Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nintendo Switch: Thoughts, Concerns, and Other Things

As of this writing, tomorrow will be the day in which a brand new system debuts, one which is stirring up both excitement and doubt.  In the past, Nintendo has been a company known to take risks, whether it was through saving the gaming industry through the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System or introducing the public to the concept of motion controls, they are risk-takers, and often, they pull those risks off with success.  Nintendo aims to shake things up once again via their new console, the Switch, which is a system capable of being played at home, outside, or anywhere you go.  While the system is shaping up to be a promising success, some, including yours truly, have a few worries as to how the Switch will do in the long run.

First, let's start with the good; judging from the articles and footage presented by multiple outlets, it's a console that lives up to its namesake.  I am truly impressed by the flexibility offered by the console's set-up; although the concept bears some resemblance to the Wii U, it feels like the true potential of that system has been realized with the Switch.  It's great knowing that people will be able to take their games with them and they don't have to stay at home.  After all, what isn't a cooler sight than seeing someone walk down the street as they play the latest Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, or Metroid title, and thinking, "Gee, I can't believe video-games have come this far!"  Additionally, the system will be launching with a slate of quality titles and ones that experiment with the system's capabilities, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 1-2 Switch, and Arms.  Plus, we can look forward to Super Mario Odyssey and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim later in the year.

With that said, there are some elements to the system that don't gel as well.  The price point of $300 is not a problem, but having to pay $70 for a traditional controller compatible with the Switch is; secondly, it's unclear right now as to how the paid online service will work out.  In the past, Nintendo's online services were free, but as Microsoft and Sony make their services cost money, Nintendo is following suit, which isn't necessarily bad, but it should not be terribly expensive to pay for, as not everyone can pay upwards to fifty dollars to play with other people across the world.

The biggest concern, for me personally, is the matter of third-party support.  In the past, Nintendo has had a troubled time getting support from publishers and developers for their systems.  This was especially noticeable with the Wii U, despite having excellent first-party titles such as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Bayonetta 2, and Super Mario 3D World, the console lacked in support from the likes of Activision, Ubisoft, etc.  It started out strong, but as time progressed, the amount of games that came to the system grew smaller and smaller.  With the Switch, I hope that the system keeps the trust of other companies from the beginning and onwards, and it is looking that way, as multiple companies have pledged support for the Switch, but how it plays out in the long run has yet to be seen.

Nintendo is a company that likes to take risks, and try ideas that no one else would.  They're responsible for iconic franchises and equally memorable systems.  The Switch aims to shake things up in regards to how we play games, and I want the system to succeed and be a hit.  Hopefully, if they play their cards right, then any doubts shall be squashed.  While I won't be purchasing the Switch on launch day, due to financial reasons, I do expect to obtain one at some point later down the line this year.

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