nintendo switch

Nintendo Switch: Jack of All Trades or Master of None?

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Yesterday the internet melted because Nintendo launched its Nintendo Switch trailer, offering a first glimpse of its next generation console.  The Switch is hoping to succeed where the Wii U failed and judging by the response on Twitter, many people were wooed by the tablet-come-console.

Once again Nintendo shrugged off the preoccupations of the competition. No 4k gaming here and no all things to all people entertainment box pretensions. Probably the biggest reveal  of yesterday’s trailer was the Bethesda partnership. With a Skyrim remaster playing on the system, Nintendo promises a lot more power than Wii U ever could. And bizarrely, a return to game cartridges.

When it comes to third-party big-hitter titles, the Wii U never delivered because it just didn’t have the power. Anyone wanting AAA games had to turn to Xbox One and PS4. With Switch, Nintendo clearly has support from a slew of third-party publishers, including EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix and Telltale Games.  It’s not clear what this means exactly. Are we expecting day one releases of AAAs or remasters of older games, such as Skyrim? Either way, Nintendo are courting key partnerships, which could prove exciting for Switch owners. Telltale and Skyrim on  the go? Yes please.

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Skyrim – you can play it on a plane

The Switch itself is a chunky looking tablet with a docking station for playing on your TV, at home. But when you want portable gaming you unclip the whole thing and slide off the ‘Joy-Con’ controllers, which sit either side of the screen. The transition is instant, apparently, so it’s a play and go type situation, which works with Nintendo’s heritage as the king of handheld gaming. Build quality On Nintendo Switch will have to be high, though, to take all the clicking and sliding without falling apart.

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People are already worried about the size of the Joy-Con controllers, which can be clicked together to form a more traditional style controller. Separately, they look about the size of a chocolate bar, making them small enough to lose down the back of the sofa and cause cramp for gamers with large hands. There is a larger Pro Controller for playing at home though.

The whole thing has a ‘my first console’ style to it, with rounded corners and a chunky design. This fits with the Nintendo brand and might be designed to woo the wallets of the retro-fixated demographic it’s trying to appeal to. The trailer shows hip young things having roof parties, as well as multiplayer multi-system gaming matches down the local skate park. It’s clear that this one’s for the millennials.

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Rooftop party gaming you never thought you needed
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Multiplayer gaming in a car park?

With no price announced just yet, most people are expecting it to fall around the $365 (£300) mark. Whatever the price, the launch line-up will be crucial. Of course Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the big draw, with its stunning graphics and rich, openworld gameplay. The likes of Skyrim won’t hurt either and a new Mario game is always a winner. However, it would be nice to see some indie titles on such a nifty device.

The big question is how powerful is Nintendo Switch? Nvidia’s Tegra Processor is powering the Switch, which puts it on par with some smartphones and tablets. I’m also wondering how the switch from a small screen to a larger HD TV will fare.  And battery life could be the issue that makes or breaks the system.

Although Nintendo has never chased the pixel-pushing power of Sony and Microsoft, with the impressive line-up of third-party partners, Switch is going to need some processing gusto. Will Nintendo finally benefit from cross-platform releases? If it doesn’t have the power, this could prove difficult.

Nintendo Switch is due to launch in March 2016 and we’re promised more information before that happens. I’m interested, but not totally sold, at the moment. However, there are plenty of people who seem ready to pre-order, so the Wii U misstep is forgiven. Rockstar must be slightly miffed because Nintendo stole a bit of their Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer thunder. The main thing is, it’s a good week to be a gamer.

 

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