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RF Generation Message Board | Gaming | Video Game Generation | The Switch after one year - Evaluations, Predictions? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Switch after one year - Evaluations, Predictions?  (Read 233 times)
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« on: March 04, 2018, 12:59:29 AM »

The Switch is one year old, and I'm still undecided what to think about this hybrid of a console. It is an underpowered console for sure, and it is certainly an overpowered handheld; but is this the best of two worlds for Nintendo or the worst of two worlds?

Nintendo was well aware before releasing the Wii that it couldn't compete with the two financial powerhouses Sony and Microsoft on even console terms because they are taking hits with every console sold which Nintendo never can. The two giants are battling over the entertainment center in the living room at the latest with the releases of the PS3 and Xbox360. Nintendo was forced to stay away from this battleground and found a unique way selling underpowered consoles since the Wii.

Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey are fantastic games but we know since the N64 times that world-class first party games cannot make or break a console. It needs third-party support.

Is the big appeal as a handheld system for gamers and developers alike enough to play indie games, traditional handheld games and a couple of years old triple A-titles on the go? Or will the unavoidable lack of new triple A-titles by third-party publishers due to hardware limitations hurt the sytem in the years to come?

The Switch outsold the WiiU within one year after its release. I wonder if this is the beginning of a success story or another very moderate or just solid era for Nintendo.
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 10:52:45 AM »

When I say this I do so as a secondary player of a Nintendo Switch (i.e., my son has one), but I think Nintendo is doing pretty good.  I have a lot of critiques about Nintendo in general, but none of them are about the Switch as a hardware console.  It is very pretty, very portable, and quite capable, especially since they don't have to cater to the 4k crowd, which should be a huge attraction to devs who won't or can't make games on that scale.

While the Switch is underpowered in comparison with the modern consoles, I don't think this is a valid comparison.  This is like comparing consoles with gaming PCs in my book, which never works properly, as they are very different beasts.  I find it helps to think of the Switch as an overpowered handheld portable gaming console.  In that respect Nintendo has managed to leap over the problem that the 3DS/2DS has (that being highly underpowered), which as a New 2DS owner I have to say is commendable. 

I think the biggest weakness of the Switch is the software, but really that is (nearly) always the largest complaint of Nintendo consoles in the beginning of their lives, so nothing to worry about.  That will change as the console matures, I think.  The few games I have played are quite engaging, though not really mind blowing (unless you are a fanboy).

That being said, I find the console more than a little frustrating, but that is because I am very much a nostalgic Nintendo gamer at heart.  I yearn for them to return to the height of their popularity during the "gimmick minimalist" days of the NES and early SNES era, but that will likely never happen.  Their perplexing treatment of their back catalog (arguably their greatest asset) has kept me from doing more than glancing at my the Switch screen while my son plays games, and pretty much means I ignore the Switch in favor of Nintendo's "Classic Edition" plug n plays, the 3DS/2DS, and the Wii U.

"In France, I'm an auteur; in Germany, a filmmaker; in Britain; a genre film director; and, in the USA, a bum."

- John Carpenter
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 11:29:30 AM »

The thing I noticed most about this console is the size of the library compared to the Wii U. Most notably with 3rd party support, but also in the amount of 1st party remake/remastered titles. I don't know what kind of workforce it takes to reproduce previously released games, but they seem to be cranking out games of all types very rapidly. I could almost wager that they pulled back from production on a lot of titles that would have been on the Wii U just to release them on the Switch for whatever reason they may have needed/wanted to do so.

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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 09:37:29 AM »

Full disclosure: I'm a Switch fanboy, and I'm not ashamed of it.  So understand that said perspective will inform what I'm saying.  Trying to look at it from a purely objective business standpoint, however, I think Nintendo's on the right track.  They're trying to do something that sets them apart from the competition.  That's been their  approach since the N64 days, really.  The Game Cube took a half-step back toward the mainstream, with a lot of cross-platform stuff appearing, a slightly more traditional controller, and the final move to a disc-based format, but their method of differentiation (the mini-DVD discs) hurt them, and ultimately informed their path for the Wii.  Nintendo has never been a technology company.  They create and sell tech, but at the end of the day, they're an ideas company.  They sold the idea of Donkey Kong, as ludicrous as it was, and because they had enough talent to back up that idea with good design, mechanics, and style, it succeeded.  They've been selling ideas for a long time, since well before they got into the video game business.  Being the underdog with good ideas, but not all the capital in the world, gives them the freedom to explore those creative ideas.

In the case of the Wii, it paid off, even if the core gaming audience felt it was too foreign for their liking.  They struck out with the Wii U, largely because of bad marketing, consumer confusion, and a lack of good software support, outside of first party titles (with a few exceptions).  I believe the 3rd time is the charm, however, with the Switch.  Nintendo's bread and butter has long been mobile gaming, as evidenced by the Game Boy line's runaway success, as well as that of the DS, and later 3DS line.  It only made sense to take the strengths of that model and marry them to the home console idea to make the Switch.  As much as some folks see it as a radical idea, it really was the next logical step for Nintendo.  The fact that it's sold 15 million already in its first year is no small feat.  The Wii U didn't sell that many consoles over the course of its 4-5 year lifespan, and the GameCube sold just under 22 million in roughly 6 years.  The Switch will likely outsell the GameCube well before its second year on the market is over.  As a matter of fact, I'd be surprised if it hasn't bested the GC prior to the 2018 holiday season.  The Wii was a runaway success, with over 101 million sold from 2006 to 2017 - its long lifespan is due, in part, to the longevity of that generation (10 years, on average, for the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well), but also due to the fact that it was marketed as such a family-oriented system, and a strong batch of good family games that served as evergreen titles (Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Party et al) kept the system selling and profitable well beyond its expected shelf life.

The Switch, in its current/original configuration, is on pace with the Wii, if not outpacing it, since Nintendo has confirmed that the Switch is now the fastest selling games console in North American history.  It consistently sells 40K+ units in Japan each month, even during months when other systems get big titles (Horizon Zero Dawn and Monster Hunter World come to mind), and several first party titles remain high up on the sales charts, even months after release.  Breath of the Wild continues to chart a year after it's release, even in Japan, where the Legend of Zelda series is historically met with far less enthusiasm than it is here in the West.  Nintendo hit hard in the first year with BotW, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, ARMS, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, will continue to bolster the line-up this year with 2nd party titles and a new Fire Emblem game, and 2 titles loom large on the horizon (Metroid Prime 4 and a new mainline Pokemon game) that cater to both the hardcore audience, and the larger casual audience, respectively.  There are additional IPs Nintendo can pull from over the course of the system's life, such as Smash Bros, that will continue to extend the life of the system, and when Mario Kart 9 (or whatever they end up calling it) is released, it will surely sell like gangbusters.

Sorry for the novella, but I honestly think the Switch is headed for the top, and I'm happy to see Nintendo at the top of their game again.

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