Countdown to Switch

Last summer I wrote about how the Nintendo ‘NX’ could be the revolutionary console that Nintendo desperately needed to get back in the game. Fast forward 8 months and we are only 2 weeks away from Nintendos next major console release, the Switch.

The Nintendo Switch is the realisation of many of those rumors we had floating around last year. It is a home console/handheld hybrid focused on allowing players to take their games, no matter what they are, where ever they want. It’s also the new direction that Nintendo needs to take. Seemingly unifying both their home console and handheld markets to capitalise on the positives of both. This isn’t the all singing, all dancing device that some where praying for though and despite looking impressive and getting great feedback from reviewers it has also been given a fair bit of criticism.

The Switch is a tablet style console with a 6.2 inch 720p capacitive touch screen and powered by a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor. When docked in TV mode it can output at 1080 and run at 60 frames/second. Away from TV Mode it can also be used in Handheld Mode and Table Top Mode (the screen placed on a surface with a kickstand and the controllers detached to be used separately). It comes with 32GB of internal memory which can be up graded with micro SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards all the way to 2TB once they are released. The games themselves come on custom Nintendo game cartridges.

The controllers for the Switch are called Joy-Cons and affectively two halfs of a controller that can attach and detach from the sides of the main unit, as well as slotted into a grip to from a more conventional controller. It’s in these controllers that the true uniqueness and diversity of the Switch comes from.

As well as a convential button lay out that mimics those found on the Microsoft and Sony consoles, the Joy-Cons also contain motion controls that call back to the success had by the Wii. Reports claim that the motion controls are exceptionally accurate and allow for some true 1-1 movement. They also have Nintendos next evolution of rumble they call HD Rumble. The variety and detail that this rumble can produce is to a level that allows for the user to feel individual items moving around inside the controller as well as precise location rumble within the Joy-Con.

The Nintendo Switch unit itself so far has been getting good reviews from everyone who has had the chance to use it. It is unfortunately with the surround ecosystem Nintendo has presented so far that the biggest concerns are arising.

The accessories being sold for the console are being sold are frankly too high a price to make them must buys. Examples of some of the pricing are:

-Individual Joy-Con controller £39.99

-Pair of Joy-Con controllers (L+R) £69.99

-Pro Controller £59.99

-Joy-Con charging grip £24.99 (the grip included doesn’t charge the Joy-Cons)

Now I will admit straight away that these aren’t as bad as some people are making out, especially as its a new console launch. However a pair of Joy-Cons being sold for nearly double a PS4 or Xbox One controller is ridiculous. Especially when you look at one of the Switches launch games, Arms, which is being heavy advertised as a fighting game where you can battle friends. The only issues is that each player needs two Joy-Cons so to play that game as advertised will require you to pay upwards of £120!!

The other major concern is third party developers, or rather lack of, supporting the Switch. Yes the major first party names are announced like Zelda, Mario and Splatoon however a number of notable developers have already stated that the Switch wont be receiving versions of their games. These aren’t just run of the mill titles either. They are games such as Titanfall 2 and Mass Effect Andromeda. With little being said about others too and reports that the actual power of the switch is inferior to even the launch PS4 and Xbox One, then tent pole titles such as Red Dead Redemption are currently only a dream to have on the Switch.

This has people worried that the Switch, despite its strong first party support and obvious innovations for the gamer in terms of flexibility could suffer the same fate as the Wii U which died out because the vital third party support wasn’t there.

E3 this year will be huge for Nintendo to convince people that is THE console you can have rather than the OTHER console to join your Sony or Microsoft counterpart.

I will be getting a Switch on day one and cant wait to play Zelda and Mario kart 8 in the coming weeks. I just hope Nintendo can keep me coming back to the Switch Years into its life cycle.

Until then be sure to check back here after March 3rd to get my hands on impressions of both the Nintendo Switch as well as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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