s fairly self explanatory is battery life. If that sucks and it’s only a gaming system than it becomes a paperweight real fast when outside the house. I don’t think battery life will be that good. Based on what I know about lithium ion battery’s and the graphic capabilities this console seems to be trying to push out based on the ad, it’s not going to last long. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was as little as 2 hours of active game time and would be surprised if It can even pull as much as 5 hours. Battery’s suck. The technology hasn’t changed for decades and I doubt Nintendo figured out a new breakthrough while working on the Switch. Again only time will tell, if they can get it to pull at least 4 hours or more I would consider it a win on the Switch’s part.

The Switch being portable also really makes me wonder what it’s packing for power under the hood. I mean it looked pretty good based on the ad they showed and then being able to take it with you and get similar performance when out. That’s quite impressive. Then again the Vita did look amazing for a handheld and that was what 4 years ago? If the graphics even just match the Vitas I would say they have a solid machine on their hands. Chances are it will be better though.

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My next question is about the dock. Is it just a dock or will it also improve the graphic capabilities of the Switch. If it does then amazing, well done, you should be proud. If it doesn’t than well that was a huge lost opportunity on Nintendo’s part. Being a modular system they wouldn’t have had really make the Switch 2. They could just upgrade the power boosting dock with better specks every year or so to keep up with the needs of the developers and games being made. It would also cost the user less vs getting a brand new system every few years. It also allows people to mix and match builds of different specked tablets and docks catering to their individual needs. They could also offer other size options for people willing to have a smaller Switch when on the go but still want the power when at home. Or options in build. Maybe a more chunky solidly built Switch so you can give it to a kid and not worry about them breaking it.

Overall there is potential here in making this the future of all gaming. Which again the ideas was stolen from my ramblings alone in my room back in grade 9. They must have been listen to me through the Wii. Not only was it a horrible console but it also cost me a multi billion dollar idea. It would be worth it if it turns out to be great, which I hope it does. Only time will tell now. I’ll for sure be keeping a close eye on this one and be preorder one the moment it’s available.

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