Can we talk about the Nintendo Switch with any level of reason?
#3: Launches suck, stop asking for too much at them
First of all, Nintendo rarely sells a system at a loss at launch. They took losses for the Gamecube and Wii U and both were minimal. Just about every other system is sold at launch at a profit. They are not Microsoft, where people still can’t really figure out how they make any money in their game division. They are not Sony, where they sold a $600 PS3 at a loss just so they could get Blu Rays into the home. Nintendo doesn’t have anything to fall back on. They just have Nintendo. You weren’t getting a handheld that can play AAA Nintendo titles for less than $300 US. Trust me, I hate the price. I likely won’t buy a Switch until Christmas so I can afford the system with a couple games. But stop asking for things that are never going to happen.
Also, do any of you have any memory of system launches? System launches suck. Sony tried to convince people that Knack was going to be a big deal at the PS4 launch. Remember the hype on Ryse: Son of Rome? Or the launch of Killer Instinct? No, you don’t, because there was a wealth of games a year later that made you easily forget that stuff.
Yes, there was also third parties picking up the slack with Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, but much of that comes with when they launched. Nintendo is launching in the spring. Sony and Microsoft launched in the late fall/early winter. But what’s with the complaint on the amount of games? The Wii U launched with over 20 games at launch… and then nothing. You don’t think Nintendo realizes that? You don’t think Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 are likely done but they don’t want another six month gap of nothing coming out? Nintendo is trying to spread out the titles so there’s something to play. Even then, you’re getting a new Zelda, a new IP (which, I’ll admit, even if it has promise it’s the Knack of the Switch launch), and only waiting a month later to play Mario Kart 8 on the go.
Go look at spring launch consoles and their releases. Can’t think of one? Playstation 2 was released in March of 2000 in Japan. It had Ridge Racer and Street Fighter EX3 plus a Drum Mania game. The Gameboy Advance actually had a pretty successful launch in March of 2001 with Castlevania: Circle of the Moon and Super Mario Advance, but it also had the advantage of basically being a portable Super Nintendo (also Super Mario Advance was seriously just Super Mario Bros. 2) So now ask yourself. Would you prefer Nintendo to just hold off the system until November so they can claim Zelda, Skyrim, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Mario Odyssey at launch? Yeah, didn’t think so. Also, the Nintendo 64 launch in September of 1996 had just two games for it: Pilotwings 64 and Super Mario 64. Guess what: nobody gave a heck because Super Mario 64 was great.
#4: Nintendo’s online service right now is absolutely terrible and I’m embarrassed to talk about it
I know Jim Sterling covered this as well as anyone could, but I like to fail to reach the heights of others. One temporary game a month is insulting. If Nintendo wanted to make something of value, they could have had a “Virtual Console vault” where paid subscription means you get to play a growing library of virtual console games at no extra charge. You lose access when you stop paying for the service (no different to Netflix, yes Jim mentioned this already) but while you have it, Nintendo is providing you an open door policy into their library of games.
We’re not getting that. We’re getting one a month. Why? Because as we all can assume, Nintendo isn’t ready with their virtual console games on the Switch. They are converting them one at a time slowly instead of hiring a company to just emulate each game perfectly. They are touting potential online play, but you know that won’t be to your fanatical levels. I’m honestly fine with people just plugging any cheap headset into their cell phone to do their voice chat over that, but I have little faith in Nintendo handling demand if a game like Splatoon 2 becomes a bigger success than the Wii U original.
Nintendo was supposed to get help from younger developers in designing their online strategy and it really feels like the same flop reactions we dealt with on Wii and Wii U. And the fact the Nintendo Switch isn’t backwards compatible means I’m not selling my Wii U or 3DS, which means I have zero need or interest to purchase virtual console games on the Switch, unless it’s a game I can’t get on my Wii U or 3DS. And right now, there isn’t much in that department. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door? You damn right I’m buying that on the Switch. Earthbound? Got it for the Wii U. No point buying it again*
*I have purchased Chrono Trigger four times now in my life, and Final Fantasy VI has been purchased at least three, so take my words on purchasing the same thing over and over with a grain of salt. If Final Fantasy VI comes out for the Switch, I’m probably going to buy it. I am Cecil from Final Fantasy IV constantly falling for Kain’s evil desires. I’ll also probably buy Final Fantasy IV again.