What makes Nintendo so exciting is that it’s the company that always seeks revolutionary hardware releases, as opposed to mere evolutionary upgrades from the competition.
You gotta give Nintendo credit for knowing its market, casual gamers who prefer fun and timeless over past-their-prime adults playing “rated M” games. In this regard, Nintendo has no desire to compete with Xbox and PlayStation, which increasingly seem like the same consoles that play the same bloody games.
The soon-to-be-released Nintendo Switch is the console that embodies that philosophy like nothing before. It’s a handheld with a handsome screen that blows the longtime DS out of the water. That is only the beginning of the story, however, as the controls on either side of the screen eject in a “Wiimote” manner and the screen kickstand allows it to sit upright allowing for tabletop play.
While this is a serious re-imagination of the mobile space, Nintendo didn’t stop there but created a docking cradle where the handheld unit can easily connect to a larger display or television monitor in a way that gives the aforementioned rivals a run for their money.
Switch is slick, Switch is intriguing and I think Switch is gonna be hot when it’s released later this year. Quite frankly, a gaming system that confines users to the living room is not very millennial friendly. We already know that most people with a penchant for gaming are more content with mobility than motion picture gameplay. Nonetheless, Nintendo needed a system that brought a perceived value to those who’ve found solace in the App Store gaming environment. Switch allows kids to turn off the television game and turn it back on in the car for that long vacation drive.
The company is also bringing to the party an array of its beloved games and characters. Legend of Zelda is a franchise onto itself and the launch of Switch will feature the first major release of a Zelda game in years.
Also teased at a recent press event was a trailer for Super Mario Odyssey with everybody’s favorite plumber showing up on the scene with New York City as the “sandbox” environment. These are just two of a handful of launch titles yet represent the biggest guns in Nintendo’s arsenal. Clearly they are trying to win back diehards after trying to unsuccessfully win over the “rated M” crowd with the Wii U launch that was so flat it almost deflated the entire company.
Nintendo seemingly got a jolt of enthusiasm with the wild success of Pokémon Go over the summer and the recent release of Super Mario Run on iOS. While the titles might not have been cash cows for Nintendo, it shows there’s an appetite for these iconic titles in the mobile space, which bodes well for a jacked-up mobile device like Switch.
Still, the gaming industry is seen by many as tepid, with many finding little reason to drop serious coin on what is seen as a legacy industry. The Switch comes out of the gate at $299, which seems fair considering it’s dual capacity, but when you add a pro-style controller and a game you are well over $400.
Another shortcoming with the Switch is storage, as launch models will come with a paltry 32 GB, which is smaller than some single-title games on other consoles. The reasoning is that memory is expandable with inexpensive Micro SD cards and games can be played via physical media cartridges.
Most see Switch as Nintendo’s last best chance in the hardware realm. They’ve already begun to port exclusive titles to mobile devices and could easily forge its future with that business model. What makes Nintendo so exciting is that it’s the company that always seeks revolutionary hardware releases, as opposed to mere evolutionary upgrades from the competition. Switch is the epitome of that philosophy and will either bring glory back to the house Mario built or go out swinging.