Of course, the announcement itself doesn’t seem all that exciting when all it does is confirm what we had expected of the Nintendo NX—now called the Nintendo Switch: that it would be a hybrid home/handheld console that would use cartridges instead of optical discs. Though it’s interesting to know that the screen itself will have a stand and detachable controllers that will allow you to play its games like you would from a mini television.
Even then, aside from the official launch date of next March, there’s still a lot of lingering questions that have been left unanswered:
1. How “portable” will the “handheld” device be? From the looks of it, the size of the “handheld” console appears to range anywhere from the size of a PlayStation Portable to that of an iPad Mini. The great thing about the Gameboy and Nintendo DS consoles was that you could carry them around in your pocket. This new device, on the other hand, seems like you’ll need to carry it around in its own case. It’s not like we see any of the people in this promo put it in their pocket—not even once! If this is supposed to be Nintendo’s new home AND handheld device, then chances are it will probably lose the charm of Nintendo’s former handheld devices, which is the “portable” aspect. And that leads to yet another problem that’s yet to be addressed:
2. How backwards compatible will this new console be? Nintendo’s home consoles have only been backwards compatible since the Wii. Its handheld consoles have always been backwards compatible, though that sort of stopped with the DS, as its newer versions have not been compatible with Gameboy games. If the Nintendo Switch is going to be the new home AND handheld console, and if this system will only use cartridges, then not only will it not be backwards compatible with the DS (no second screen), but it won’t be compatible with the Wii or Wii U. If that’s the case, then I doubt anyone will be selling their Wii U or 3DS for this unless they also plan on parting with their entire game library, as that will most certainly be completely useless. And that leads me to yet another problem:
3. What will be the new games? The only games that we see in this promo are that of pre-existing or planned Wii U titles (Zelda, Mario Kart, Splatoon). That could mean one of two things: either that these games were only used as examples of what the console is capable of, because no games have yet been developed for it (in which case it’s repeating the same mistakes of the Wii U launch), or that these games will be re-released for the Nintendo Switch, which would sort of confirm the whole not-backwards-compatible notion (which is even worse). As much as I want to start saving up money to buy this console on launch date, there’s a tingling feeling that I’ll want to wait like a year or two before committing. And that leads me to the final and biggest question:
4. How much will this system cost? I’ve heard rumors of it being $299 (nearly the same price of the Wii U), but that sounds a lot like a rumor. Considering the technology that will allow this system to be both a home AND handheld system, chances are the price will be higher. So chances are I may be waiting out on this until there’s a price drops—that and decent non-Wii U games.
But I want to know what your thoughts are: are you excited about the Nintendo Switch, or did the announcement leave you feeling “meh”? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.