The Nintendo Switch presentation has come and gone and it could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse, however this probably didn’t stop many of you from pre-ordering your console the next morning, or perhaps a few of you are left waiting for it to re-appear for pre-orders. The hype has come and gone, and the countdown to March 3rd begins. For Nintendo, this was their first real presentation since 2012, the last time they did a formal E3 press conference. And this is what made me most excited for what’s to come.
The Switch could be the beginning of a big swi-… change in how Nintendo operates and bring us games. The Wii was an anomaly, until it’s release every Nintendo console had sold fewer than its predecessor. That’s mainly because the Wii was a console for everyone, it was the first console of many families around the globe striking an interest in gaming simply because of its unique motion controls. This thought of playing together and simple fun then transferred over to the Wii U, by this time the world had outgrown this phase. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that many Wii U games lacked depth than many gamers like to see. Was Super Mario 3D World an enjoyable title? Yes. Did it have anything more to offer than being played with a couple friends? Not really. In fact if I didn’t play it with roommate I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much, but that’s because it was the games focus, to be played together.
But with what we saw in the conference the Switch is where Nintendo put’s the focus back on you, the single player.
Sure, they showed off 1-2 Switch, and Arms was mostly presented as a multiplayer experience along with online competitive titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon. But they also introduced games like Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade 2, Skyrim and of course Breath of the Wild. Notice a theme here? Large open worlds for you to explore, being able to take them on the go is just an added bonus.
The other thing that really had me going was all the people that I didn’t know who were informing me about this new console. Back in December, Shigeru Miyamoto did mention that a younger team was heading the Switch’s development as he was taking more of a backseat role saying…
“We have these younger people in the company who are taking the lead on Switch development and it’s really been them that have put this forward and designed this system. They’re the ones that have really shepherded it through the process. Because of that, what it’s allowed me to do is focus on other projects like Super Mario Run or the Universal theme park. I’m going to keep looking for these kinds of opportunities where I can do something new and fun.”
Tatsumi Kimishima, Miyamoto, Aonuma, and Reggie all made brief appearances, but for the main part it was this new team that took the reins of the conference to show off their work. Shinya Takahashi started out by walking on stage, introducing himself and letting us know that he leads all Nintendo software development. From there on Yoshiaki Koizumi, who is known for working on many of Nintendo’s biggest games had the largest presence at the conference. They were up there for a reason to show that they are a new team, with new ideas.
I believe that the announcements that showed this most were the ones that were overlooked. The fact that the Switch charges using a micro-USB makes the lower-end of the battery life more forgivable since I don’t have to be worrying about bringing my specific Nintendo brand Nintendo Switch charging cable with me wherever I go. The same goes for the use of Micro-SD cards, Nintendo could have simply designed their own to make a quick extra profit, but they didn’t. Nintendo also finally gave us a glass touch screen that has been on almost every media device since the first iPhone instead of the crummy resistant ones we’ve received in the past. Sure, there was the downside of Nintendo now charging for online services, but they are finally giving us the online service we’ve wanted for so long. Online lobbies, voice chat, a monthly game trail, they are all finally on the Switch.
That all being said nothing is ever completely perfect. I wasn’t too thrilled when the conference started by showing games that seemed gimmicky. 1-2 Switch may be a good way to show off the use of a single joy-con and a party game on the go, but that’s all it is, a game to enjoy with for friends and nothing else. The worst part is that it retails currently for $50 USD, I’d feel much better about it if it was packed in with the console. This brings me to the console’s starting price, $300 was a surprise that turned me a bit off from the console because that’s all it will get you, meanwhile I can take $300 and go out and purchase a PS4 or Xbox One with a game. The thing that got me most excited to go out and buy one was still Breath of the Wild, a game we’ve know about since 2013, sure Mario Odyssey, Fast RMX, Xenoblade 2 and other titles have me excited but nothing had me on the edge of my seat like that final trailer.
I’m still very excited to see where Nintendo continues to go and where the Switch will take us. They seem to be getting back on track and I have high hopes for the Switch, something I never really felt for the Wii U. Sure, it’s launch is looking weak, but the launch window does have some great titles, and I’m sure we’ll hear more before its release in just about a month.
It is a few weeks past but let us know what you think about the Switch presentation in the comments below. What announcements surprised you, whether they were positive or negative? Is Nintendo truly headed in a new direction?