Nikki: Hello Geeks and Gamers! The latest and greatest in Nintendo hardware has officially been announced and I’m joined here today by Mike and Joshua to discuss how we’re feeling about it. How’s it going today guys?
Joshua: It’s going very well today, thank you Nikki! I’m very excited to be talking about Nintendo’s latest console.
Mike: I am also doing quite well! Nintendo time!
N: Now that the Nintendo Switch has been announced in detail and we’ve heard more about the type of gameplay we can look forward to and some games we’ll see soon, what are your overall feelings on the console? Personally, I’m extremely excited.
J: Well, I’m definitely excited for it. What I will say is that, despite having decided on getting it at some point after what I saw, I still do have complaints and concerns about the overall direction they’re headed with it, along with how they’re going to go about building their support and advertising for the console. We’ve all talked about this prior to starting this article, but I’m gonna be playing more of the role of devil’s advocate here. I’m probably the least enthused out of the three of us anyways, even though I am psyched out of my mind for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
M: I’m excited for the Nintendo Switch, but I’m not as high on it as I want to be, and that’s less due to the console itself and more to its accessory pricing and lack of alluring launch titles. I’m not getting it at launch, mostly because I’m dead broke at the moment, but also because I want to wait for a couple more games to come out. Still excited as hell for it, though!
N: I think I may be the only one of the three of us getting it at launch. I put my pre-order in yesterday for the Neon version, along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 1-2 Switch, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I can agree that the amount of launch titles is a bit underwhelming, but I think with Breath of the Wild in there, it’s a case of quality over quantity. I’m pretty interested in what 1-2 Switch has to offer as well; it seems like an entirely new category of interactive gaming that I’m excited to see.
M: If there’s a game in the bunch that I’d spend the $300 to get, it’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That game looks simply wonderful.
J: Speaking as somebody who has never played a Legend of Zelda game (not yet anyways), I can say that Breath of the Wild looks to be far and away one of the best titles that will end up coming out this year. The trailer for it had more emotion than most movies I see, and out of all the launch titles they have it is the standout for sure. My problem with their launch lineup, as well as the lineup they’ve shown so far, is that it is rather… sparse. I do understand there are about 80 games in development, but based on what I have seen, this is a pretty weak lineup. Do you guys think that is going to end up being a hindrance despite other great titles that are going to be coming out, like Super Mario Odyssey (which, for the record, looks like the best Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy)?
N: Honestly, I think it may hurt them a little at launch, but not enough to be noticeable. From what I know so far, the pre-orders for this system are flooding in so fast that most retailers have already, or will be closing them soon. I do think we’ll see another surge of purchases in the holiday season simply because of Super Mario Odyssey, which was announced as a holiday title. I’d bet they’re going to have a bundle out by then for $299.99 that comes with Odyssey. Obviously, for me, the sparsity of launch titles is not a deterrent. I want this thing ASAP!
M: I want a Switch, and if I’m going to be completely honest, Breath of the Wild is a game that will take FOREVER to beat, so it’s not like you wouldn’t have hours upon hours of play time. But for me, I need more than one game to justify dropping that much money, and that’s where Odyssey comes in. Besides the obvious Zelda excitement, I think of the games coming to the Switch in 2017, Odyssey is the one that I’m most excited for and was most impressed by. The worlds look diverse and colorful, the animation and graphics are stunning, and the gameplay looks like that faithful Super Mario 64 gameplay I remember from my childhood with some great tweaks. I’m over-the-moon excited for that game.
J: I understand all that, but for me, the Switch is something that I’m hesitant to buy upon release, or even buy at all, if I’m going to be honest, but I’m sure I’m going to get it at some point. For me, I just feel the overall lineup isn’t worth the asking price. Down in the States, it’s going to be $300 per console, yet up here in Canada it costs about $400. Combine that with a game, and what you have is a console that inflates to a cost of about $540 CDN due to taxes. For me, that is nothing short of ridiculous. My PS4 bundle didn’t even cost that much, though it did get close. That was when I was really anxious to jump into the 8th generation of consoles.
N: Holy cow! I can understand your hesitation a little better now! That’s a bit rich for my blood. Since we’re discussing price, I’d like to break into one of the few complaints I have: accessories. I had a couple of Pro Controllers for my Wii U and anticipated doing the same for this system, until I saw the price: $69.99. Now, I understand we’re dealing with some new technology and there is a lot more in this Pro Controller than its older brother, but a $20 increase? That’s a little steep. I still intend to get one, but that will certainly be a birthday present sort of purchase. For a controller to be more than the games you use it to play, unless it’s modded like crazy it’s just hard for me to justify.
As far as the Dock, $90! We had thought of getting a second Dock so we could easily use the system in the living room or bedroom. Well, that was shot down pretty quickly by this price tag!
M: Yeah, the accessories are the problem – mostly just the Pro Controller but that’s an incredibly important one. I think the JoyCon grip looks DUMB, but I’d rather play with that than spend $70 on that Pro Controller. I’d wait for reviews before I bought it. It’s cheaper than the recently released PlayStation licensed Pro Controllers, but still too expensive.
On the topic of controllers, how do you guys feel about the Joy-Con?
J: I’m pretty iffy on the design myself. Nintendo seem to be swearing it’s going to be more comfortable than it looks, but they’re just so small. I mean, no amount of color switching is going to change that. The concept of detachable controls is cool and all, but it looks like something that’ll easily cramp up my hands. I’ll have to try it for myself, but it just doesn’t look appealing to me.
M: It’s odd, because I don’t have enormous hands by any measure, but these Joy-Cons look like they might be too small even for me. They’re cool in concept; not sure about in practice yet. The Joy-Con Grip controller looks goofy to me, but perhaps more comfortable than using them in their detached state.
N: I’m with you on concern about the size, but I think the functionality of the Joy-Con just outshines that doubt for me. I don’t know about you guys, but as they were going over the details about the controllers, all I could think was VR. If Nintendo wanted to come out with a VR system in the future, they wouldn’t need to tweak these controllers in the slightest. I feel like they may be a lot more comfortable than the rather large ones from Vive and the odd-to-use Move controllers for the PSVR.
J: Well, I won’t dismiss the possibility of Nintendo attempting VR out of hand, but I just can’t see them focusing on it. Besides, I would rather them not dip their toes into VR. I don’t believe it would be a worthwhile investment for them. But if they do end up having an idea for it, hey, who am I to say they shouldn’t go ahead with it, even if the Virtual Boy was an unmitigated disaster? Then again, that was years ago.
M: The prospect of them tackling a VR experience would definitely allow them to really utilize that HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers. You could do some awesome things in VR with that.
J: It definitely has the potential to be cool. I’m just not interested in VR, especially right now, when that particular corner of the market is in its infancy.
If we are going to be discussing more of the technical aspects and capabilities of the system now, I think it is time we move on to the meat of the matter: the battery life, and the actual specs the system has. I’m very conflicted on both of these components because, for starters, having a battery life of only 2 hours on your more taxing games is absurd. My 3DS is able to run a standard game for about 6-8 hours, even without the 3D effect on. I would’ve expected a minimum of about 4 or 5 hours. Perhaps I’m not getting the full picture of why it couldn’t be more, but regardless, it is what it is.
And, of course, we’ll get to talking about the specs. Do you think that this is going to be an issue from here on out? Is it gonna hamper the system? I’m posing the question to you guys before I give my own thoughts on the matter.
N: Honestly I’m OK with the battery life in hand-held mode. Nintendo has said you can run a game like Breath of the Wild for about 3hrs; I think that’s pretty decent. Consider that when comparing this hand-held to the 3DS, there is a whole lot more screen to power. They estimate the battery life to be 3-6hrs. The 3DS has a very similar estimation, so considering the size of the Switch tablet I’m satisfied with that number.
As far as the other known specs, we’re gonna have a 1080p console and a 720p hand-held. I’m completely happy with those numbers. I know a lot of people are coming for Nintendo over their specs, but hey, they aren’t trying to be PlayStation. We don’t know the official power on the system yet, but for me, as long as it’s enough to run those awesome Nintendo exclusives, I’m not worried about the numbers.
M: I think people are really blowing the specs out of proportion. Look, we’re getting a HAND HELD that can run Unreal Engine 4 (the full version) at medium settings both on and off the Dock. Is it going to be able to put out the same graphical fidelity that the PS4 or Xbox One can? Nope, but when have we ever gone to Nintendo for that kind of thing? They deliver fun gaming experiences with some of the best exclusives on the planet. They’ll be able to deliver us that with their specs, easy. 720p off the Dock and 1080p on the Dock, that’s pretty awesome if you ask me. If they can make and run games that look as gorgeous as Zelda or Super Mario: Odyssey, then the console is powerful enough.
As for the battery life, I’d like it to be longer because I’ll probably be mostly playing in Handheld mode, but being able to take a game with the graphical power of Zelda or Skyrim with me on a train or a plane for even just three hours of playtime is a marvel. Also, I think it’s important to note that HORI is already developing third-party accessories like car chargers and wall chargers for the tablet. HORI generally makes good stuff too, so that’s a plus.
J: Whether or not those third-party accessories are going to be as good as what Nintendo is going to be offering themselves, we’ll have to wait and see. But hearing from you that they put out good, quality products is reassuring. Mostly, I’m actually alright with the specs. The fact that we are able to play all these titles on the go is super cool, and I wouldn’t give it the “gimmick” label that so many people are ready to slap onto it. If anything, it’s one of the things that is making me interested in playing the console.
What I am concerned about are the multiplatform games that will be on the system. We know we’re getting FIFA, and we know we’re getting Skyrim this fall, but I don’t know how much more there will be aside from that. One of the things I look for, with games becoming more and more expensive, is the flexibility that a specific platform offers. It doesn’t seem like the Switch is gonna have all the multiplatform games that the PS4 and the Xbox One have. I’ve heard a lot of people say that’s not going to be an issue, but one of the things that sunk the Wii U – and it did sink; there’s no denying this after they ceased production on it after only 4 years of release – was the lack of exposure, both in terms of standard marketing and third-party support. The Switch seems to have more of that third-party support, but the full extent of it remains to be seen.
Right now, I’m optimistic about the console, but there are all these little question marks that keep popping up that concern me. Not to mention that things like free NES and SNES games being taken away from your Switch library after a month once you pay for Nintendo’s new service, and the lack of built-in online chat support, genuinely bug me.
M: I’m hoping that their online services being paid for will up the quality. Granted, I didn’t get the Wii U… yet, but on the original Wii they were AWFUL. I’m also puzzled by the concept of giving us free games and then taking them away and locking them behind a paywall. Xbox and PlayStation both give 2 free games a month for paying for their online service, and as long as you keep paying for the service, you keep the games. I get that Nintendo is not Sony or Microsoft, but there’s a point where I think they should level with certain things.
On the topic of third-party support, I completely agree. I’ve heard a lot of complaints with the Wii U that there weren’t enough high-quality third-party games coming to the console. Now, I personally get Nintendo consoles for Nintendo exclusives, but I understand how that would frustrate someone. Some families don’t want to buy two or more consoles, they want something for which they can get both great exclusives AND third-party, high-profile games. They seem to be doing a better job of that on the Switch, but I want to see more of what the third-party side of things has to offer because, as much as I’d buy the Switch for the exclusives, not all families are okay with that.
N: I’m with you on the third-party support. I do think the Switch has more going for it in this area than the previous Nintendo consoles, but I can understand the frustration of having to feel like you’re forced to choose. Do I want to play Nintendo exclusives or have vastly more options with either Microsoft or Sony? Personally, I only buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo exclusives. I’ve never really considered third-party support when making my purchase decision. I’m here for Mario and Zelda and Pokémon and Pikmin. That’s all I need to keep me happy.
So we’ve covered games, specs, accessories, price and third-party potential; what’s left?
J: One last addendum would probably be about the storage space they have, which is only going to be about 32 gigabytes. Now, I understand that the idea behind having such a small install base is that Nintendo wants you to go out and actually buy physical cartridges so it doesn’t eat up so much space, but that is such a pathetic amount of data available – especially when compared to standard PS4s and Xbox Ones, which have about 500 gigs and 1 whole terabyte of storage up on offer. Seems very anti-digital to me, and I can’t understand the logic behind that. Digital downloads are becoming more and more common, and the fact that Nintendo is discouraging this is something I am not happy about. I still prefer physical media myself, but a lot of people like digital better. They like having a library they can instantly access.
N: Joshua, I am so in agreement with you here. I am a huge fan of physical media, but that’s just not the way the world is headed. I’d say most people I know no longer purchase discs. It’s all about those downloads. I’ve even started to head the way of digital on my PS4. It’s confusing and frustrating to me that Nintendo would discourage downloads and push cartridges. I know that things becoming “retro” is in right now, but maybe this wasn’t the best way to bring back the good old days. We still have cartridges with the DS systems, and the Vita has its version of a cartridge that is almost more of a chip. I really didn’t think I’d see another console system that supported this form of media. I’m not necessarily mad at it; it’s just not a decision I think was in their best interest.
This is on top of the fact that the Switch will not be backwards compatible. You will be able to download Wii U games from the Nintendo eShop, but you obviously cannot use your physical discs with this system. It seems to me that they would have at least paved the way with much more memory to encourage people to download and repurchase their favorite Wii U games so they can be played on the Switch.
M: I primarily do digital downloads with gaming at this point. Maybe it’s pure laziness, but that’s just how I do it. My question will be, how large are these games? How many gigs of space will I have to relinquish to have Zelda digitally? I like cartridges, but I’d rather go digital. I’m also interested to see how much storage Nintendo classics will require. I believe both the Wii and Wii U had a virtual console so you could play classic Nintendo games. I hope those aren’t too big, because those would obviously have to be digital media. The storage space that the Switch offers is honestly kind of laughable, especially if the games are as large as the games on PS4 and Xbox One. You couldn’t even fit Battlefield 4 with its DLC on the base Switch.
J: I wanna say this about the Switch: I’ve been saying it throughout the article, but I am happy with the direction Nintendo is headed with their new console. My frustrations with it can be summed up with the phrase, “Two steps forward, one step back.” I do believe there will end up being more pros than cons to the system, but on release, I don’t think it would be worth it even if I did have the money. Again, $540 for a game and console is way too much for me.
Those are my final thoughts, and the game I’m most looking forward to out of the entire announced lineup has to be Xenoblade Chronicles 2. What about you guys?
N: I think we’ve covered all of the major aspects of this new console today, with a lot of good points both pro and con. As of right now, I think Breath of the Wild is my most anticipated title, I’m just happy I won’t have to wait long for it!
M: I think it’s important to note that any criticisms we’ve leveled at Nintendo or the Switch are made out of love. I know I wouldn’t be a gamer without them.
I’m super excited for the Switch, but I won’t be getting one until Holiday 2017. The game I’m most excited for is obviously The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but that is both too easy and already taken so I’m going with Super Mario: Odyssey. I’m just so eager to relive that Super Mario 64 style game design on a new platform and in a new era of gaming!
N: I think that does it for us, folks. I want to thank both of you lovely gentlemen for joining me today in some awesome Nintendo discussion. I definitely can’t wait to switch from my Wii U to this new, innovative system!
J: We hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts on it! We will be seeing you all later. Have a good day, guys!
And I want to thank Nikki and Mike for letting me write this article with them. It was a lot of fun!
M: Glad to have been a part of it, and glad you were both willing to collab on this one! It was a ball of fun; we should do this again sometime!
N: And with that, we invite you to Switch down to the comment section and let us know what you think!
Puns. I can’t resist.
J: Sounds like those puns could use… a Breath of fresh air.
M: (Violent eye roll)