The NX Is The Switch
The Nintendo NX was announced over a year and a half ago, in March 2015. Nintendo, ever-cryptic about the device, kept silent about it for 17 months, only saying the device was “a new concept different from Wii and Wii U.” Nintendo’s Wii U not doing so well, and intense interest in what Nintendo would do next, sparked endless rumor and speculation by journalists and fans alike. During the course of time, naturally, multiple “parties” formed, with one side arguing the NX would be a hybrid device, and another side claiming the NX would be a dedicated home console.
Strong evidence and logic showed that the NX would be a home console and a portable, separately. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was even quoted as saying he “wasn’t sure if the form factor would be integrated or not,” and Shigeru Miyamoto was quoted as being very interested in developing and playing the same games on multiple devices, making its concept similar to Android or iOS. Nintendo even went as far as to mention a future console and a future portable, as mentioned in our previous articles.
This led many, such as YouTubers like SuperMetalDave64, to lead the charge for one side, with convincing arguments stating that the NX would be more of a traditional console and handheld combo as we’ve always seen from Nintendo, backed up by industry knowledge and speculation on Nintendo’s own words in the past.
Then there was the other camp, the one led by Emily Rogers, a prominent Nintendo leaker (being correct on many things, most recently announcing Paper Mario: Color Splash before Nintendo themselves), as well as respected gaming outlet Eurogamer, saying Nintendo was in fact creating a hybrid sort of device, instead. Many corroborated the story giving her more credit, especially the day before the reveal trailer.
There was also Gamer Splash itself, which published a series of intriguing interviews from a longtime independent Nintendo developer developing for the NX, that revealed a lot about the system, and told us what to expect before its inevitable reveal. Our source’s info matched up with Eurogamer’s story, although he said their articles “left important details out”. Well, it turns out that more or less, the latter team has won out, and, our source was correct.
The Nintendo Switch, revealed in a short trailer this past Thursday at 7AM PT, was a surprise to nearly all, in one way or another. That morning, Nintendo showed us a 3.5 minute clip of what the future of Nintendo gaming will look like. And in the words of Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot, “it is something great, something really new for Nintendo”. And it really is.
The Nintendo Switch takes the idea of a home gaming console, but liberates it, allowing you to take your home games on the go, and play them in fun ways outside of the home, anywhere you want. Not only that, but it also appears that people can link up multiple Switch devices and play together, as one can on Nintendo 3DS systems.
Overall, it’s a very novel concept, and judging by the video’s viewcount on YouTube, it is generating a lot of waves, whether people’s opinions are positive or negative.
The concept for the Switch is not something entirely new for gaming, but is definitely new for Nintendo. And that is where the benefit is.
Although devices such as the Morphus X300 and Razer Edge Pro tablet have been made in the past with a similar concept, they had clear limitations to what you could do on them. Game libraries weren’t huge, and the systems weren’t as portable as they could be. Additionally, the quality of the games would suffer a bit, especially when not designed to take advantage of systems like it. The Morphus X300 is only capable of playing Android games, after all, and the Shield wasn’t as comfortable as other systems and did not have great battery life.
I personally believe the handheld/console hybrid is a great concept, but I can see why it hasn’t sold well before in the market place. It hasn’t been implemented perfectly yet, and without enough big games to support the system, the system could never be expected to take off with the general public anyways. A nice concept for tech enthusiasts, but not something your mom would buy. And it’s not the concept that isn’t attractive to consumers, but rather the lack of killer apps for it, major support from developers in the form of content and games, and its concept being used intuitively enough. Many will remember tablets and even smartphones being around for years before they were popular. The devices weren’t bad, and offered cool capabilities, but suffered from a lack of major software support, being intuitive for all instances, and battery life. Not to mention the marketing was not there, either. It took Apple introducing the iPhone and iPad, devices that while intelligently combining multiple devices (phones, computers, MP3 players), entirely killed some of these same markets (the MP3 player or iPod). While Apple was still making great revenue on these products, it decided to take a risk and combine them to form a new future for technology and for consumers – and it paid off in the billions.
With the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo is becoming like Apple. Is it a risky move to go in a new direction – to not release a home console and portable, but instead combine the two? Of course. But like Apple with its iPhone, by sacrificing the concept of being another powerful standalone tethered gaming machine like and Xbox or PlayStation (PC’s by today’s standards), Nintendo may redefine the concept of not only what it means to be a home console, but what it means to be a console in general.
In regards to the hybrid concept seen in previous devices, Nintendo seems to have taken the very concept but added its own unique flair to it, refining the design and making it more appealing to consumers. But more importantly, in the short trailer, it has clearly demonstrated how it works, and proven that the concept can be fun and unique, especially with the fun and charm of Nintendo games and hardcore games from third parties. Where other systems with similar concepts have not sold well in the marketplace, Nintendo taking the concept and improving it, making it appear fun and useful, and having a massive game library on it, with your favorite Nintendo games on it and all the major publishers supporting it, the Switch will be successful. Only one company could do the concept right, and that company is Nintendo.
Why The Switch Will Be Great
1. It’s a Console And a Handheld!
One of the best features of the Wii U was that the GamePad could be used to play full console games off-screen. But it could only be used when near the system itself. The 3DS would have to suffice for your on-the-go gaming needs. Unlike the Wii U, the Switch is a home console that can play full console games, but is for the first time, fully portable, letting you take the system anywhere you go. Some see it as a reversal of the Wii U, but I see it as a great evolution of its GamePad concept, that is finally fully realized.
Tack onto that 3DS-like features, such as local multiplayer with personal devices and the ability to play it anywhere, and you’ve got a great system! Finally, for the first time, one can have just one system to play all of their games on, and not need to have multiple consoles for multiple games.
2. Premiere Software Support
If you read our developer interview series, you would know that Nintendo had previously stated that they wanted to create a platform that supports one way of programming: no matter how many devices, it would have one platform/OS with software that runs across all devices, like Android or iOS. While the Switch didn’t turn out to be exactly this (it’s only one device), it did in fact keep that Nintendo’s development teams would only need to create one piece of software now.
With the Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo wasn’t able to supply a steady stream of new software to both devices, due to having to create completely separate games for each system, unable to work on each other. This resulted in the 3DS getting more support while the Wii U lacked.
With one system, the Switch will now get double the games, as Nintendo will only need to make one version of the game, and it will work on the Switch whether it be played as a handheld or a console.
Additionally, the Switch will be receiving major third-party support. Besides having Skyrim and NBA 2K on it, third-parties from EA to Ubisoft to Square to Bethesda will be supporting the system. Nintendo consoles haven’t had this level of major third-party support with core games since the GameCube. If the Switch is successful, it will not only be a great Nintendo console, but a great, and even scary, competitor to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
3. One Console for All Your Games
I can imagine the Switch possibly even replacing the 3DS, as long as it gets Nintendo’s traditional handheld-first games (like Pokemon), as well. And based on our source’s information, as well as other strong rumors, it will get these, as well as Nintendo’s own smartphone games.
Nintendo has stated that the Switch is the successor to the Wii U, not the 3DS, as it is marketing the system as a home console first. However, having so many portability aspects, one may have to wonder the necessity of having another portable system at all! Regardless, Nintendo did state that a 3DS successor would come “much later”.
I imagine that down the line we could see a Switch portable, running the same games, or only traditional handheld and mobile games, a smaller form factor able to fit in your pocket, and a cheaper price tag. This could be where the “multiple devices on one OS” concept could come to fruition.
For now, though, it appears the Switch may be able to become many people’s one device to game on, which could have massive effects for the gaming industry as a whole.
Similar to Microsoft’s Surface slogan, “the tablet that can replace your laptop,” the Switch could be the tablet to replace your console. And your handheld, too.
The Tablet That Can Replace Your Console
While there’s a lot we still don’t know about the Switch, concerns and excitement aside, one thing is for certain – The Nintendo Switch will switch up how we play. Gone will be the days where we can only play home console games at home, and also gone will be the need to have separate devices for separate games. Instead of competing on power, Nintendo is competing on a concept, and analyzing the concept of a traditional home console versus the Switch, the Switch wins out, offering more ways and places to play than ever before, in line with the modern person’s fast-moving lifestyle.
If the Nintendo Switch is successful, it may revolutionize the way the interactive entertainment industry works. And it should make its competitors very nervous.
Watch the reveal trailer for Nintendo Switch below:
What do you think of the Switch? Leave us a comment below.
-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash