The Potential of The Nintendo SwitchWhen I first saw the announcement trailer I thought it was a silly, somewhat naive gimmick.
After some thought I think It might be what the console gaming market really needs.
I am not a Nintendo Fangirl.
I have not bought a Nintendo Console since the 3DS was new.
I haven’t bought a game for a Nintendo console in 3 years.
This might not be the case a yearfrom now.
The Japanese Home Console Market is Dying.
And I mean dying.
More people are buying and playing portablegames over there.
To show how much of a different situation it is compared to over here, ThePS4 only just outsold the Wii U recently and the Vita is one of the most popular consolesand its just dead over here.
Most Japanese Devs are developing for either PS3 or Vitaand upscaling for PS4 releases.
The fact that portables are dying in the west means thatthere less money to be made on both sides when selling their games overseas.
Japanese games sell less than they could in the west due to low popularity of portableconsoles.
Western games sell less than they could in Japan due to low take up of currentgen home consoles.
This is widening a fracture in the games industry,both between east and west, and between home consoles and portables.
But a console that was both a portable or a home console, depending on how you wantto play? If that took off it could change everything.
A Unique Selling Point The hybrid concept is offering something,no other platform, Playstation, Xbox.
Whats more it offers something PC, despite its flexibility,can’t.
I know gaming laptops are portable and you can just plug in a hdmi, but theyare bulky, expensive and the process isn’t streamlined.
No Gimmicks Aside from the obvious design feature thatits a hybrid, there seems to be no crazy gimmicks.
Its not trying to revolutionise gaming witha brand new gimmick, like the two Wii’s or the DS or 3DS did.
Infact the whole designethos aside from the hybrid component, seems to be about compatibility.
The controller Talking about the regular controller, notthe two teeny tiny ones.
What does it have? Two analogue thumbsticks.
Four face buttonson the right and four directional buttons on the left.
Four bumper buttons, two on eachside.
And some additional feature buttons.
If it sounds familiar its because it is.
Itfollows largely the same conventions as Playstation and Xbox controllers.
Third Party Support There’s something here to get almost anygamer excited.
You’ve got the big western ones, EA, activision,Ubi, and you’ve got darling of the moment, Telltale, who people who aren’t me reallylove.
Of more interest to me you’ve got the Japanese developers – specifically theJRPG makers, Square Enix.
Bamco, Atlus and more.
It’s a good line-up.
Ports?The controller and lack of gimmicks makes one opportunity come to mind.
A huge number of games could be ported and played with ease – the final fantasy backcatalogue, all the Kingdom Hearts games, All the FPS’s, all the fighters … almost anygame that doesn’t require certain gimmicks and doesn’t have exclusivity contracts mightbe played on the system.
In recent years the term ‘multi platform’has meant ‘for PS4 and/or XBONE and/or PC’.
What if the Switch could be added to thatlist? That would change the landscape of consolegaming seriously.
And for the better.
The fact that they’ve chosen such a universalcontroller layout and that it works with Unreal 4 and unity seems to show that this is somethingthat’s been on Nintendo’s mind.
Nintendo will always have first party exclusives,just as Sony and Microsoft have, but recently first party games have been the only reasonto play nintendo, and I think this is something they want to change.
But that all depends on one thing SpecsHonestly the system is really small.
And Nintendo will probably try to make it as cheap as possible.
To really, really make an impact, it would have to perform roughly as well as the PS4and XB1’s base model.
The fact that so many games are easily released on both is becausethere’s not a huge difference between the two’s Specs and baseline performance.
But this ‘inter-port-ability’ depends on this the Switch having similar specs.
Otherwisethe only multiplatform we’ll be seeing is games made for Switch with upgraded framerateand resolution for PS4.
Which isn’t terrible, but isn’t much different from what we’reseeing with Vita/PS4 games.
But its been a few years since the currentGen consoles came out and even more since the last portables did.
And the Switch hasbeen in development for a long time.
It might just surprise us with what it can do.
And the quality of the games being played in the trailer were high.
Of course, the gameplayfootage was added in post production, but was is indicative of what we can actuallyexpect? Nintendo aren’t the sort to try and beatthe competition from a technical standpoint, but might they try to meet it?Apparently Nintendo wont show us more until the new year, but it think its safe to saythat the specs will be a result of whatever price point the business model demands.
(I also have a theory that since the tv dock is so big, bigger than in needs to be to chargean connect to the TV, it might have graphical accelerator in it.
So for example, the portablemight only run in 720p, but when you dock it and play on TV its 1080p.
Or somethinglike that.
) I think the switch could really shake up gaming,especially in japan, and i think it truly could unify the home and portable markets.
And while we don’t know too much yet, if you’re like me and you play Japanese gamesmore than any others, it might be worth starting to put some money aside, just in case.