It’s that time of year. The leaves are falling, triple AAA games are releasing just in time for the holidays, and Nintendo is announcing a new console. I mean portable gaming system. Well actually, it’s both. It’s called the Nintendo Switch, and is the first of its kind. Its scheduled for release in March of 2017. Part console, part handheld, it allows the player to game at home and on the go. The “first look” video emphasizes just that. But what does it do? Well the short answer it can be played both at home on a TV, or separately by itself. It has “Joy-Con” controllers that slide onto the portable device, or onto an accessory to resemble a typical game controller.
So far, there is a list of almost fifty developers lined up to make their games playable on the device, with more on the way. The list includes Square Enix, Capcom, Atlus, Sega, and Electronic Arts. It’s got a high definition screen, so you can rest assured that you can see Skyrim in its full glory (which will be available on the Nintendo Switch, according to the video.) I’ve already seen articles on the first page of Google declaring its brilliance, despite the fact we have yet to really see it. There is only one question on everyone’s mind however. Can it succeed where Nintendo has failed before?
It awaits to be seen whether Switch will live up to the hype. But it does strive to do what Nintendo has always done. Providing family friendly entertainment in the living room and on the go, which Nintendo has done to varying degrees of success. Since the release of the Wii, the theme of mobility has surged throughout their consoles. They walk the line between casual and hardcore gamers, trying to cater to both sides. Because of this, they have often fallen flat. Most notably, with the release of the Wii U.
But why? Well, Nintendo tries to pander to everyone. Because of this, they often spread themselves too thin, leaving consoles that look nice, but offer little in terms of features or depth. The Wii U offered most of the common apps such as Netflix and Hulu, but offered little other features for music or media. The Wii was successful mainly due to its low cost and range of unique Wii sports, but by comparison, the Wii U had bad design both in and out, leaving the customers wanting more.
And that’s not the only reason. There’s also the outdone games, Mario being the biggest example of this. It was quaint to see Mario and Luigi bounce around rescuing Princess Peach. But more and more these games are redone in ever greater scenarios. Paper Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Galaxy are just a few. These ideas have been stretched thin to the point of exertion. There’s nothing new left in them. Even new games like Splatoon model the laziness of Nintendo. The multiplayer is half-baked, and the game was extremely repetitive.
One could argue that this is part of their charm, being simple but familiar, and I would agree. With new consoles however, we need to feel the involvement of the manufacturer. Simply, we want to see whether they can give us what we want. The Nintendo Switch can be a crowning triumph, and due to the game developers behind it, I would say that it’s well on the way. But if we the gamers don’t get what we want, it could be a colossal failure. Only time will tell.