Back in October, I reported on the announcement that Nintendo, the minds behind some of gaming’s most popular video game franchises (such as Super Mario and Legend of Zelda), were releasing a next generation console to rival both the XBOX One and Playstation 4.
Nintendo’s bold new venture would finally bridge the gaming gap between home and portable gaming – something that Sony has failed to do despite may attempts with the Playstation Vita.
In recent years, Nintendo has struggled in the home gaming market, with their last console the Wii U only selling 10 million units worldwide, in comparison to the Wii which sold over 100 million consoles. A confused concept and marketing campaign were to blame, along with the release of the Playstation 4 overshadowing the Wii U despite the latter having some great games such a Super Mario 3D World.
On 3 March 2017, Nintendo finally released the Nintendo Switch and the world went crazy, with midnight launches and many retailers selling out on launch day. To top all of this, gamers were finally treated, after a six year wait, to the brand new Legend of Zelda game Breath of the Wild – which is already one of the biggest selling and best reviewed launch titles of all time.
Nintendo Switch is like no other console, and after a week with it I cannot imagine life without it. Not only do you get the immersive gaming experience at home, you also get the full experience in the palm of your hands when in portable mode. The Nintendo Switch is effectively two consoles in one.
What Nintendo has done with the Switch is made a console for everyone – it’s interesting, fun, accessible and flexible. The console itself is similar to a tablet and is completely portable. Nintendo has opted to move away from discs and gone back to cartridges similar to that found in the Nintendo 3DS. One massive bonus of this is that games don’t need to install onto a hard drive or have the extensive loading screens found on the XBOX One and Playstation 4. Good job also, as the Nintendo Switch only has a 32gb hard drive.
Nintendo is also learning and developing with this console and for the first time will have a subscription service which launches at the end of 2017 along with more downloadable content (DLC) for games. Breath of the Wild launched with a optional DLC priced at £17.99 and is available on the newly designed Nintendo Store.
Nintendo is also ensuring compatibility with Amiibos, which were first introduced back in 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The stylish character figures use wireless communication to give gamers more out of their gaming experience. Breath of the Wild launched with a full new set of Amiibos which give greater help and support during the game – such as extra arrows or lives for example.
Nintendo Switch isn’t perfect, however, and its biggest issue is that there is no cloud storage for saving games to a user’s profile. Why is this annoying? Well, if your console breaks and you have to replace it, all of your gaming history goes with the faulty console. So after months of gaming you would have to start again. Not ideal and I’m hoping that with the launch of the subscription service we’ll see the arrival of cloud-based storage.
My second concern is the software available. Yes, Breath of the Wild is amazing and will have us all playing for months. But what Nintendo Switch needs is third party games and so far with the promise of Skyrim (a game nearly six years old) and Fifa 17 there aren’t many third-party announcements, which is worrying. Nintendo therefore are relying on future games such a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (originally released on the Wii U in 2014) out in April 2017 and Super Mario Odyssey out at the end of 2017 to keep current and potentially new Switch owners parting with their cash.
Overall the Nintendo Switch is glorious and refreshing, and isn’t at all trying to copy or compete with the likes of Sony or Microsoft. I applaud Nintendo for being bold and taking risks with the Switch and it has paid off. In the UK alone, during it’s opening weekend it has sold over 80,000 units, which is double what the Wii U sold on its opening weekend.
Whatever your gaming preference is and whatever consoles you may already own, Nintendo Switch has a place in everyone’s home and is the real deal for gaming fans.
(More games and third-party interest, and a cloud storage needed)