Should You Make the 'Switch?'
Nintendo seems to be attempting to keep pace with competitors Sony and Microsoft as they promote their upcoming console, Nintendo Switch. While this platform is more like a modern console than its predecessor, Nintendo is taking risks with Switch that it hasn’t with previous platforms by offering new services and collaborating with foreign software companies. These leaps of faith could be the deciding factor of the Switch’s success in the market against the Xbox and Playstation.
As the console gains popularity as its release nears, customers hoping to pre-order it are being turned away by stores to avoid the risk of overselling the product. Although Nintendo is historically known for it’s strategic practice of understocking, there may be a glimmer of hope for those unable to secure a reservation. “Nintendo has announced that it’s ending the production of the Wii U,” according to Forbes. The discontinuation of the Wii U guarantees an increase in the supply of the Switch. An increase in supply doesn’t imply a good product, but Nintendo’s changes are meant to attract a fresh crowd and prevent competition with itself.
Unlike in the past, Nintendo has announced that, “paid online Switch service will launch in the fall.” The services can be activated through the Nintendo ID and created from a player’s Nintendo account. A free trial for the service launches in March per the release of, and is limited to, the Switch. When the trial has ended, online multiplayer will not be accessible until the fee is paid. As of now, a price has not been named. A positive aspect of this new feature is that a free NES or Super NES game will be offered every month with new multiplayer compatibility, as well as the upgrade of dedicated servers. This has not sat well with many gamers, who only merely tolerated the existence of a subscription fee for other consoles, and who hoped Nintendo would not continue that trend.
Another worrying trend that Nintendo is following is the need to install games on the Switch, which will have a built-in and somewhat limited storage space. It is assumed that installation will not be necessary for most games since only 32GB of storage will be provided and the Switch uses cartridges, which require much less data transfer than a disk. However, “Skyrim” on a disk for a standard console is a 60GB install alone and “Breath of the Wild,” the most anticipated Switch game, is double the software size. So data storage space is already predicted to be an issue. The issue of space comes into question with DLC and expansions. Even with a built-in standard SD card slot, space might come at a hefty premium. The Nintendo-branded Switch SD cards sell for $40 above the price of a SanDisk branded SD card. It is possible to use SD cards with up to 2TB of space with the system and is highly recommended that a different brand is bought. So this extra space is already a chunky price tag on top of the Switch’s rather reasonable $299 price.
A fear voiced by past Wii U owners is that the Switch is a money making copy of the Wii U. The battery for the handheld portion is nonexistent. Nintendo explains that there is an estimated six hours of battery life if a game is not being played. But if “Breath of the Wild” is running, the tablet will hold up to three hours of play time. The tablet is the main console, hence, irreplaceable in stores, so be sure to get an extended warranty. Aside from that tip, Nintendo has also released to Kokaku that this platform is a dedicated video gaming console, not an entertainment system. There will not be streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Crunchyroll on the Switch.
Nintendo has received mixed reactions of this. Despite all odds, the system is sold out across the nation despite not releasing for another two months. With that being said, the above factors and more will determine if Nintendo Switch will hit the mark of consumer satisfaction within the gaming industry. Hopefully, the fears surrounding the Switch will be allayed upon its release in March.