Op-Ed: Wii Gonna Switch It Up On U

By guest writer Halacy Kurenski

Two generations ago, Nintendo lost me. The Wii had a new and innovative idea but it didn’t have the robust, exclusive and mature titles I wanted. They lost me and similar gamers who stuck with Nintendo. Since the Wii, Nintendo seems to be embracing the family-friendly market but I rarely see an insane adventure game that catches my attention like Tomb Raider or Mass Effect trilogy. Yes, the Wii-U has ME3 but why not release the trilogy and give Nintendo gamers the same experience as everyone else? Nintendo had a live stream of the Switch and I was hoping to see more options along with the usual classics.

What We Know So Far

On January 12 2017, Nintendo debuted a live demonstration of their latest console via YouTube, Dailymotion and other streaming services. The title for this new console is the Nintendo Switch. Let’s talk about the amazing new console. First, it is called the Switch because it can conveniently switch between three different game modes.

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The first mode is the traditional TV mode in which you hook the console up to a television with the controller plugged into the console. While sitting or standing in the room and facing the TV, you play.

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The second, is the handheld mode in which you can take the console with you and play indoors, outdoors or anywhere you like.

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It also has a tabletop feature which is the third mode of playing. The console has a kickstand so you can prop it up on a table, remove the controllers known as Joy-Con, and play it as a mobile mini station. The side controllers also double as motion controllers allowing full use of the new feature known as the HD Rumble. In addition, not only can you play this as either a home console, or a portable console, or a handheld, it can also be used as a party game station – which I’ll explain later.

The battery life is the tricky part which ranges from three hours to six hours depending on the type of game you’re playing. One game will pull more juice than another. It’s a crap shoot.

The Nintendo Switch will launch on March 3, 2017 for the price of $299.99. Although It will be available for purchase in March, they’re only releasing 2 million units across the United States. Now, only releasing 2 million units for purchase is creating a false demand. It will make the system hard to get and a rare item simultaneously. Gamers could get frustrated and might even give up looking for the system. I see two problems. First, Nintendo is releasing the system too early with not enough units to go around. Second, with Nintendo releasing the system as early as they are at the price of an Xbox One or PS4, it would make more sense for someone to buy just the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. I don’t think Nintendo thought this all the way through because it also seems like they’re repeating the same mistakes they made with the Nintendo Wii U.

Nintendo prides themselves now on creating gimmicks with systems to blind their players from low quality library content. The Wii U (although it was released too early and priced too high) didn’t necessarily have a gimmick other than there was a screen on your controller. The luster and rave of that died in 20 minutes. After that, it became a regular system with kid friendly games and mediocre graphics. However, The Switch has gimmicks tossed on top of a gimmick. It’s a home console, it’s a tabletop console, a handheld console and you can use it at parties with motion controllers known as Joy-Con controllers.

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If that isn’t enough, Nintendo will be releasing a subscription online service for gaming, chat service and discounts to their online marketplace. Nintendo did disclose that they would give you a free NES/SNES video game once a month. Now on paper that looks like a good idea. But gamers may feel like they’re downloading from the same old roster they purchased from when that line-up was new and then re-downloaded the same games when the virtual console was new. Now those same titles will be offered to them free once a month. It’s basically Nintendo saying “Can we do any less?”

You will be able to experience online gaming free until the fall at which time it becomes a paid-service. Party chat and group chat will not be accessible as they are part of the paid-service. In the meantime, a phone app will be available which will allow you to invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat while enjoying online matches and compatible games.

Now as far as launch titles go, Nintendo showed a good array of family-friendly games including Mario, Zelda, Arms, Skylanders, Just Dance, Has Been Heroes, Splatoon 2, 1-2-Switch and more. 1-2-Switch seems to be, more or less, the Wii Sports of the console. Meaning,  essentially, it’s just a bunch of party games. According to Kouichi Kawamoto (Switch’s General Hardware Director) “We want One Two Switch to be a staple for parties and to become an icebreaker for all kinds of fun communication.” As for mature titles, only one has been announced as of yet and that is Skyrim. However, we don’t know if it will be the Special Edition that came out this winter or the base game.

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