Our world of entertainment is constantly changing as we keep moving through a series of technological advancements. Everything looks temporary as both developers and gamers are left to keep up with the trends and innovations.
On March 3rd, 2017, the gaming industry ushered in a new innovation that will see video gaming no longer an activity tethered to our living rooms. The Nintendo Switch – a unique console/handheld hybrid – is the latest innovation set to improve the video gaming industry.
Although most people have come to think of it as Nintendo’s game changer after the failure of the Wii U, my colleagues and I do appreciate it as a stand-alone project aimed at transforming the video gaming industry at different angles.
Up until now, I’ve managed to play more than five titles (which I reviewed and will be adding more soon), and learnt how this Japanese developers have tried to redefine expectations of console flexibility.
It has been a month since its official launch, hence I saw it fit to take you through how the gaming industry – gamers and developers – is keeping up with Nintendo Switch.
Is Nintendo starting over after the failure of the Wii U?
Although this has been a common question among Nintendo product enthusiasts, the fact remains that the Switch is an independent project that has been inspired by other products from the video gaming company such as Wii U.
According to Daily News:
“From the moment it was announced late last year, the Switch seemed like a highly evolved Wii U, offering the full portability that the Wii U couldn’t quite deliver back in 2012. And now that it’s here, that portability proves true: This machine is equal parts portable console and home console, uniquely versatile for a bevy of different playstyles.”
According to Economic 243:
“Nintendo, which is still reeling from the unsuccessful launch of the Wii U, was banking on the Switch not only to succeed, but also to revitalize a business model forged on innovation.”
According to Newsweek, Nintendo has struggled to in the market by managing to sell only 13.5 million of the now-discontinued Wii U. There poor performance of Wii U is evident especially when compared to its predecessor Wii which sold more 101 million.
“Nintendo made numerous mistakes with the Wii U, which was priced higher than the Wii and delivered inferior graphics compared with rival Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. It also lacked third-party support from developers, which exacerbated the barren-software issues that plagued the console from launch.”
Is Nintendo’s Switch the future of gaming?
When I first learnt about the Nintendo Switch as new console/handheld hybrid, I was naturally agitated because I am such an avid fan of Nintendo products and video games.
According to IT security, the Switch’s launch is the first major event in 2017, and its market performance will be used to gauge the future of the gaming industry.
“Gaming’s first big event of 2017 will be the launch of the Nintendo Switch at the beginning of March. The first major home console release since the Xbox One in 2013, the market performance of the Switch will be important to follow for gauging the future of the gaming industry.”
They have gone further to claim Nintendo has taken several risks with the Switch being used to examine if handheld video gaming is still alive in the gaming community.
“Nintendo is taking several risks with its newest product, once again adopting an innovation-centric policy at the cost of raw processing power. The hybrid nature of the Switch will show whether handheld gaming is still sustainable in a marketplace where PC and mobile gaming are squeezing out other sectors, and how third-party developers take to the machine will show whether there is still a place for non-standard hardware in today’s gaming world.”
Still on how the success of the Nintendo Switch could affect the gaming industry, Economics 243 have gone straight to take a look at the console industry.
According to them, the failure and success of the Switch would inspire different innovations that would benefit the industry; by giving an example on how Sony and Microsoft once used Wii’s strength and weak points to release their consoles Xbox One and PS4.
“If you look at the history of the gaming industry, you can see that upon the release of a highly successful Nintendo product, the rest of the industry subsequently attempts to tailor their products/technologies to match that of Nintendo. There is no better example of this than the release of the Wii in 2006, which prompted Sony and Microsoft (both of whom were on the verge of releasing their newest generation consoles) to attempt to incorporate similar accelerometer-based technology. As a result gamers received the Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move packages.”
GigJets are in support of Economic 243’s idea where the industry players are known to use the success and failure of other products of come up with better consoles.
According to GigJets, Nintendo has taken advantage of Xbox One’s and PS4’s selling points and weak points to build the Switch with an aim of dominating the console gaming scene for some time.
“During 2016, it was all about Xbox One and PS4, and which console manufacturer managed to get the edge on the other throughout the various stages of the year.
Things seem to be swinging in a different direction in 2017. Even from the very start of the year, it looks like Nintendo and its brand new Switch console have something to say and that Sony and Microsoft will have no choice but to take a seat back and listen.”
This seems to be a trend as every console comes out with improved forms of the original designs to further boost their sales, and dominate the console gaming scene so that nothing else has room to grow or make itself noticed – it’s a matter of competition.
What the industry thinks of the Switch’s selling points
Nintendo Switch is currently the boldest initiative made in console gaming, and the console/handheld hybrid concept behind it seems to be attracting a lot of people.
Personally, the first time I saw its teasers and trailers, I immediately made up my mind about how it will get everyone so hooked.
And according to GigJets, the ability of transforming it into a portable console has gotten everyone hooked.
“Nintendo Switch is a seemingly typical gaming console that possesses the ability of transforming into a portable console. Imagine yourself laid back on the couch, in front of the TV playing a game on your Switch. Suddenly, you get a call and you have to leave home, but you don’t want to leave your game just like that.”
Nintendo has designed the Switch to put more faces to games, with an aim of inspiring creativity among game developers who may want to step forward and create games for this device. The device is set to have an endless mix old games, new games and latest hits.
Although the gaming industry sees this as one of its major selling points, Newsweek has risen to explain how this goes beyond a selling point to also helping most game developers, especially independent developers.
“Nintendo finally has game-makers excited again. Over 60 publishers and developers are working on 100 games for the new platform—some for the first time. Josh Taub, senior vice president of Skylanders product management at Activision Publishing, says the flexibility of the Nintendo Switch hardware allows developers to contemplate both an in-living-room and on-the-go experience.”
Why the Switch may miss the mark
According to most gamers, the Switch is too pricey and forces customers to spend more money on a product that seems to only compete with tablets and smartphones.
Speaking to E-commerce times, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, said:
“I think the issue will be that it looks and feels like a tablet but is also supposed to be a gaming console. However, both of those classes of products have embraced broad media — including movies, TV and music — and the Switch has not.
It costs as much as a standard game console and well more than the majority of tablets on the market.”
According to Daily News, the cost will remain an issue for most consumers given they will have to spend more to try different things on the device.
“With not a single game included, the Switch runs you $300, so you’re looking at spending at least $360 just to get life out of the machine, upwards of $400 when you factor in the need for a memory card. It’ll run you another $90 to purchase another dock and enjoy one of the coolest features of the Switch, the fact that you can simply hook it into another dock in another house or room or hotel room and it connects to the TV via HDMI”
Away from the overall cost, the Switch lacks third-party support add-ons, something that seems to bother users.
“Some are more bothersome than major such as the absence of Bluetooth (meaning now Bluetooth headphone connections on the go), an odd omission in a 2017 on-the-go machine, or the fact that you can’t adjust the Switch display’s brightness via a dropdown menu of a toggle, a limitation that leaves the Switch a step behind the latest tablets and smartphones.”
There are other fails such as lack of support for video apps such as Hulu and Netflix, the idea that you can’t play it in stand-up mode when charging, and the limited storage space of 32GB meaning users will have to buy additional memory card to store more games.
And as far as supply of games goes, Switch is rather lacking and most people have expressed disappointment.
In that vein, gamesindustry.biz recently discussed on how the industry can work to solve the Nintendo Switch’s cartridge cost quandary.
According to them, the price varies depending on whether you need a 1GB OR 32GB, but the main problem with pricing comes in amongst those mid-tier games and not in the top-end AAA area.
“You’ll see that Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s retail price is pretty much in-line with Horizon: Zero Dawn on PS4”
But for Rime (a mid-tier games):
“Rime on Switch is going to cost £10 more than its PS4 and Xbox One counterpart (£39.99 vs £29.99)”
According to them, the price tag doesn’t change for physical and digital version of the game, and this can be solved by adding more content into the Switch versions.
“A solution is to add extra content into the Switch version – something that at least two developers I’ve spoken to are considering – but that also risks upsetting fans of the Xbox One/PS4 version(s).
Alternatively, developers/publishers can simply make the game digital-only, which brings down the price but leaves that still-lucrative boxed market untapped.”
Though this may sound as a good an idea for most gamers, there is a higher chance that Nintendo can never welcome such ideas because of they are known to never negotiate. ‘This is the Price. Take it or leave it’ is their common phrase in the retail world.
A few days ago, a user wrote to me asking why the console’s cartridges taste bitter. Well, from the look of things this question has gotten coverage across social media and national newspapers, that’s why I’ve offered to answers here.
The reason behind cartridges being bitter taste is a novel application of Britex, a substance meant to add a bitter taste to items that appear tempting to swallow.
This is intended at avoiding the risk of accidental ingestion by children and pets.
According to Johnson Matthey:
“It is the bitterest substance known to man according to The Guinness World Records, but also completely harmless when consumed. This makes it a great deterrent to prevent children from consuming things that could cause them harm, so it is often used in household, garden and automotive products to ensure that if a child or animal ever tried to swallow it, they would spit it straight out before they could be poisoned.”
All in all, the Switch is what the industry needs because of how you can use it to achieve different modes of game play.
Many people have already interacted with it since its launch and they are pleasantly surprised and impressed with the devices’ overall presentation.
Although there may be a few fails that the developers need to take a keen look at, the strong points of the Switch make it a great option for gamers in 2017 and beyond.
Marc reviews Nintendo Switch after 3 weeks of usage