If you’re a fan of Nintendo, as a fan you may have had a hard time staying devoted to the Japanese gaming giant the past few years. Although promising in scope, the failed marketing of the Wii U and the subsequent abandonment of Nintendo by various 3rd party gaming developers spelled disaster for the system. Though the Wii U, towards the end of the console’s run had quite a few promising and fun games, it just wasn’t enough to keep the fans attached and new fans from picking the console up at retail. However, Nintendo has made a huge announcement regarding the release and details of their new console, the Switch, set to release March 3, 2017.
If you haven’t heard anything about the Nintendo Switch, keep reading as it’s pretty sweet! At first glance, the Switch looks a lot like the Wii U, with a screen flanked by Nintendo’s standard controls and the ability to play either on screen or on TV. What’s new is that you can take those side controls off, and use the Switch when you are travelling or away from home to play. The switch’s screen becomes the TV when you are taking those long rides to Vegas and the gaming bug comes to bite. Beyond this, Nintendo is moving away from the disc system and returning to a cartridge based system for their home consoles, so get ready to blow out the dust when that cartridge just doesn’t seem to be working (herp derp !). Nintendo, in their video presentation yesterday, also released a list of publishers initially supporting the NS, including the return of Electronic Arts to the fold along with Bethesda, Square Enix, Activison, Telltale Games, and many others (see IGN for complete list http://www.ign.com/wikis/nintendo-switch).
Initially and as suspected, the NS is seeing a slew of new and relaunched games coming to its console in the first days. Splatoon 2, with a new resolution but similar mechanics, is making a return in the Summer, as well as Mario Kart 8 coming loaded with all DLC in April. Surprisingly, Bethesda is bringing the world of Skyrim to the NS to once again journey among dragons in the frigid north. Despite the relaunches, many new games are also being released for the NS in the first year of launch. Nintendo, announced earlier, is bracing to bring the first open world Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, to the NS and Wii U on launch. Nintendo also released minor details on a new, modern take on Mario, Super Mario Odyssey, which showcased Mario in an environment quite different from the Mushroom Kingdom and looking something more along the lines of New York City. Ratcheting it up with the bizarre (like they did with Splatoon), Nintendo released videos of their new fighting game, ARMS. In ARMS, you fight with a variety of different fighters that all have weird, spring loaded limbs that are fit with boxing gloves. It will be interesting to see what else comes to the switch, possibly Injustice 2, Mass Effect Andromeda, or even Assassins Creed depending on how well the console performs. What titles would you like to see brought to life?
The Nintendo Switch Online Service is Nintendo’s version of the PS Network and Xbox Live. Upon launch, the service will be free to play compatible co-op and competitive games along with offering a free game download monthly. Beyond this, the Switch will also be releasing a companion, social networking like app that allows the user to invite friends to play, place appointments to get groups together at certain times to play, and chat with friends all the while playing. Although this service will be free at launch, Nintendo expects to charge for the service in Fall of 2017. It will be interesting to see how this transition will work out when players respond to the change from to freely given to having to pay a fee to use the network.
Overall, this system has the potential Nintendo needs to compete in the current market dominated by the Xbox One and PS4. Nintendo is releasing their console without staunch opposition by the other companies, they are seeing a return of many developers that have left them in the past, and they are restructuring their company and game system to rival those of their major competitors. With the PS4 clearly outperforming the Xbox One, Nintendo could give Sony and Microsoft a run for their money with the Switch. We look forward to purchasing the switch and giving our readers a first hand of how the system runs and how the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays come March so stay tuned — it’s going to be awesome!