If you’ve been absent from reality today, you may have somehow missed the preview trailer for the new Nintendo Switch console. The hype has been building around the reveal of this machine for weeks, even months. I have mostly ignored Nintendo for a long, long time, which is incredibly sad. The only occasions on which I’ve played a Nintendo game in the past 10 years was when TLOZ: Skyward Sword was released, or round at a friend’s house. The pervasive feeling experienced by most was that the Wii and Wii U weren’t serious consoles. Nintendo became a company that seemed to pander to younger audiences and families. After watching the trailer today, I am excited. I am excited to be excited about a Nintendo product.

nintendo switch gamingThe so-called ‘hardcore’ gamer crowd distanced themselves from the Wii and Wii U. I thoroughly dislike the term ‘hardcore’, but it will suffice as a term to refer to those who felt the previous Nintendo consoles were too gimmicky to appeal to them. Nintendo was seen as a ‘casual’ gamer’s console. Again, I dislike the term ‘casual’, but this is how the gaming community was divided. Hardcore gamers played PC, Xbox and PS games, and casual gamers played mobile and Nintendo games. Admittedly, I was one of the people who saw Nintendo as a casual gamer’s console, though I gradually learnt that their library of games wasn’t as lacking as I first thought. Maybe not as robust as the Xbox or PS library, but there was enough. I simply didn’t know, because of the way Nintendo marketed itself.

The Nintendo Switch trailer will go a long way to reversing those long held opinions for many reasons. Firstly, the name. ‘Nintendo Switch’ is almost an imperative. Switch your way of thinking about us. Switch your console of choice. The name is usually the first thing you know about a product. Nintendo Switch is snappy, pithy, and evokes a plethora of notions before you even learn anything about the console itself. ‘Switch’ is dynamic, ever-evolving to meet the needs of the fans and consumers. Wii and Wii U were seen as almost silly names, and, as a Brit, they have unsanitary connotations. ‘Switch’ lends the platform an air of credibility; it’s a proper name for a proper console.

nintendo switch coverThe new hardware will also be a massive draw. The Wii console was small, petite, even cute. Without even looking under the hood of the Wii, you knew it wasn’t for the hardcore crowd. The design of the Switch is sleek, modern and highly functional. While we don’t know the exact specifications of the Nintendo Switch, the very fact it can run Skyrim says something. It may not be able to deliver what the PS4 Pro can or Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will, but the Switch makes up for that with sheer versatility. You can dock the console in front of your TV to play on a big screen. You can use it as a handheld device. The controllers, or ‘Joy-cons’ as they’re called, detach from the side of the game screen and use them wirelessly as two separate controllers. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a traditional controller that will be best used when the Nintendo Switch is docked. It’s a novel concept, but it’s not gimmicky. The design is innovative, unique, and will open up a world of truly wonderful gaming experiences.

Perhaps the most vocal criticism of the last two Nintendo consoles was their library of games. For the Wii and Wii U, Nintendo had a very particular style of marketing. They knew their fan base, and tried to keep them as happy as possible by amassing what is actually a strong first party selection, without really trying to change the opinions of everyone else. Alongside Nintendo’s less than excellent roster of third party titles, it was a deal breaker for many. The image below shows a sample of the third party partners the Nintendo Switch has accumulated. It warms my heart. There are some incredibly strong affiliates among those named, and there may even be more to come, considering the image only shows a “sample” of the partners. If these developers can bring strong, third party titles to the Nintendo Switch, and manipulate the hardware effectively to create unique gaming experiences, I can honestly see Nintendo finally being able to trade blows with Sony and Microsoft.

Nintendo Switch Third PartyI’ve been a long time sceptic of Nintendo. I looked on with vague interest as the Nintendo NX rumor mill began churning. Nintendo liked to do what Nintendo liked to do, and I couldn’t see them breaking character. As the reveal crept closer, I sensed a change. Small hints that this time Nintendo were going to try something different, and not quirky-different, as is their usual tact, but innovative-different. The Nintendo Switch has piqued my interest in a forceful way, and for the first time in years, I am considering switching my opinion of what Nintendo can offer.

  • Exare

    An A+ article my friend. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Hvd

    ill pass its a portable wii u.it looks cheap you are going to be paying a lot for controller replacements.its a tablet that can play nintendo games so ill pass.

    • heavenshitman1

      I owned a WiiU from day one, that gamepad (whilst not the utter most tactile device) has held up to long term abuse (i have a baby girl) and it functions much like new. My top range smartphone on the other hand has a rough cracked screen from a unhappy drop and one shred of moisture on the touch screen sends it bezerk

      • DarthDiggler

        @heavenshitman1:disqus

        But the Wii U pad is all 1 piece, this controller comes apart. Likely Nintendo saw it as a means to get more revenues for replacement parts.

        • heavenshitman1

          Maybe I’m bias, but my guess would be Nintendo wanted to create a versatile device. Nintendo gains little but bad reputation from breaking parts.

          Also for what will be a fairly costly unit it actually makes it simpler for everone to repair/replace individual controllers rather than a full LCD gaming pad

  • heavenshitman1

    Talking about Wii and WiiU not being serious contenders, Wii still kinda ultimately won, maybe not as spectacularly in the end, alas.

    But Nintendo’s goal with Switch is the same as when they made the Wii. To create a mass market product. They dont want 70 million sales, they want every solitary household to have to have one.

    Switch is just trying to achieve that with a slightly more conventional design, which as far as sales go, I think will pay off resoundingly.

  • DarthDiggler

    @Ben Hutchings

    With all due respect Ben, you haven’t made much of a case for the Switch here. You main point seems to be this unit will have 3rd party support which is great. That doesn’t mean the hardcore crowd will be back by default. Third party support means this unit shouldn’t be a dismal failure like the Wii U. It is not a guarantee of future success, plenty of failed systems have had great 3rd party support initially.

    There is absolutely no way that console has as much power as the PS4 and XB1 and if it does it will be more expensive because of the additional cost of the display. Given Nintendo’s history I would be shocked if they were shooting for a price tag higher than $299 – $399. Sure the portable form factor is compelling but that didn’t motivate hardcore games to buy the PlayStation Vita — which provided a hard core gaming experience on the go with many games that worked on multiple PlayStation platforms. The Switch does simplify that formula but I am not of the opinion that hardcore gamers are looking to be more mobile.

    The fact is if Nintendo had impressive specs in this unit they wouldn’t be so coy about it. I think they know its weaker than PS4 and XB1, so they are putting their best foot forward. I will not knock their design and creativity, definitely a big leg up from the Wii U.

    The preview definitely attempts to position the Nintendo Switch as a hardcore gamer device, but to me it comes off hallow. I don’t think we will ever see a Nintendo gaming device as an E-Sports platform, at least not until Nintendo has decent online that encourages multiplayer. They have a few games, but not many that would be considered competitive. Have they revamped their online? Last I heard it was a joke but it’s been a long time since I kept up with that because they made so little progress when I was paying attention.

    • Ben Hutchings

      I hear what you’re saying, but for me, I haven’t got these kinds of vibes from a Nintendo Console since the N64. Even then, Nintendo couldn’t just go with the crowd; they had that strange tri-pronged controller. I don’t think the Switch will be able to keep up horsepower-wise with the Xbox One or PS4 considering both are beefing up their current line-up, but at least it wont be as underpowered as the Wii was. I just feel with the shift in what target audience they market to, they might start actually attracting more of the “core” crowd.

  • Erik Green

    Sums up my feelings exactly, great to see this in a sea of luke-warm to pessimistic to downright negative previews. What’s funny is all the reviews say they like the system, they just seem to doubt the viability. Maybe some are worried about losing readers if they are positive about the system and it doesn’t work out… once bitten, I guess. This article feels more genuine, thanks for not hedging your bets!