Nintendo has shown us its future, and now it’s time for us to try to make sense of it.
The house of Mario has finally given us a good look at its next system, the Nintendo Switch. The console formerly known as NX is a hybrid between home system and portable, and it has interchangeable sides for controller customization.
The initial reveal isn’t overflowing with details, but it certainly gives us enough to look at for a first impression. Below, you can find the thoughts of our staff on Nintendo’s newest venture.
Managing editor Jason Wilson
Nintendo’s change in marketing focus is what intrigues me the most about the Switch. The first thing that grabbed me about the announcement was how we didn’t see one child in the video — it was all about young adults, a market Nintendo has ignored for decades. This shows that the Japanese company knows it needs to reach out beyond the family-friendly market. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim shows a more violent and graphic game than we’re used to on Nintendo consoles, but it’s also cool to see an NBA game on it as well — EA and 2K ignored the Wii U, and the NBA 2K series is huge these days.
My concern lies with aspects we did not see:
- Online features: Will it be the same, difficult-to-use Nintendo infrastructure — or will it be on-par with PSN and Xbox Live for friends, chat, and multiplayer?
- Connection: With people taking the game to rooftop parties in the video, does this mean Switch will run on Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE connections for online?
- Battery: How long will this thing hold onto its juice?
This is an impressive reveal for a hardware make in desperate need of a hit. Now, will Nintendo turn this into a grand slam or just a dribbler up the middle?
Lead reporter Dean Takahashi
The Nintendo Switch is an enticing new entry in the console market, and it seems at first glance as a new version of the failed vision of the Wii U, which launched in 2012. The Wii U has tablet controller than you couldn’t take with you. But the Switch is a standalone device. You can play it on the run or plug it into a home console via a docking station. That gives it far more versatility than an ordinary tablet or Wii U or 3DS.
And it uses a custom Nvidia Tegra chip, which means it is an ARM-based device likely running a variant of the Android operating system. This probably doesn’t mean you’ll play the widest array of Android content on the device, but it does mean that Nintendo developers will switch from one familiar chip architecture, the Intel-based x86, to another well-known platform in Android. So it addresses the developer ease-of-use issues.
Nintendo is also targeting the device at an older crowd, and that’s a good thing, because the youngest kids are learning to play games on smartphones and tablets these days. The questions remain about how long your battery will last, how fast the connectivity will be, and how beefy its games will be.
Staff writer Jeff Grubb
I think it’s interesting that the gimmick Nintendo is going with this time around is “here’s a way to play Nintendo games in every possible situation.” Sure, the Switch is a home system and a handheld, and that’s exactly what I want. But I didn’t think about the possibility of this system combining those two ideas into a portable console station. In the trailer, we saw players setting up the display as a remote television and then using the Joy-Con pads (Nintendo’s official name for what Mike calls “nubs”) for multiplayer games during a rooftop party. Now, I’m not cool enough for hip people to invite to a rooftop party, but I can think of plenty of situations where I’d want to plop down on the floor to play a Nintendo game with a friend or relative.
I’m also impressed that Nintendo came strong with the third-party support. Of course, don’t get your hopes up — even the Wii U had Mass Effect and Batman ports at its launch — but I think that this system probably makes a lot of sense to companies like Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Bethesda. Where the Wii U never really established itself as a unique experience separate from the other consoles, Switch has a clear advantage in that it enables people to take a full console game with them on the go.
I still have a lot of questions (Does it have a touchscreen? Are those controllers comfortable? Can I get an LTE plan for it through my mobile carrier?), but Nintendo has already answered the most important question: Will I want it?
Community manager Mike Minotti
It’s funny. The Switch is exactly what rumors said it would be, but it looks so freaking cool when you actually get to see a portable/console hybrid in action. I really do prefer to do so much of my gaming these days at night while in bed (I know it’s not good for my sleep schedule, stop judging me). I love that I can easily move from the living room to the bedroom like this.
And those interchangeable controller … nubs? Whatever we’re calling them. I’m already addicted to that satisfying clicking noise. This could open up a range of customization for games that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can’t compete with.
Also, that short tease of a new Mario game! Ahhh! Please, Nintendo, don’t make me wait too long for a better reveal of that one. 3D Mario games are some of the most consistently high-quality experiences in the entertainment world, and the new one looks gorgeous from the little we saw in the video.
On a final note: I’m glad Nintendo finally put the second stick under the controller’s face buttons, where it belongs.
VentureBeat executive editor Harrison Weber
I want it. The Switch looks like a casual, low-stress system, and that’s a good sell for me because (with the exception of VR), my gaming needs live in the past.
I have a GameBoy emulator on my iPhone. A Sega Genesis and the Nintendo 64 are the only consoles I have hooked up to my TV. If Nintendo really is targeting millennials with the Switch, as Jason suggests, it’s done a pretty good job. I just hope the price is right, because I already spend all my disposable income at restaurants.
So, while we have questions (especially regarding battery life), most of are pretty excited for the Switch. We’ll just have to wait until Nintendo releases more information until we can evaluate our lingering concerns.