By Justin Novak.
Nintendo. It’s a name and brand that often leaves too many people with split opinions. Many gamers are nostalgic about the company’s past and are loyal to its modern-day endeavors outside of what has become known as the mainstream gaming bubble. Console loyalists recognize the dominance in the market that Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4 has taken for itself, leaving good old poor Nintendo in the dust. Hear me out, I LOVE Nintendo. And they have never ceased to make fantastic games in my opinion. But ever since the system Wii was introduced in 2006, followed by its successor Wii-U, it has just felt that Nintendo has never quite had a stable image. They’ve been gimmicky and stuck in the past. It’s like one day 10 years ago they just straight up left the mainstream console gaming scene, as in concession to Sony and Microsoft. It was bizarre, and they’ve been a company in limbo since.
As the saying goes, when it came to the Wii, it printed money. But its success is attributed to a much more casual audience, people who mostly were new to video games. Wii-U, on the other hand, has been a hot mess commercially, and it doesn’t help that there was virtually zero third party support or games over its lifespan. Nintendo seemed to focus more on the handheld market with the very successful 3DS, and that was fine. I think the gaming world seemed satisfied if that was the new company approach they were going to take. Maybe they would simply leave the console market behind, and start fresh.
Well… here we are, ladies and gentlemen. Hold your breath. It’s 2017, and Nintendo has a new console on the way in March. It’s called the Nintendo Switch, and it might just be the saving grace the company needed.
The name sounds gimmicky, but the Nintendo Switch is a one-of-a-kind gaming experience that attempts to blend handheld gaming and at-home gaming more perfectly than ever seen before in the industry. Unlike the Wii-U, which ran exclusively as an at-home console with a clunky tablet preferred control option, the Nintendo Switch is actually completely mobile. Which means you can play all your favorite games on the go, wherever you go, or at home. When you do play it at home, the Switch will also feature a wide variety of gaming options to accommodate your preferences.
Oh, and by all your favorite games, I mean ALL your favorites. The biggest problem the Wii-U had faced was a complete lack of third-party gaming in a highly competitive market, with the console surviving almost exclusively on Nintendo titles. While Nintendo Switch will feature all the Nintendo loyalists’ favorites, including the visually stunning ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild,’ the console is promised to feature the support of a minimum of 47 top third-party developers. This promises for a game collection that will reach a wide variety of audiences, breaking from the universally casual grounds that Nintendo has been building since 2006.
What does that mean? Oh yeah, Nintendo’s back, baby. Good old, classic Nintendo that everyone loves. The innovators that built and dominated the market well before the rise of Playstation and Xbox.
Well. At least we hope.
While the console isn’t TOO over the top gimmicky, it is easy to be skeptical of a company and its visions that have been so inconsistent over the years. I, for one, am one of the skeptics, but an optimistic one. The Switch is new. Most of its specs aren’t overly impressive, but the hardware is still in many senses groundbreaking. There really is nothing to currently compare it to, so it truly is a wait and see kind of deal. I don’t think this will be Nintendo’s key to overthrow Microsoft and Sony in the mainstream market scale, but what it can do is reestablish Nintendo as a viable competitor and put them back in the top tier class of the home gaming market. If the console can get out fast and hit the ground running, unlike the Wii-U which always lagged way behind, this could be the promised resurgence and the beginning of a new era of Nintendo that loyalists have dreamed would one day return.