Nintendo is on to a winner.
Over the last decade, the Japanese video game company has had more flaws than a Bowser plan to kidnap Princess Peach. But from a lack of third-party game support to an archaic online system, these issues all look to be resolved with the Switch.
It might not offer photo-realistic visuals or Sonic the Hedgehog levels of processing speed, but it does have one trick that Sony and Microsoft consoles fail to provide: portability. Do not underestimate the value of portability. There’s a reason why smartphones are currently the most popular platform for gaming: we rarely have time in our busy schedules to play on our Xbox or PlayStation, but how often are you stuck on a plane or a family vacation bored out of your mind?
Sure, portability in video games is nothing new. Nintendo has offered it for years with the GameBoy and the DS, but their lack of power restricted the game catalogue to the likes of Pokémon and Animal Crossing. The Switch, on the other hand, has enough muscle to handle Skyrim and the next big Zelda adventure.
And once you arrive back home, you can easily move the experience to your 50in TV to take in the lush lands of Hyrule in more detail. Admittedly, the line-up of games revealed so far hasn’t blown anyone away. But criticism for this is surely premature with the console still two months away from release.
Plus, few consoles can call claim to impressive launch lineups. Take the PS4 for example. It might have had a selection of more than 20 games on day one, but besides Resogun, have any of those left a lasting impact? Knack and Killzone Shadow Fall certainly didn’t. But then consider that The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild is almost guaranteed to be leading the chase for a GOTY award by the end of the year. I’m always happy to accept quality over quantity, although I’m still confident that more unannounced titles will also be released in the first few months of the Switch’s lifespan.
Plus, more fantastic Nintendo exclusives will follow. Splatoon 2 and Mario Odyssey have already been confirmed, but expect Metroid, Pokémon and Kirby to arrive on the Switch in the next year or so too.
Perhaps more exciting, however, is the return of third-party support for Nintendo’s console. Bethesda are arguably the most in-form game publisher, having recently released Fallout 4, Doom and Dishonored 2 and so it’s a real coup for Nintendo to get them onboard.
Not happy with Bethesda? Fine. How about Square Enix, Ubisoft, Telltale or Activision? The most impressive of all though? From Software. The studio that has made a name for gruelling boss battles has confirmed that they will be working with Nintendo amid rumours of a Dark Souls trilogy arriving on the Switch. There goes Nintendo’s insistence on family-friendly titles. Hurrah!
If those rumours are true, the Switch will be the only platform where you can play Dark Souls 3 and Skyrim at a bus stop (unless you whack out your ultra-expensive laptop, but who does that?) I’d happily accept watered-down graphics if it means I can play my games anywhere I want. No more boring hotel trips for me.
Still not convinced?
It’s not just the portability and games that means that Nintendo is on to a winner with the Switch. Nintendo has previously been heavily criticised for its online features, but now it's introducing a paid subscription model we’re bound to see massive improvements, just as we did with the PlayStation 4.
And don’t forget that they’ve pledged to give away a free NES or SNES game every month for subscribing. Not a big deal? Well just look at how crazy everyone went over the NES Mini. Speaking of retro, there are rumours of GameCube games being available through the Switch’s online store too. That means we’ll possibly get access to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime, Luigi’s Mansion and many more. No, they’re not new games, but it’s not as if PlayStation and Xbox haven't been shoving remakes down our throats recently too…
For £280 I think the Switch is a pretty sweet deal, and as long as Nintendo fixes its game shortage, (which I’m sure they will) I see no reason why people won’t be hammering their fingers on the preorder button in the coming days. If almost every big game developer has faith that the Switch will succeed, then why should we be pessimistic?
And in terms of Nintendo scrapping hardware, as my Switch-sceptic colleague is suggesting, I couldn’t think of many worse things that could befall the gaming world.
Nintendo has its sights firmly fixed on innovation - indeed it always has. Even just in the past decade or so it's revolutionised motion control with the Wii, introduced glasses-less 3D gaming with the 3DS and experimented with tablet control on the Wii U. OK, so the less said about the last example the better, but at least it's trying.
Sony and Microsoft, meanwhile, are so obsessed with powering-up their consoles that they've turned their machines into nothing more than fancy gaming PCs inside little black boxes.
We need a gaming company which takes risks, because contrary to the common belief, people do like change. Without innovation and risk in gaming, we’d still be restricted to Tetris and 2D side scrollers, just in a higher resolution. But there’s no need to be fearful of such a future. The Nintendo Switch will not fail and Mario will never suffer the same fate of a certain blue hedgehog. You can bet my golden coin on it.