When the Nintendo Switch was revealed I felt that it had the potential to be the best thing Nintendo has ever made. That is really saying something given Nintendo’s history in gaming, including icons like Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon. Now that I have one in my hands my opinion has not changed, the only caveat being that it will take at least a year to reach its full potential.
I believe that the Nintendo Switch was rushed to launch ahead of schedule because the Wii-U was such a failure for Nintendo. There are no software applications available for the Switch and currently only one must-buy (AAA) game in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, originally meant to be a Wii-U exclusive, and a handful of small indie games already available on other platforms. So that means no web browser, no video streaming services, nothing. Nintendo have addressed this by saying they wanted to focus solely on games for now and that software will come later. If they do eventually release a web browser and apps for YouTube, Netflix etc. the Switch could really be a tablet (iPad) killer.
The hardware build quality is of a high standard and reminds me of Apple products when they still used plastic, but by removing all unnecessary accessories from the box they are able to sell it at a very affordable £279.99. What is included in the box is the switch console itself, two detachable controllers called Joy-cons (available in grey or neon red/blue), the TV dock, AC adapter, a HDMI cable, safety straps for the Joy-Cons and a Joy-Con holder to turn them into a single controller.
One of the best features of the Switch is the many ways of controlling it. You get two Joy-Cons included that work well for one player in or out of a holder, but you also have the possibility of two players out of the box by using one Joy-Con each turned sideways. Nintendo seems to be the only gaming company that still cares about offline multiplayer, and I applaud them for that. A more traditional “pro-controller” is also sold separately.
Once again Nintendo chooses usability over power and graphics, but never has it succeeded more than here. The devices screen display is 720p but when connected to the TV dock will display 1080p. I see the Switch as an overpowered handheld device that can easily be projected onto a TV screen, rather than a underpowered home console. Nintendo are right not to try and compete with Sony and Microsoft on raw power and it looks like they have learnt from the many mistakes they made with the Wii and Wii-U to produce a great and innovative new gaming device. Now we’re just left waiting for the software to go with it.
If you don’t already own a Nintendo Switch you probably won’t be able to get one at the moment anyway due to first shipments selling out everywhere. If you didn’t care enough to pre-order one then you probably won’t mind waiting it out until the software line-up becomes more respectable and with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and more on the horizon, here’s hoping the Nintendo Switch does fulfil its potential.