SG Roundtable: Nintendo Switch Reveal

nintendo_switch

Earlier today, Nintendo released a trailer for their long-awaited console follow-up, codenamed “NX” for months. Now called the “Nintendo Switch,” it’s main feature is a slick blend of the two main console types: home and portable. You can play games – among them a new 3D Mario platformer, an apparent port of Mario Kart 8 with at least one new character, and Skyrim – either as a home console or entirely on the go due to a docking system, with the first use of cartridges in a major home console device since maybe the Nintendo 64. Perhaps the most exciting thing, though, is a wide and deep number of third parties supporting the device. Nintendo has struggled for a long time to have consistent, quality support, and companies with little to no history with them like Dark Souls’ From Software and the Elder Scrolls’ Bethesda is exciting, and enticing.

There’ll be a lot more speculation in the coming days, long before the device’s March release, but we gathered the Source Gaming team together to include some of their preliminary thoughts!

More information:

Home page for the Nintendo Switch

Press Release from Nintendo

 

Soma

I’m genuinely glad that Nintendo got real third party support for this machine, as evidence by Skyrim and NBA 2K making an appearance, along with the press image of all their partners (although I wouldn’t really trust that all too much). It looks modern, not stupid, and seems to be avoiding most of the pitfalls of the Wii U (to repeat something I’m sure we’ll hear all week: this is what the Wii U should have been). That’s a good thing. It looks to be pretty powerful, especially for a handheld device, so I do worry about its battery life…although really, there are many ways to circumvent that, it’s still an inconvenience.

I will say that the mini Wii-remote-esque controllers look incredibly unfun to play on, and that Nintendo overestimates the general frequency of how often people will be running around with multiple clip-on controllers to bust out a small screen and play with four people. In general, I think a lot of the controllers didn’t look that comfortable…but visual assessment of ergonomics isn’t something that’s usually very accurate. Also, if there really is only 32GB of system memory…sigh. As a person who likes digital games (and greatly fears losing those small cartridges), I would like to have had a built in 500GB hard drive, which seems pretty standard.

Personally, I can’t say I’m really excited– I don’t play games on the go, ever, and I don’t really see the Switch as an absolutely necessary addition to my current console library. For Nintendo’s sake, though, I hope it does well, and I think it will. It looks like we’ll be seeing the underappreciated Wii U library, maybe even in “enhanced” form, at launch, which should provide for a very strong launch window. And this video was just a tease– a perfectly executed one– and I think Nintendo will come out with a very strong Nintendo Direct in the near future (give me them deets, Kimishima).

Wolfman_J

Welp, I’m excited. This seems like far more immediate a “gimmick” than the bulky Wii U GamePad (something I like, but which clearly struggled to justify itself). I’m just a little concerned that most of what we’ve seen appear to be ports so far, but I also suspect we’ll be seeing more new stuff down the line. The Wii U had the same issue, but it also never had anything as striking as taking a high-definition game and playing it seemingly without restrictions on a slim pad.

switch_2

Like Soma said, it’ll be good to have a device that can play the Wii U games – for all the console’s issues, it really has some excellent games – and I love the device’s apparent ease of use. The mini “Joy-Con” controller blocks don’t seem too comfortable, and the new Pro Controller doesn’t seem quite as nice as the lovely and ergonomic Wii U equivalent, but it’s cool that there are a number of options from the get-go. Really, that notion of options and ease seems to be a central theme; there might be an attachment to connect the portable version to a car, the trailer frequently showed an immediate move from console to portable without extensive delay, and most multiplayer games seem to not require multiple versions of the system. These are all things that consoles should emphasize to differentiate themselves from PCs; they were always the system for “pick up and play,” local multiplayer, and simplicity. For all the complexity inherent in the Switch, it seems to focus on those traits, which is smart.

Also, portable Skyrim. That’s insane. We can talk about the frustration with getting so many ports up-front, but this is far more exciting than the lame GamePad support we got the last go around for these things.

Spazzy_D

So, on one hand, the prospect of portable Skyrim and the fact that we are seeing a Bethesda game on Nintendo hardware at all are very good signs. On the other hand, Nintendo launching a new system with ports of years old third party games does give me bad Wii U launch window flashbacks. I am also a bit weary of the system’s actual horsepower… I don’t expect the thing to be a graphical powerhouse but Breath of the Wild did seem to be running a bit choppy, and I really want a system that can at least play Wii U games at parity.

The actual hardware looks really slick, and it seems to be a more fully realized version of the Wii U concept. It’s a true hybrid, as opposed a home console with very limited in home portable functionality. It looks damn good for a handheld in general, and the “switch” from home mode to portable mode seems easy… although I do wonder if repeated usage and wear and tear will become a factor over time. Also, as a Smash Bros. fan, seeing an enhanced port of Mario Kart 8 gives me hope of seeing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U get an enhanced port with new stages and characters. And really, isn’t that what we all want out of a Nintendo console? More Smash?

TheAnvil

My first thought is really that this is exactly what the Wii U should have been from the beginning. I was initially worried about how well they’d be able to convey their new system in just a 3 minute video, after the trouble that the initial Wii U presentation had. Luckily they’ve knocked it out of the park.

The console itself looks practically perfect, and the amount of third Party support it apparently has really gives this system as good a shot as possible in getting Nintendo back in the console race.

The big show-stealer here were the games though. Most notably an enhanced port of the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8, as evidence by the new character King Boo and double items. Neither appear in the Wii U version. Splatoon also seems to have new customization options, though I’m a little less reluctant to call that an enhanced port at this time. What other titles could we see given this treatment? Let’s just say that the Smash Bros. ballot timing is making a lot of sense to me right now.

LIQUID12A

Let’s get this out of the way: Skyrim on a Nintendo console is amazing. Okay? That was the defining moment for me. Nintendo securing third party support and doing it for a bunch of devs hammered in the fact that yes, this is Nintendo moving away from their past mistakes and doing a damn fine first impression. They’re on a good track to repairing their image. I sincerely hope they make the right decisions and move on from the mistakes that shrouded the Wii U. Of course, one has to keep their expectations in check, but I think my faith is well founded.

ConnorEatsPants

Well this is pretty dang cool. I’m “hyping responsibly” as we always say on Source Gaming because I remember this exact excitement and reaction from when the Wii U was shown.

The concept itself is fantastic. Stepping away from the Wii branding (and hopefully backwards-compatibility to save space for more power on the console) is a phenomenal step in the right direction. Of course, I’m certain we’ll still see Wii and Wii U games return through the Virtual Console.

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Taking the home console on the go is an awesome “gimmick” that Nintendo probably should have started with the Wii U. It’s easy to explain to the casual market on what this thing does. I love the local multiplayer possibilities it opens up as well. Setting up Mario Kart in the car for one is something that I used to have to do with a CRT, a GameCube, and a portable generator…which wasn’t the safest thing to do, mind you. People should also be talking about the possibilities this opens up for LOCAL WIRELESS PLAY. As seen in the trailer, home console games seem to be able to connect with other nearby Switch units for local wireless play like a 3DS. This means so much. A Call of Duty private match for example. This is something a home console has never been able to achieve, and a portable has never had games of such fidelity.

The games: While some are saying the games in the trailer are just proof of concept, I think that would be a ridiculously stupid move by Nintendo. I could see it if, you know, this thing wasn’t coming out for a year and a half. But this console was supposed to be ready to ship this Holiday season! So I’m 99% sure all games in the trailer are real. Breath of the Wild looks great, Skyrim is awesome to have on the go, and sports game support is great to see. Mario Kart 8.5 (that’s what I’ll call it) is exciting. King Boo and two items in inventory were not in the original Mario Kart 8, which is how we know it’s new. Very excited to see more of this, but I certainly hope we can get a discount if we already owned Mario Kart 8, which is a sentiment I express regarding all of these “ports”.

The new 3D Mario was breathtaking. I personally have a theory that this is a 3D Mario much more in the vein of Super Mario 64. The set pieces look straight out of an HD version of the game! I also see some Spanish-esque vibes from the first level we saw… so I wonder if that’s a theme in the new title? For now, I’m putting my money on us finally getting Super Mario 128.

Splatoon port looks great for those that love Splatoon. If you know me, I cannot stand the game. All my opinion of course, but I find it ridiculously overrated; especially as someone whom plays every top shooter on the market. What made me a wee bit salty here was Nintendo actually putting Splatoon on an eSports stage over Smash. Like, Nintendo, have you seen the viewership levels compared between the games? I also find it funny how a game with no voice chat is given such an eSports presence. But I digress. Looks fun and if it changes enough up then I will pick it up. (Edit: I just now realized that Splatoon will now be able to be played with a normal controller. This might make the game for me this time around)

Overall, the Switch looks really really cool. That’s one word I can certainly use to describe it. I wrote a lot here, which is because I really am interested in what Nintendo has to offer this time around. Hopefully we see a Smash NX reveal soon!

PushDustIn

It’s finally here! I was pretty happy that the trailer showed off more than just Breath of the Wild, which is what some people were saying. The device itself looks interesting, it’s essentially what the Wii U should have been (though I guess streaming won’t occur anymore?). I’m interested to see how developers will take advantage of the various controller setups for the device, and what kind of games will come out. I’m excited to see Mario Kart for Switch, and Splatoon for Switch…both which seem to include new content. It’s very likely these are being built off the existing Wii U titles. The new Mario game looks interesting, but there doesn’t seem to be a strong gimmick outright (which can be a good thing — especially if it goes back to a Super Mario 64 style gameplay). Overall, I’m excited, but I’m also waiting for a full direct to see what exactly is coming out, and how much it will cost. Factors that will make or break the system. Right now it seems like Nintendo is heading in the right direction, so I’m glad.

SmashChu

Let’s do something a little different and look at how well the Switch might sell

First, the Switch has the potential to be a huge success. The market is changing. In the mid 90s and the 2000s, the TV dominated people’s lives. With the advent of mobile devices, the TV has become less and less relevant. For instance, you can see this as old media is replaced with new media. The Switch is adapting to a new trend. It’s a transition for Nintendo. The Switch is a handheld that can connect to the TV. Nintendo is making the leap into going 100 percent handheld. You can tell this as the big emphasis was taking the system anywhere from having it on a plane to walking the dog.

nintendoswitch_partners

The struggle for Nintendo was having two systems. In Japan, their handheld did well while the console didn’t. In the US, the console did well (relatively speaking), but struggled in Japan. Even the Wii struggled to find a place in the Japanese market where the DS didn’t. Moreover, with the Wii U, Nintendo couldn’t get enough games out. This system will be able to succeed globally and is able to have a huge library.

In terms of games, only The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been officially announced. Many of the other games may be proof-of-concept (which Nintendo did for the Wii and the Wii U). The major title it needs is a 2D Mario. Nintendo is able to recapture its Blue Ocean consumers it got from the DS and Wii. Nintendo needs to actually make a good 2D Mario with the quality seen in the 3D games. Nintendo has the potential for one of the best launch lineups in their history.

I’ll talk more about the Switch in the future, but the system marks a change for the console market. Generation 10 will be a huge shift. It will be exciting for sure.

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12 comments

  1. Ok, Here’s some of thoughts..

    Skyrim on the NX, erm, Switch.. While it was a 360 game, There is a Skyrim Remastered which is for a PS4, Xbox one, and PC. I can’t tell which set of Assets they’re using for the trailer.. Mind you the Remastered assets may look closer to the Classic Skyrim, and I’m used to seeing Lots of Asset related Mods. One “Selling” feature of Xbox one and PS4 version is that Mod Support is finally available. Could Mod support be added to the NX? Bethesda already limits “questionable” content for FO4, which is a huge concern for Miiverse.

    While the dock/undock function was being shown, I wonder if all games can scale on demand. 1080p60 I’m not too sure if most engines can cope with the undock procedure.. While some game can scale on demand on PC, (due to user changing settings) I am slightly worried if a engine can’t cope with me Pulling out the tablet without a quick save, reset and load session.

    This may be the first system that a Main series Pokémon game that I could stream without hardware Mod or emulation, since Emerald over 10 years ago!

  2. It turns out the console is exactly what we were told by various leakers over the year. I think the controller will be really weird to use when detached, especially if you have large hands. Also, we’re probably going to be hearing a lot about broken or missing controller parts as more and more people buy the system. But it’s nice to see a pro controller option. The graphics are acceptable, especially for the more cartoony look that Nintendo usually goes for. The Mario portion looks great, it actually kind of resembles that fan made demo using the unreal 4 engine.

    The main thing I’m interested in knowing is whether or not the dock will be as some of the rumors suggested, and act as a supplemental computing device. Also, hoping for a decent price point, but we’ll see. And then lastly, I’m just hoping for a proper Metroid game, a confirmation of the Smash NX rumor (hopefully with additional content), and definitely 3rd party exclusives. Time will tell. Just happy the thing is finally revealed so we can talk about what we like and don’t like instead of speculating what it actually is.

  3. Honestly, I have a lot of hope, since Nintendo seemed to really take the good and bad from the Wii U and refine it.
    I love the gamepad, and not shoving it down dev’s throats is great.
    Having a normal console playstyle is a fantastic idea as well.
    And thank goodness Nintendo realized the benefits of Third Party support, since this has quite a lot.
    Plus the small size seems to spell small price tag.

    People seem to not like the split controller’s size, but I bet Nintendo with the XL guys they are will conform to such needs (along with multiplayer regular controllers). I also hope Nintendo makes most old controllers for Wii U usable. (Might not mean my preferred gamepad though.)

    I don’t want to get overhyped, since we know so little, but I think that Nintendo really listened and gave us something unique without much loss.
    We’ll just have to wait till we get more info.

    *Plus, we gotta find out what to do with amiibo. It’d be sad to see a fun idea disappear due to mismanagement.

    1. From the looks of the fact that amiibo appear in the trailer during the 3D Mario game section, and they later confirmed that should a Switch Game be compatible, that amiibo will be compatible, then well… amiibo will be compatible.

      The whole point of the situation there is more or less what are the games going to do with amiibo to properly utilize them.

      Amiibo have three categories of use – Unlock a bonus, Appear in game, and Level up. Unlocking Bonuses range from a little bit of material in Hyrule Warriors to racing suits in Mario Kart 8. Appear in game is basically the find Toad section of Captain Toad, recruiting FE members in CODENAME Steam and Fates, and showing up to offer challenges/songs in Splatoon. With Level Up is basically training the thing, with Smash, Mario Tennis, Shovel Knight, and Amiibo Festival the only ones to do that, all the while unlocking bonuses is the most common function.

      So logically, most of the amiibo function will concern what bonuses they’ll unlock.

      That being said, most of amiibo’s success and decline stems from the collecting mentality taking over. As great as Smash is and how well it did for the brand, it also really destroyed most of what potential amiibo had. Thanks to stock numbers and the ‘rarity’ of the “Holy Trinity” the drive and desire of collecting amiibo went into full swing, alienating some from using them in fear of losing value.

      Those that used their amiibo in Smash would eventually find out that amiibo have simplistic AI and could not replicate aspects that a normal human could do – they can’t chain hits unless it’s a true combo, they won’t risk off-stage attacks to gimp opponents, and aerials are a nightmare because as AI they have a tendency to perfect shield. In fact, most of an amiibo’s fighting style revolves around finding an opening to attack and that while makes them effective against human opponents does little against fellow amiibo. (This goes without saying, but amiibo content was very late in Smash’s development – so it was mainly tacked on.)

      Because Smash utilizes the brand’s lesser used features of leveling up the character as opposed to a lucky bonus, it set a high standard for what would amiibo do.

      And with Smash, there also becomes an issue of people even wanting to buy amiibo for other series – given that it was Smash of all things that set the bar. I doubt that even if they do a full game like Skylanders, Infinity, or Dimensions that the full Smash roster would be availiable – Characters from Mario, Kirby, Zelda, Splatoon, Fire Emblem, and Animal Crossing would be likely since they are the series that Nintendo has been focusing on lately, while every other series is either dying (Star Fox, Metroid) Dead (F-Zero, Earthbound) or obscure and not well marketed (Kid Icarus, Pikmin, Xenoblade) to be added to such a game. (Pokemon not chosen because apparently Game Freak has an issue with it – The Pokemon costumes in Mario Maker with vanilla Mario sounds and themes and the utter lack of an amiibo costume in Yoshi’s Woolly World tell a big story)

      I would like amiibo to be bigger than it is, but all I want for the most part is the next Smash to be compatible with amiibo – as it was essentially a tacked on feature in Smash 4 and they could very well remove it because they might not see a point to it…

      Which would upset me greatly because I train the things competitively – and I would like amiibo training to be a more well-known thing and utilized more.

  4. The trailer shown managed to bring a smile on my face like most other Nintendo related trailers. The trailer itself did show off the capabilities of what the new console can do and so forth. We finally got to see it after months of waiting and rumor speculation and it was well worth the wait even though prior rumor posts felt annoying. What I like most about the Switch is not the portability aspect, but the all in one feature that many games can be made for one system. I have time to play games on both my Wii U and 3DS, but the development time and cost varies to create games for two platforms feels strenuous. Some games on 3DS overshadow the Wii U games and vice versa so it would be nice for a more unified game library. Also, notice how the new logo resembles the yin and yang symbols?

  5. My questions are this:

    Battery Life? How long is it?

    When Smash does show up on the Switch, WILL there be a way to attach my Gamecube controller to it, or at the least SOME wired controller compatibility. All this thing needs is two USB ports (hell they just need one) and the Smash game to be compatible with it and the Gamecube adapter would still have use.

    Will Smash on Switch have amiibo compatibility? It was basically tacked on in Smash 4 (http://nintendoeverything.com/sakurai-talks-duck-hunt-inclusion-in-smash-bros-8-player-smash-originally-planned-for-melee-more/) so they could take it out – but as someone who trains these things competitvely, I’d like to know a definite answer (And hopefully don’t have to buy the same figures twice…)

    Cloud storage?

    Will Skyrim Switch edition have Mod support like Xbox One (4GB) and PS4(1GB)?

    Will there be more games for the Switch announced for launch?

    These questions are the ones I MUST KNOW from Nintendo – I mean, I’m getting the thing anyway, but I would at the very least like to know a bit more.

    I would also like a Skyrim stage in Smash Bros Switch, k thanks – maybe the top of the Throat of the World, where Paarthurnax monitors the fighters as he’s practicing the Way of the Voice… (And the Mario Bros can meet their draconian brother)

    1. I think it was shown/said to have two USB ports, so it’s possible that the Gamcube adaptors will still work for the next Smash game.

  6. There’s definitely a lot to be excited for. After so many rumors and so much speculation, I honestly had no idea what to expect from what the supposed “NX” would end up being. I’m definitely interested in what they’ve shown right now, it looks like a really versatile system that can be used in many ways. I’d bring that thing with me anywhere, just as I do with my 3DS, if it’s as portable as it looks. I do have wonders about the battery life and the Joy Con controllers do look kinda small, but otherwise I’m fully on-board for this.

  7. Now that Emily Rogers has been more-or-less vindicated, I recommend taking a look at her treatise on why this is great for software:
    https://arcadegirl64.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-maria/

    I really admire Nintendo’s willingness to have people use this however they want rather than in one specific way (“asymmetric gameplay” on the Wii U didn’t go anywhere), but the core source of my excitement is the potential game library. Releasing (enhanced) ports to get those who skipped the Wii U up to speed is just the beginning. Yamauchi’s fabled “box to play Mario” has reached its prime form, and I couldn’t be happier.

  8. I really like what Nintendo is doing here. They’re simultaneously trying to appeal to both Japanese markets who love their handheld and the more hardcore home console western market. I also really loved the ad, good choice of music and straight to the point unlike Wii U’s reveal. Now all I’m waiting for is to hear of the system is at least powerful enough, the battery life and of course THE GAMES!!! A new F-Zero and Golden Sun would be widely appreciated

  9. First of all, I tried not to have any expectations on NX in order to avoid myself from being disappointed as meaning to “hype responsibly”. Thanks to that, as I start watching the Nintendo Switch vid, I was fully surprised by it. Switching screens from TV to tablet, switching controllers to different formations, even a possibility to play home console games on the go…its like a dream come true. The controllers may look small and tidy, but I think you’ll get used to it once you play it. Everything looks interestingly great, but the only problem is its battery. Its rumored that it’ll last 3 hours, but I wouldn’t think its big deal unless you don’t play it outside for a whole day; but plug it somewhere like Starbucks.

    I’m glad that Nintendo finally got tons of third party support. While Sega is always supportive with Nintendo as they bond a strong friendship together, which I can’t wait for the Sonic’s 25th anniversary game to come out, I’m well surprised that Square Enix is fully supporting Nintendo, as this being another evidence that both company’s relationship are getting better. Maybe having FFVII porting to Switch won’t be that long, but that’ll depend eventually. Not really quite interested in Skyrim nor NBA, but at least we can expect something more from these third parties. Also its good Nintendo finally brought back the 3D Mario in game, but now the whole destination takes place in a frozen Mexican-ish world, which this frozen things might probably be the main incident of its storyline.

    We also got Mario Kart and Splatoon, which might be ports from the Wii U. Mario Kart is definitely the same from, but new inclusions like King Boo and double item slots is something I’ve never seen from the original. This confirms that we might get more new (or returning) characters like Bowser Jr, and probably new stages as well. Splatoon may look like a port, but I do sense it might be a new version (Splatoon 2 or Spla”2″n?) due to its customizable hairstyle and shooter’s new designs. I could accept new hairstyles, but I do wish to have Octalings being playable too as they’re a lot more popular. Having Wii U ports does look great with new contents to play, but only one ultimate question: will the rumored Smash for Switch become true? I think it’s understandable why Sakurai still haven’t revealed the top list results of the Smash Ballot; he might’ve kept it for this. And making Smash for Switch as Sakurai’s next project may make sense. Although I don’t want to expect anything too often, but I could imagine that the next Smash would provide about 5-6 new characters + maybe few DLCs. Also, maybe we could have more ports similar to this case, such as having those 3DS exclusive adventure modes for Hyrule Warriors and additional new characters, or have those new arcade exclusive fighters for Pokken. Anything can be possible, if they’re planning to in other words.

    Although this may be the next generation for the home and handheld console which have fused together as a hybrid, this does prove that its the end of Wii U and 3DS. Maybe not for 3DS yet, but definitely for Wii U. I know everybody in Source Gaming and this comment section were terribly unsatisfied and disgusted with Wii U, but in my case, I really enjoyed Wii U as a whole. Sure, there weren’t much games for Wii U, but still there were some of them that enjoyed me a lot. The game pad may have been bulky, but using it for tracking and typing was quite unique to me. Even my friend in Japan really loved Wii U too, while using the game pad as a keyboard when chatting with me through the internet, and even watching Nico Nico Douga vids through it too. Yes, I know everybody here will harshly deny me because I’m being too generous, but obviously, I’m being honest to myself here. Everybody have a different taste of their own opinions, and there’s no law that everybody must have a same argument. So far, I’m gonna miss Wii U, and welcome Switch as a new family of my entertainment.

    Furthermore, I’m planning to get the console, but not during its release. I might be planning to move to Japan from next year, so I won’t buy it as I need to save money. And by the time I move there, I might plan to get it. Until then, have fun!

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