Today Nintendo finally revealed what has long been rumored to be its next console. Let’s get it out the way. Yes, I’m highly excited. This is the first console in a long time that not only has peaked my interest but has me waiting in anticipation. Just thinking about the possibilities gets me riled up. This is the console I’ve wanted for most of my adult life.
So what exactly is the Nintendo Switch?
I can better tell you what it’s not. It’s not a traditional console by definition. You won’t find a plastic box as we have become accustomed to. Instead Nintendo is selling the idea of a removable joysticks that can be attached to the sides of a docked tablet
You won’t find a cd drive. Switch will be using cartridges, which makes sense for a console that is meant to also be a portable. The last thing you want is a disc spinning while you walk around with the device.
Traditional controller configurations are supported as shown in the trailer so couch gaming will still be comfortable on the hands as the single pad set up looked like it might hurt folks with big hands.
I honestly can’t get over the possibilities and uses for Switch. The trailer touches upon some. Like Mario Kart being played by two people in the back of a car using Joy-Cons (the small joysticks).
I can already see a regular night out at the bar turning into a hardcore Splatoon match. Or my dull morning commutes turning into an adventure across the wilderness with Link. And if we ever get a Smash Bros on Switch forget about it. Social gatherings will turn into stomping pits.
The fact that one Joy-Con can become individual controllers is also a great idea and lends itself to local multiplayer very well. So we’re guaranteed each console will come with at least two Joy-Cons.
It can all go wrong
I am as optimistic as ever. But I’m not naive. This can all go terribly wrong. If constructed poorly the handle locking mechanism can become a issue. I can also already see people losing the Joy-Cons, seriously those things look tiny. The tablet design lends itself to portability but if you drop that thing you’re shit out of luck.
And in practical use if the tablet experience isn’t as smooth as it is when its docked it’ll hamper the experience. Hopefully this won’t be the case Nvidia’s Tegra processor has been know to be able to handle itself well under heavy loads.
Battery life is a major stop gap that Nintendo needs to address. If Switch can’t last more than 90 minutes undocked than the undocking feature becomes nothing more than a gimmick. I feel confident saying that with recent advancements in battery technology, we’ll see a solid three hours of gameplay on it. It’d be even better if Nintendo ditched proprietary chargers and allows us to use more common cables like USB-C or Lighting cables.
Lastly Nintendo can’t continue it’s xenophobic approach to gaming. If major developers don’t get behind this thing it won’t have the traction it needs aside from Nintendo fans. Nintendo did wisely release a list of developers confirmed. But the Skyrim footage shown during the trailer isn’t even confirmed yet. So this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The console I didn’t know I needed.
I love gaming, I’ve been at it for a long time 24 years and counting. But for the last 6 to 8 years video games have taken the back seat to a very busy lifestyle. To summarize I’m never really home long enough to get into a game, most of my experiences are portable. And from speaking with my friends and colleagues that seems to be the consensus. Working a full time job, various passion projects. It sucks leaving my games behind.
Nintendo Switch may change that. And that’s all I need to get me excited. Nintendo in a nutshell is combining its ecosystem to make a console that is both for home use like traditional consoles but can convert to a portable experience on the fly. I never realized how much I needed this until watching today’s concept trailer from Nintendo.
I’ve been on the tail end of having to stop in the middle of a gaming session to run a errand or to complete unexpected work. Just last night I had to drop a game to do laundry. Switch would have been the perfect companion. It just makes so much sense for a generation engrossed in mobile experiences like tablets and cell phones.
With clean execution Nintendo will have a instant hit much like it had with the Wii. March can’t come any sooner. I leave you with a little taste of whats to come.