After watching the Nintendo Direct for the Nintendo Switch last night I can honestly say that I don’t want one….at least not at launch. When the Switch was unveiled via a short trailer last year I was actually hyped for it. Here was a console that could give us games that were running on a PS4 and Xbox One (albeit not quite at the same performance) but allowed you to take your experience on the go, enjoy multiplayer experiences such as Mario Kart 8 whilst taking a long haul flight and continue your adventures in Zelda Breath of the Wild on your way to work. Nintendo Switch seemed to be on the right path to repairing the damage caused by the Wii U’s lacklustre 4 years on the console market.
Then came the Direct conference from last night and honestly it has put me off buying a Switch, at least until there is enough to warrant the purchase. Let’s break down the details we got from last night’s show.
Launch Price: The Nintendo Direct will launch March 3rd 2017 with a price of £279.99 in the UK and $299.99 in America. This in all honesty was what I was expecting the price to be, although you can pick up a more powerful Xbox One or PS4 less this, the benefit of having a portable screen to continue your gaming on the go warrants the price in my humble opinion.
No Region Lock: With Nintendo Switch, Nintendo have decided to finally ditch their stance on region locking their game meaning that you’ll be able to import game from other regions such as Japan where you’ll sometimes find certain games only being released in that area and not made available in the West.
Online Paid Service: Hear me out for a sec. I believe that an online paid service from Nintendo may finally mean that they intend to take online gaming seriously and that we may finally get a service akin to Xbox Live or the PSN Network (which got its act together when the service became a paid one). Many will bemoan that it’s another cost that is not needed and luckily for them there will be a free trial of the service going on until the fall/autumn so they can see exactly what they are paying for. Hopefully this time will give us gamers chance to voice our opinion about the service so that improvements can be made before having to pay.
Nintendo have realised the error of the ways and have brought back motion controls in a big and clever way
Motion Controls: Nintendo struck gold with the original Wii thanks mainly to its innovative motion controllers that allowed virtually anybody to get into gaming. Unfortunately Nintendo pretty much abandoned the motion controllers for the Wii U believing that they had suckered in enough of a new fanbase that they would buy the Wii U without question…they were dead wrong. Thankfully Nintendo have realised the error of the ways and have brought back motion controls in a big and clever way with the L/R Joy-Con pads doubling as motion controls.
Great games: There were many games shown off during the show that looked very intriguing. None more so then Mario’s latest outing in Super Mario Odyssey, which was likened to Super Mario 64 and Sunshine in terms of being more of a sandbox game then level based like some previous entries. Add this to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors and Splatoon 2 there definitely seems to be a decent line up in the future of the Switch but that provides us with our first con…
The Launch Games: It was all going so well but the more and more the conference went on the more I realised that the launch window was turning into a barren wasteland for must have titles. I’m already put off by both 1 2 Switch and Arms thanks to the incredibly cheesy trailers (seriously those guys dressed in what looks like arseless chaps will haunt me to my grave). Then there’s games you will most likely have played on other consoles such as Fifa 17, Elder Scrolls Skyrim, Just Dance 17 and Skylanders Imaginators. Right now the only game really worth purchasing at launch is Zelda Breath of the Wild (which is strictly a Wii U game) and that’s incredibly short-sighted by Nintendo and this could arguably be the worst set of launch games for a console since, well the Wii but at least that had Wii Sports in the box. Also with the only game worth getting being Zelda, why would those with a Wii U on which Zelda will also be available feel the need to upgrade? Also I was happy to read that Nintendo were looking to offer a free NES/SNES game every month and my initial thought was that they were going down the same route Xbox and PlayStation has done with their “free” games each month, that is until I read on and realised you’d only get to play that game for that month. For shame Nintendo.
Third Party Support: This where a tumbleweed should have blown across the conference. Honestly Nintendo WTF? Aside from Peter Hines confirming Skyrim and Fifa 17 being talked about briefly there was virtually nothing else. Yeah there were some guys there from other companies but god knows what they are making, hell the Suda 51 guy didn’t seem to know what he was making, he just had an image for a game that had no title. Yes there was trailers for some third party stuff but where are all the games out at the same time for other consoles? Resident Evil 7, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Mass Effect Andromeda? I’ll tell you where they are, the Nintendo Switch can’t handle them and Nintendo can’t admit that. Third party support is looking quite bleak at the moment but hopefully they can turn this around before developers shun it just like they did the Wii U.
Battery Life: It was stated that the battery life for the console whilst in portable mode can vary between 2 ½ – 6 hours based on what you are using the screen for? Zelda is said to last roughly 3 hours on a single charge. Playing games of this power I kind of expected the battery life to suffer and unfortunately I was right, yes you can charge it on the go but that instantly damages the whole aura of it being portable if you have to take chargers along on your journey. Deep down I was just hoping for between 5 – 8 hours so that you could take a long journey in the car or on a plane without the need of finding a place to charge up.
Lack of info on Online Service: So yes we know that Nintendo plan to make players pay for their Online Service shortly after launch after a trial period but there’s so much we don’t know. Firstly, how much will the service cost? Are we looking at Xbox Live/ PSN prices or will it be cheaper? Will they get rid of the use of friend codes and allow us to use something akin to Xbox’s gamertags, maybe even sign in via Facebook? Will the Eshop actually be any good this time round or will it still be ball achingly slow and difficult to navigate. Also will the Virtual Console return and will it release games at a faster rate than before and will it also include Gamecube finally?
Nintendo have always been terrible for their accessories prices but they really are taking the piss this time
Accessories: Already I can see the Switch being a pricey console to own. Want a second pad? That’ll cost you £65. What about a pair of multi-coloured Joy-Cons? That’ll be £75. Just a Joy-Con on its own is £43! That’s astronomical! Add in the likes of a case for your screen, a protective case, screen protectors, Joy-Con Straps and a Joy-Con charging stand and you are looking at another £70. Nintendo have always been terrible for their accessories prices but they really are taking the piss this time.
Shoddy Conference: Okay so this is not about the console but for anybody that watched the Direct show will agree that Nintendo really need to give up with the cheesy cringe worthy bull crap and just fill the parts with great games and info that will be more of a benefit to potential buyers of the console. Case in point was the few minutes of a guy listening to a joy con stating that it could mimic a glass with an ice cube in it. Who the hell cares!? Yes I understand it was trying to illustrate how the controllers now have HD Rumble (pay rise to the guy at Ninty who thought up that name) but did we really need this to be done like this? It really was one of those head in your hands moments peeking through your fingers praying it would end.
At one stage one of the translators was completely lost when a rep from Suda 51 took to the stage and you could hear he was stumbling along until he could figure out what it was he was trying to translate. Add to this that both the trailers for 1 2 Switch and Arms went on far too long (honestly how long did it take for those cowboys to “shoot” one another?) and both were oddly similar in presentation. Seriously both trailers had two people taking an absolute age to walk to a specific spot before getting to any gameplay (by the way was I the only one that was creeped out by the Arms trailer having and older guy in a shirt and tie wanting to takedown a girl in a school girl outfit?). Ninty could learn a thing or two from Microsoft and Sony on how to do a proper conference.
it seems that Nintendo still have a lot to learn to compete in today’s market
As a fan of Nintendo since the SNES and a loyal customer buying every console since, I have been waiting for years for Nintendo to return to their former glory and honestly thought that the Switch would be the console to turn their fortunes around. Unfortunately it seems that Nintendo still have a lot to learn to compete in today’s market. In October the Switch was pretty much a day one purchase for me but with a lack of games at launch, overly priced accessories and a lack of info on certain aspects of the console it pains me to say that at launch I will not be purchasing a Nintendo Switch day one or in the next few months afterward. I will more than likely pick one up when more games are readily available but as for now it’s not the exciting prospect I was hoping it would turn out to be.
What are your thoughts? Were you impressed by the conference and the Nintendo Switch? Will you be buying one at launch? Let us know in the comments below. No Registration Necessary.