Last Thursday, Nintendo finally revealed their upcoming device, the Nintendo Switch (previously codenamed the NX), and it just might be the best thing to happen to video games yet.
At first look, the trailer seems to be full of gimmicks, and it may be true. But here’s the thing, Nintendo’s strength lies in its gimmicks. For instance, take the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U. And the Wii U wasn’t even the best thing Nintendo has made, partly because of the game library (but that’s just my opinion). Right now, the world is obsessed with VR, 4K/60 FPS and HDR, and frankly, it’s pleasant to see that someone is trying to go in a different direction.
The focus of the Switch seems to be on-the-go gaming while maintaining a model that you can use for couch gaming on the big screen. The design of the device is where the true innovation behind the Switch comes into picture. It features a novel take on conventional controllers that you can detach from the console and use as you please. The controllers can then be attached to a separate dock (following a conventional model) or be held separately in each hand.
The most fascinating thing about the controllers is perhaps their use in multiplayer. Once detached you can hand one controller to a player and they can use it as separate controllers for some casual multiplayer fun.
Another great thing about the upcoming hybrid console is THIRD PARTY SUPPORT. FINALLY, YES. If the trailer is any indication, it looks like Nintendo has some extensive plan to increase their support for the third party games. The trailer showed the Switch running The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and a basketball game which seems to be NBA 2K17, which means that it already has publishers like 2K and Bethesda on board. Additionally, a lot of publishers have already announced their support for the Nintendo Switch, including big names like Square Enix, Bandai Namco, From Software and many, many more. Finally, all the games that the Nintendo devices have been missing out on these years can be expected to make their way to the Switch, in addition to Nintendo’s existing, amazingly strong IP.
The Switch is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra mobile processor, which means that it certainly cannot compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. But the good thing is, it doesn’t event aim to enter the competition. Moreover, NVIDIA graphics mean that the processor powering the device are much more powerful than the ones we’ve seen in previous Nintendo devices, which can possibly mean an exponential increase in performance.
There are a lot of things that still need to be revealed and tested, like backwards compatibility, battery life, heating issues and overall performance and feasibility of the device, but it is safe to assume that Nintendo is determined to carve its own niche in the gaming industry instead of participating in the mainstream buzz about VR and 4K. And this, according to me is what makes Nintendo Switch the best thing to be revealed in gaming this year. A lot of people who play on consoles do not own 4K screens, even fewer can afford good ones. And VR is expensive as hell. First, you need a 500 USD system that can run VR comfortably, then you need to buy an 800 USD headset. If you ask me, VR is the gimmick of the year. The technology is impressive for sure, but in terms of feasibility, right now I’d rather spend 300 USD on a device that I can use both at home and while travelling instead of something that needs (a lot of) time to reach its potential.
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