Nintendo couldn’t have asked for better momentum leading up to the Jan 12th reveal. The 3 minute reveal trailer (filmed here, in Vancouver) had very positive reception. The NES Classic seemed to sell out before release and is still waiting for re-stock. Super Mario Run was their first real entry into the mobile gaming market, heavily promoted by Apple and wildly successful. Most people have already put their Wii U’s away and are eagerly anticipating the next thing from Nintendo.
After eager anticipation and coming home late, I watched the awkwardly translated Nintendo presentation from Tokyo. I came away thinking, “Okay, cool. Some weird stuff and disappointing stuff, but definitely some interesting stuff too. I know I’ll eventually pick one up, but I don’t need to pre-order one. Zelda looks amazing, but I have it pre-ordered for Wii U already.” Even with the extra info online regarding Micro SD and online service details, I felt they didn’t convey enough information to warrant pre-ordering. Vague descriptions that chat is somehow handled through a phone app?? The graphics hardware looks like it’s probably based on the aging Nvidia Tegra X1, and not the upcoming Tegra X2, which is unfortunate if not surprising. Third party support feels apprehensive. And no unbiased impressions about the hardware yet… I figured I should at least wait for those: how comfortable and responsive are the controllers?
I waffled a bit, but obviously, I changed my mind. Here’s why:
Japan. Console gaming has long been on its way out, in Japan. Handheld gaming is where Japan does most of its gaming, and if the presentation from Tokyo is any indication (Square Enix and Atlus providing great initial support), I think Switch will be quite popular, and possibly the next bastion for Japanese games. On top of that, the Switch will not be region-locked, so we don’t even need those games to be published by a North American publisher. Bonus.
Portable. I’m not generally a portable gamer, but there are some really great games that come out on portable and I like to try them. I have the DS and 3DS but rarely play them. I also have a PS Vita which has actually been really great with PS Plus and cross-save / cross-buy. The Switch basically means I only have to buy one Nintendo console this generation (maybe), and will offer a seamless TV/portable play that PSV/PS4 can’t match.
Indie games. PSVita/PS4 has been my preferred platform for indie games because of cross-save and cross-buy (and PS Plus). It’s a great feature, but requires extra development to be supported and can be a bit cumbersome if not implemented carefully. Developers have been reporting that the Switch is refreshingly nice to develop for, so I imagine it will soon become a great home for many indie games. Notable indies announced at or near launch already include Shove Knight, Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Fast RMX, and Snipperclips.
Lastly, because Nintendo. Nintendo will be concentrating all of its development teams on a single platform. I’ve always been a huge fan of Nintendo’s games, and bought all Nintendo consoles since I’ve been able to. I don’t think this will change. More recently, I’ve enjoyed watching consoles evolve after their release, so why not do that with the Switch?
The release date is just around the corner, on March 3rd. Yes, the launch line-up, is surprisingly thin. But I won’t care, because I will have Zelda (that trailer, bro!) I may double dip on Mario Kart if Nintendo offers an intriguing enough loyalty discount, and I’m looking forward to getting into Splatoon 2 after missing the first. Arms looks interesting, and I can see it being fun. Mario next to realistic people honestly makes me uneasy, but Super Mario Odyssey looks otherwise amazing.
I hope Switch is successful, but I came to the realization that I will get one, regardless. I want to play Zelda when it’s released in the best available option. Honestly, I can’t even imagine what Nintendo would have to do to make me not get a Switch… I should have pre-ordered as soon as possible. But that’s me.