Another Gimmick Or Downright Genius? Nintendo Switch Reveal - Round Up & Reactions

Everything that happened in the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer, what it could mean, and how I feel about it.

After months of speculation with regards to exactly what their next console would be, Nintendo finally pulled us into the loop today, with the reveal of the "Switch" - their new hybrid (as rumoured) console. You can watch the trailer here:

The most interesting aspects are surely the use of cartridges, the slide-off-sides that somehow morph into controllers (I'm still unclear on that) and Skyrim!? Evidently in an effort to curb criticism that they only have first party games, an image has been released showing some of the supporters of the Switch (see below).

Source: The Verge
Perhaps most interesting (apart from Bethesda, as mentioned above) is the noted support of From Software. Whether this means Dark Souls on the go, or one of the entirely new games they teased earlier this year (source: Kotaku) remains to be seen - although the latter would seem more likely: I don't see Dark Souls jelling with a Nintendo audience particularly well.

It's also been revealed that the Switch features Nvidia technology, as detailed in a blog post from the latter company, which you can read here. It apparently includes "NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards" - even as someone relatively oblivious to the more techy-side of games, that can't be a bad thing.

Overall, my thoughts are somewhat lukewarm. The idea of playing Skyrim on the go excites me no end, and is something I'm very eager to get behind. But I'm sceptical how well that will actually work: how will a game like Skyrim affect the battery life, how will it run and how will it control with the somewhat weird looking Switch controllers.

That said, I don't think the importance of having a handheld gaming device for people who don't want to go mobile can be understated - although I don't see why Nintendo would want to make one, and especially one with more mainstream games. Yes, the DS family (2/3DS included) did hugely well and have been hugely successful, but, as much as I love it, the Vita hasn't been. The cuter platform with a Nintendo spin on it did well, but the one geared to the more mainstream (which appears to be what the target market for the Switch is) didn't.

But perhaps that's where the genius lies; it isn't just a handheld, and it isn't just a platform for third party games: it has what separates Nintendo from Sony and Microsoft - the nostalgia factor with some of the most beloved game franchises of all time and the ability to play those games at home or on the go. Before this announcement, in the months and years speculating what went wrong with Wii U and how Nintendo could recover from their stumble, the same thing was repeatedly re-iterated: that they should focus on games, and let everyone else do the hardware - this primarily coming from the fact that they haven't been able to get proper third party support for years now.

As you can see from the infographic above, Nintendo seem to want to change this: with numerous companies wanting to support this brand new, crazy thing. As such, maybe, just maybe, we've got the perfect storm: a roster of Nintendo's fantastic games and characters (although even they've been faltering recently, with sub-par reviews for games such as Zelda: Triforce Heroes) and support from the big third parties. All that remains is whether the hardware can actually cope with this - something that the Vita also suffered with in games like Bordlerands 2, which barely chugged along on the handheld. 

For me, that really is the biggest question: is this to be used more as a handheld or as a home-console and, whichever one, why. Maybe the answer to the question is inherent "it's both - that's the point" but for me, at least, to truly accept this new device I need to know how the quality transfers from in-the-home to on-the-road. To me, that will determine the success or failure of the whole thing.

The focus placed on local multiplayer also worries me slightly: as someone who craves and enjoys single player experiences for my day-to-day gaming, and plays with others very rarely, I don't see when I would actually use that feature - or, even worse, when I would want to: the detachable controllers look as though they might be a huge pain to use on their own, especially for those of us with larger hands. But maybe all that shows is that my outlook is outdated and that this isn't for me at all.

After the first, three minute trailer, I'm somewhat sceptical. I'm worried that, in an effort to be different, Nintendo has once again created a gimmick for their next big console. Equally, while being able to play games like Skyrim on the go excites me more than anything, I'm worried by how well they'll actually run on the system. There's more to be revealed, and I'm certainly yet to be sold. 


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