Posted by marc October 20, 2016

After seven months of infuriating silence, Nintendo finally unveiled their new console this morning. The Nintendo Swich is, as rumors have stated, a console / portable hybrid with detachable controllers. The console can be played as a handheld with the two controllers attached, on a desktop (with the use of a kickstand) with the detached controllers or a more traditional Pro Controller, or docked to the TV for a standard home console experience.

On the one hand, it seems like Nintendo has brought in plenty of third party support, and even showcased a port of Skyrim in the hardware reveal video. (It's important to keep in mind that the Wii U had a decent third party lineup at launch which quickly diminished to basically nothing.)

On the other hand, the system doesn't exactly seem portable. It certainly won't fit in your pocket like the 3DS, and would be pretty obtuse to play on the train. I'd also argue that Nintendo are trying a bit too hard. Playing multiplayer games with the tiny detachable controllers looks like a frustrating experience that has been shoehorned into the Switch. We also don't know much about the console's specs. I'm skeptical that the new Zelda game, for example, will run just as well as its Wii U counterpart without resorting to graphical shortcuts and gimmickry. Finally, the Pro Controller looks like a crummy knockoff (which is surprising because the Wii U Pro Controller was so nice), and the configuration of the two detachable controllers connected together looks both ugly and uncomfortable.

nintcvn5n33waaalaelms800-1.jpg, by marc

I'm also left wondering about Nintendo's overall strategy. With 3DS support waning, it seems like it's only a matter of months before Nintendo fully drops the platform. Does that mean the Switch will be the sole Nintendo console on the market? Or will they introduce yet another console with a lower price point geared towards kids?

I'm not going to say that this is the beginning of the end for Nintendo. There will always be a place for the company as long as video games exist. But I'm just not sure who this is supposed to appeal to, what the quasi-portable format is supposed to work for, and if this is what Nintendo needs to recover from their Wii U flop. At the same time, I'm not sure that a more powerful, more traditional console would be the solution, either. Ultimately, it's of course the game library that will make or break the console on a critical level, so we're just going to have to wait and see.


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