Today’s reveal of Nintendo’s console, formerly the NX, and now dubbed the “Nintendo Switch,” gave fans a first look at what Nintendo has been working on over the past few years. The console’s reveal confirms much of what we already knew thanks to leaks earlier this year. We now know that it will be a home console – portable tablet hybrid, giving players the ability to dock the Nintendo Switch to play on the TV, and the functionality of a tablet, allowing gamers to bring their Nintendo games on the go. Games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Enhanced Edition and NBA 2K17 were highlighted, as well as Wii U games like Splatoon. The controllers snap apart, something hinted at in one of the early leaks via Eurogamer. However, not much in terms of actual specs, console information or price were answered today.
Nintendo Needs To Address Clear Concerns With The Switch
The biggest question, next to the official release date and price, is about battery life. The Nintendo Switch is a console clearly designed to go with you anywhere. As a result, the battery life on any handheld – be it your phone, existing tablet or Nintendo 3DS – is a concern. Are you going to be able to get the most out of your device without the need to constantly charge it? The Nintendo Switch reveal served to give consumers a look at the console itself, but it did nothing to answer the questions it inevitably brought to mind. The console’s battery life needs to be stellar in order for the Nintendo Switch to have any real benefit to using the handheld feature. Additionally, the snap controllers – called the Joy-Con L and R – need to have a long life, as no one wants their controllers to die on the road before the console itself does.
Additionally, the console is being powered by Nvidia’s Tegra processor, another confirmation of a Eurogamer report thanks to a blog post by Nvidia. Nvidia mentions the Tegra processor houses an Nvidia GPU “based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards.” Whether this means Pascal or the previous Maxwell cards is uncertain.
But how does this stack up against Nintendo’s direct competition – the Xbox One and PlayStation 4? Obviously, it’s at least around the same level of, at a bare minimum, the Xbox One, given Skyrim was being shown. But just how powerful is the Nintendo Switch? Is the allure of Nintendo first party titles enough to draw consumers into buying another console that is “on par” with what is already available? How will it stack up against the PlayStation 4 Pro and eventually, the Project Scorpio when they are released? While Nintendo has held its own by being quirky and different, the Wii U largely didn’t have a solid third party lineup muddling the console lines. However, the Nintendo Switch already is boasting broad third party support, giving players another option to buy their games. How will the Nintendo Switch draw those players from grabbing Skyrim: Enhanced Edition on PC or Xbox One to the Switch platform?
Also, the Nvidia post mentions a custom API, called NVN, which Nvidia boasts as a way to bring “lightweight, fast gaming to the masses.” However, how does the Nintendo Switch then compare to the consoles and PCs running DX11 or DX12? Does this make coding and developing games for the Nintendo Switch easier or harder? This was an issue last generation, with the Xbox 360 being easier to develop for, and as a result, some PlayStation 3 games suffered. Will the same fate befall cross platform games coming to the Nintendo Switch?
All of these are questions that Nintendo needs to answer before anyone places a pre-order at their favorite retailer. No doubt the Nintendo Switch will sell well, but will it do enough to grab the attention of the fans who already own powerful consoles or PCs? Will Nintendo be able to sell to them based purely on brand recognition? Time will tell.
[Featured Image by Nintendo]