Unlike Nintendo I will refrain from any further Switch related puns or snaps. I promise. To be 100% transparent, while many members of the GameGravy crew have decided to jump on board the Switch train at launch, I will be delaying my purchase until Mario and his wondrous Hat-a-rang make their debut. I’m perfectly fine holding on to my Wii U since Nintendo is being gracious enough to release Breath of the Wild for both platforms on the same day, something they failed to do with Twilight Princess.
If you’re on the fence about whether to purchase the newly detailed hybrid console you’re not alone. While Nintendo did us all a solid releasing the most important highlights of information, price point/date/Zelda, there are still unanswered questions and concerns for those of us that remain undecided. Now before we go casting aspersions in my direction for “fanboying” one way or another these are facts presented by Nintendo themselves with some firm but fair analysis thrown in. So lets break out a handy dandy Pro’s and Con’s list to help you make up your mind for launch day or soon thereafter.
- As of the writing of this article we are only six and a half weeks away from launch which is Friday 3/3/17. Even though we’ve been talking about rumors of the Switch for months it feels as if this launch date snuck up on us like a ninja.
- $299.99 price point is the sweet spot for being affordable and yet not feeling cheap. Especially when taking into account the prices of the peripherals separately as well as the technology included in the box its a perfectly reasonable investment.
- Switch’s hybrid nature and power port. Being able to hot swap between home console and portable handheld within an instant is incredibly cool. While on the go you can charge the Switch tablet with a standard USB C cable. Not using a proprietary cable was a user friendly and wise move by Nintendo.
- Expandable memory is also not proprietary. Another wise move by Nintendo is allowing the use of SDXC memory cards up to 2 TBs. Maybe Sony will learn from these last two items if they every jump back into the handheld pool. (probably not)
- Battery life is adequate. The reported 2.5 – 6 hours of battery life depending on the game and settings plus the ability to use USB C chargers/battery packs gives you the option of extra juice should you need it.
- Games. I know I said I’ll be playing Zelda on the Wii U but there are some advantages to the Switch version (900p vs 720p, portability, and higher fidelity sound). Mario Kart Deluxe 8 picks up an infusion of love with the glorious return of Battle Mode, new characters, maps, and dual wielding items. Splatoon 2 features the Inklings traipsing around new maps, weapons, and specials. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will hopefully continue the stellar track record of Monolith Soft. Mario Odyssey looks absolutely bonkers and will see a return to the Mario 64/Sunshine open structure. Some SNES games will have online functionality. There are plenty more games on the horizon (see below) and hopefully Nintendo will share details with us soon. Fingers crossed for Metroid and Earthbound.
- Accessory pricing. $70 for a pro controller, $90 for an additional dock, $80 for left and right Joy-Con bundle or $50 separately, $30 for the Joy-Con charging grip (allows you to charge Joy-Cons as you play. Grip included with system does not allow this function). With these prices the initial investment rapidly increases. To be clear, in the photo below the left and right Joy-Con’s offer differing functionality.
- The absurdly small 32GBs of on board storage is nowhere near large enough with the proliferation of digital purchases for games. I know I stated that expandable memory is relatively cheap but it’s a hidden cost if you plan on purchasing more than a few games from the Virtual Console
- Speaking of Virtual Console we are a little over six weeks away and the details about their online store are not exactly transparent. There is a lot that needs clearing up such as carry over from previous digital purchases.
- Nintendo’s online platform in general feels like another half measure with a lack of solid information. It will be free until fall (well done) when it becomes a paid service of unknown price. The paid subscription gives you access to certain sales, online play, voice chat (more below), and the chance to play a NES or SNES for free for a month. After said month the game requires a purchase to be played again. This is counterintuitive to the other consoles and what their online subscription packages offer.
- Voice Chat. We had voice chat in 2002 on the original X-Box. Why do I need my smart phone to do a basic online function in 2017? The app not launching with the system is another unforced error on Nintendo’s part. The quote is taken directly from the Nintendo Switch Website:
“Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games─all from your smart device. A free, limited version of this app will be available for download in summer 2017.”
Regardless of what your personal decision is pertaining to Nintendo’s new console their future looks to be on the up and up if they play their cards right. From what I’ve seen there will be plenty to be excited about for years to come. The industry is better when Nintendo is thriving, dropping classics with regularity, and innovating. Again, we are only six and a half weeks away from playing this rupee. Rejoice, the return to Hyrule is nigh. Whether we play Breath of the Wild on Wii U or Switch its going to be a privilege to finally boot up the first new Zelda on a console since 2011.