Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

by Juste JonnyPTS Dev Blogger - 01/27/2017Published Date

Nintendo Switch Promo

Disclaimer: I will only be discussing the publicly revealed information about the Nintendo Switch. As of this writing, it appears that most of the important details about the Nintendo Switch (NS) has been made public; I'll discuss the online functionality further down. My initial impression of the NS, when it was first revealed back in October 2016, was full-on positive. It was possibly the most excited that I have ever been for a gaming console release. The prospect of gaming on a big-screen TV, and then instantly switching to a portable handheld mode is a feature that I hope all future gaming consoles adopt. In recent years PC gaming has proven that it can do traditional console gaming better, cheaper, and with greater user flexibility and options. With the advent of the NS, there will be an opportunity for game console makers to better separate themselves from the growing and increasingly superior PC gaming market.

Nintendo Switch: Then and Now

It's a secret to everybody that the NS's October reveal was an exceptionally well put together presentation that got gamers hyped. However, the second full-reveal of the NS failed to live up to the hyped gamer expectations. Although the second presentation didn't double-back on the promises of the initial NS reveal, it did diminish excitement for the device. This was due to the numerous negatively perceived details announced by Nintendo. Details like higher priced accessories, the eventual charging of online multiplayer functionality, and a small quantity of March 3rd launch games are among the biggest complaints that the NS currently faces. However, there is also a lack of important details, which Nintendo has failed to provide, that continues to keep gamers upset. We know that we have to eventually pay for online functionality, but what will it cost? Will the overall online gaming experience be more stable and responsive than what it was on the Wii U? What online capabilities does the smart device App have, that the NS does not or cannot do?

A Bruised Yet Promising Future

Nintendo Switch Local Multiplayer Despite Nintendo having a "full reveal", there are enough unknowns about the NS to have gamers be reasonably skeptical of purchasing the device; when it releases this March. I hope that Nintendo is able to recover the momentum that the NS had prior to its January 12th presentation. The prospect of owning a console that I can easily bring with me to a LAN gaming party is an awesome one. The ability for a portable gaming console to link up with seven others for local multiplayer is exactly what I want for gaming, so long as there are fun quality games which take advantage of this. I have my NS pre-ordered, alongside the highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For me, the new Zelda, Xenoblade, and Mario games are enough to justify purchasing the NS. Hopefully, other 3rd-party developers will see the fantastic opportunity and potential that is hiding inside this impressive hybrid package.

A Game Developer's Perspective

The NS presents a very intriguing set of functionalities that open up new game design opportunities. Even something as simple as the inclusion of a 2nd, albeit simplified, controller allows games to be developed with local multiplayer without the worry of targeting a smaller subset of the platform's player-base. The wireless system linking functionality further expands local multiplayer sessions in a Ad Hoc-like manner. In a hypothetical Dark Souls-like game for the NS, you can potentially have a player's world be invaded by another player because of local physical proximity to one another, when in portable mode; instead of a random online player-matching algorithm. In this hypothetical scenario, the player being invaded can choose to engage the invader or attempt to physically separate their connection and force the other player to be un-summoned from their world. Now I know that what I have described might seem off-putting, but this is just a hypothetical example for how this Ad-Hoc local multiplayer functionality can lead to new forms of engaging gameplay. The other unique features of the NS like HD rumble, motion, and IR sensor will create new forms of gameplay, in addition to heightening our immersion into more traditionally controlled games.

Final Thoughts

I am very excited for the NS and the known, and especially unknown, games that'll be released for it. I believe this device will move traditional gaming in a positive direction. As a game developer I will be working to ensure that our game(s) can take advantage of the unique aspects of the NS to ensure the funnest gaming experience possible. Lastly, I hope that the Metroid and F-Zero franchises make a glorious return on the NS (make it happen Nintendo).

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