Nintendo Switch Impressions

Nintendo Switch Impressions

Last week, Nintendo revealed a price, release date and games for their new hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch. The conference, which was streamed live from Japan, was just as quirky as you’d expect from Nintendo with plenty of Switch puns thrown in for good mix. This was an important moment in time for the publisher after very disappointing sales of the Wii U which suffered from unclear messaging, a lack of appeal and later very few games to speak of. There has even been talk of Nintendo pulling out of the hardware market in recent years and their entrance into the mobile space with games such as Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run shows the publisher is beginning to change how it operates but for now the Switch is their immediate future and their best chance of getting back on track from a gamer’s perspective. Here are my Nintendo Switch Impressions:

To start with, the price.

Here in the UK, the console will cost £279.99 and in North America, $299.99. At first glance this seems an appropriate price point for a new console, the game features quite a bit of technology allowing you to take console quality games on the go. However, it is worth noting you can pick up a more powerful PS4 or Xbox One for a cheaper price. Nevertheless, Nintendo have a certain appeal and that appeal isn’t necessarily applicable to those looking for high frame rates and 4K resolution. This price does also give them room to maneuver and lower the price at a later date depending on how the market reacts, something the Wii U wasn’t able to do.

Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Impressions

The other prices that were announced following the press conference were the prices for accessories. The inflated prices for the Joy-Con controllers and the Pro controller are ludicrous and while it’s not the first time a company has released expensive accessories, Nintendo needs to recognise its position in the minds of many gamers at the moment and should be trying to recapture lapsed Nintendo fans. Expensive peripherals are not the way to do that.

Now, onto the hardware itself.

The concept of taking high quality games on the go is something gamers have long been clamoring for and the Switch certainly seems to be taking note, especially given that the Wii U was a weak attempt at just that. The console features 32GB of internal memory which can be expanded with SD cards and given that Switch games are considerably smaller than PS4 or Xbox One games, this is probably around the right mark.

Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Impressions

The battery life (ranging from 3 to 6.5 hours) isn’t the best but is perhaps understandable given that you can play the latest Zelda or Mario anywhere you want. As for the hardware itself, early reports suggest that the Joy-Cons are a little too small and it will be interesting to see if they are actually used separately for local multiplayer as Nintendo intends.

A big announcement at the conference was changes to Nintendo’s online offering.

Although the service will be free to trial in March, it will be a paid online service as of Autumn 2017. This is fine as long as Nintendo justifies the price. However, there’s been very little information on the finer details and the way Nintendo referred to chat and invites via their smart phone app has some worried. Nintendo has stated that subscribers will receive a NES or SNES game for free with additional online features which sounds great but from the wording it seems once the month ends, the game has gone. This is quite tone-deaf from Nintendo and perhaps shows they still don’t grasp the success of platforms like Xbox Live and its Games with Gold service or Playstation’s PS Plus.

There was no specificity on if the service would have something like trophies/achievements either and here Nintendo is suffering from neglecting its online functionality over the years.

And now, for an element that could make or break the console, the games.

What Nintendo had to show was worryingly small especially when it came to third-party offerings. Sure, Square Enix had several titles but a lot of what was on show were ports of other games. Flying EA in to announce FIFA doesn’t really cut it when that franchise usually reaches all platforms at some point anyway. Aside from Zelda coming at launch and Mario (which unfortunately won’t be coming till later this month), first-party offerings consisted of gimmicky titles that utilised the Joy-Con controllers. There was certainly a distinct lack of NEW games on show and that’s a worrying sign for Nintendo particularly after the Wii U.

Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Impressions

The conference itself was quite dull and several games were inexplicably confirmed after the show ended such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which doesn’t make sense since people wanted to hear about that game in particular.

Overall, the Nintendo Switch and more recent decisions by Nintendo have shown that they are beginning to change how they operate and that’s a positive thing, as is the console itself, the introduction of an online service and the release date of March 3rd. However, the online service sounds half-baked, there was a distinct lack of new games on show and for me personally, Nintendo have failed to tell me why I really need this console.

Those are my Nintendo Switch impressions but what do you think of the new console?

Will you be purchasing one at launch? If not, what can Nintendo do to convince you?

Let me know by commenting below this article and don’t forget you can catch up will the Switch news here.

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