The long wait for the unveiling of the Nintendo NX finally ended when Nintendo put up the release trailer for the Nintendo Switch. Upon the release of the trailer, some gamers were quick to jump to conclusions and labeled the Switch as nothing more than a gimmick. In reality, when you take a look at everything the Switch has and doesn’t have, it becomes clear that the Switch is a gimmick-free console with a truly interesting concept. The only question is how well that concept can be executed.
Nintendo has been notorious for creating attractive gimmicks for their previous consoles. Whether it’s motion controls, multiple screens, or touch controls there is always something that Nintendo uses to push their product. By the time their products are out for awhile, it becomes clear that these ‘features’ really don’t add much to the gaming experience. With the Switch, however, Nintendo seems to be tossing pointless gimmicks out the window. Based on what we saw from the trailer, the gaming experience of the Switch is rather simple. It’s all about playing fun games with a simple controller.
Of course, one could argue that the main concept of the Switch, being able to switch between a home console and mobile console, is a gimmick itself. However, based on what we’ve seen so far we know nothing about how well it works. The concept itself is certainly interesting and having the power of a home console on the go really feels like a step forward in gaming technology. The problem is that there are many factors that will make or break the Switch which are still unknown.
Perhaps the biggest unknown surrounding the switch is its price. After all, if someone doesn’t care for the mobile-aspect of the console they can just simply leave it docked into the TV. The important question is how much extra these consumers will be paying for the technology it took to make the Switch mobile-capable. If the price-point is low enough, the Switch can still appeal to gamers looking for a traditional console-gaming experience. If the price is too high due to the mobile capabilities, it will definitely turn away anyone looking for a pure home-console experience.
The other factor that will affect how well the Switch will do in today’s market is the performance. The trailer for the new console shows it running games that are not very intensive. The most demanding game seen running on the console was Skyrim, but this game is five years old and its age definitely shows. It’s also possible that the gameplay shown in the trailer will not be indicative of the real performance when the retail version of the system is released. If the Switch is able to maintain a performance on par with current-gen console it would be amazing, but with the console essentially being a tablet lower performance than an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 is practically guaranteed. Much like the price, it will be interesting to see how the mobile limitations affect the console’s use for people who are just looking for a traditional home-console gaming experience.
The last big uncertainty with the Switch is it’s battery life. Right now there is no telling how long the Switch will last when it is disconnected from the dock. Provided that the console is fairly powerful, the battery life will be a much bigger issue with the Switch compared to other mobile devices. In order for the Switch to be a viable form of entertainment on the go, it would need a battery that can last at least a couple of hours of game time. Considering there are plenty of laptops that accomplish this feat the technology is definitely possible. The problem Nintendo needs to tackle is finding a balance between battery life and the weight of the battery. If the Switch is too heavy or clunky, it won’t be a great platform to carry around and play on the go.
While Nintendo has yet to to show how well the Switch actually works, they definitely have an interesting concept. Even if taking the Switch outside of the house isn’t an attractive feature, being able to take your game anywhere around the house is certainly convenient. Nintendo has already said we don’t know everything about the Switch, so as more information is released about the new console it’s practicality will become more clear. As time goes on, the true limitations of mobile gaming will be highlighted and we will actually be able to judge whether the Switch is a worthwhile console to buy.