In some aspects, The Nintendo Switch is a make it or break it product for the home of Mario and Zelda. Following the development of this console since the announcement of the NX has been a wild ride, but by the end of the week, the Nintendo Switch will be out in the wild. Here are a few reasons I will be picking this console up at midnight on March 3rd.
Nintendo’s Unified Console
Ever since the Gameboy launched in 1989, Nintendo’s hardware has always been split between a home console and a handheld. Now with the Switch, those two platforms have seemingly merged. This is a big move for Nintendo and may be a welcomed change for those coming back to the brand after skipping the last few systems.
Nintendo’s handhelds have always outperformed their home console counterparts sales-wise. There were 154 million DS systems sold compared to the 101 million Wii consoles sold. The Wii was the highest grossing console for the company, but still paled in comparison to the DS handheld. Nintendo now has the potential, with the Switch, to combine these two revenue channels to make a device that sets a new standard for gaming.
Besides the potential of growing their sales with this unified platform, Nintendo also has an opportunity to expend all the creative power onto one platform. This means a better overall experience for the consumer. In a sense, this is Nintendo going “all in”, and the results of this devotion to one platform is enough to stir up hype in even the most jaded Nintendo critic.
Another benefit of moving toward a one platform future is a more focused marketing strategy surrounding software announcements. That means the Nintendo Directs and product announcements will not split the audience depending on which platform they may have.
Even though there have been planned releases for the current handheld, the new 3DS, it seems as though that it is on it’s way out. Not only are the releases becoming more staggered but Nintendo has indicated that is the end goal for the Switch. The fate of the 3DS will all depend on how this console performs.
The truth is that this console has so much potential, and has a lot of grounds to make up from it’s predecessor. Based on the early reports so far and the features of the console, Nintendo may have an industry changing system on their hands.
Different Play Styles
Nintendo Switch is versatile in it’s design and in the way the players interact with it. Portability is the name of the game with this console and the design of the controllers allows for built in multiplayer out of the box. The three different play styles, TV mode, handheld mode, and desktop mode, give the players a unique experience for true console gaming.
Built-in multiplayer comes in the form of the controllers packed in with the console. These Joy-Cons function as left and right sides in of the same controller, but also can be separated and become their own controller for a wide variety of games. The decision to make couch co-op a main feature is a major highlight of the system.
Having console-level gameplay on the go is the other major highlight of the Switch. Not only is the console itself a diminutive and sleek tablet, but the dock that allows the system to be played on the TV can only be described as plug and play. The different play-styles and portability will really work for the Switch’s benefit.
Being innovative and stepping outside the competitive arms race of the Console Wars is business as usual for Nintendo. That mentality has caused the company to put out some of the best hardware and first party software. The Switch not only is another step forward for the company in terms of design, but also in accessibility for its players and third party developers.
Opening the Door to Third Party Development
Too long has Nintendo relied on gimmicks disguised as features, especially in the last two console iterations of the Wii. When Nintendo backed out of the Console Wars and remained competitive, they also lost third party support. These developers are essential to the longevity of a console, and will prove vital to the success of the Switch.
From the design choice to revert to the standard dual thumb-stick controller, to the inclusion of USB-C ports, it is clear that the Switch is the sign that Nintendo is ready to play ball with the rest of the industry. Moving away from motion based controls was a smart move to make it easier for cross-platform development. The removal of the second screen also makes development easier. This system was developed from the bottom up with creating an accessible development environment.
The Switch will support Unreal Engine 4 as well as continue to support the Nindies initiative, which helps indie developers create games for Nintendo platforms. These features will not only help entice third party development, but will allow developers to port games to the Switch easier. This software push as well as the Switch’s hardware design creates a uniquely open Nintendo console, ready to capitalize on a larger developer market.
Focus on Fun
This is Nintendo stepping back and looking at how to make a competitive system again. The focus on creating uniquely fun and entertaining experience for their fans, both old and new. This system has a load of potential that I hope they do not waste. March 3rd cannot come soon enough.
Are you joining us this Friday and picking up a Switch? Let us know in the comments below!
Jeff “Beta” Dugan is The Geekiverse’s second “Jeff” but arguably one of its biggest Nintendo fans. Follow him on Twitter.
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