Nintendo’s hybrid is where the industry should be heading
The Nintendo Switch is everything a home gaming console should be because it’s also a handheld console.
For years, Nintendo has always been about creating family consoles and the Switch is just that, but so much more. In recent years, the company has been scrutinized for its lack of third-party content and online support. I knew this going into pre-ordering the console and getting it at its midnight release in March, but I did it anyway because I had faith in this company that had been such a big part of my life since my childhood. I had faith that the Switch would be different and it’s delivered so far and then some.
The convenience and portability of the Switch is one of its selling points. Traditional consoles require you to always sit in one place and play it on a TV. The Switch gives players flexibility and doesn’t conform them to one play style. You can bring it to campus to play between classes and then pick up where you lift off on your TV when you get home.
As far as software goes, Nintendo’s first-party content has been the highlight of the Switch. “The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey” are candidates for game of the year and for good reason. “Breath of the Wild” completely turned the traditional linear Zelda gameplay on its head while creating a colorful world that I’m still finding new places in seven months later. “Odyssey” revived the type of gameplay we experienced in “Super Mario 64” while adding a new flavor to it. Both of these titles thrived in a gaming industry that’s become swamped with microtransactions and online dependent gameplay.
From a technical standpoint, the Switch isn’t breath-taking. Don’t expect the graphics of a modded PC, but the recent release of “Doom” on the Switch proves that it can handle next-gen graphics even if it’s at a reduced level. The release of “Doom” is also a testament to the kind of direction Nintendo is headed in with third-party support. Many third-party developers have pledged support to the console and its received ports of classics like “L.A. Noire” and “Skyrim.” Additionally, the Switch has become home to indie gems like “Golf Story.”
As with any console in its early life, there’s definitely room for improvement. We’ve come to expect gaming consoles to be entertainment machines in general and most have an abundance of apps on them. Hulu was only just recently released on the Switch and apps like YouTube and Netflix are essentials in the future. Additionally, cloud saves are a must. Microsoft and Sony have systems in place that allow users to save their data into the cloud and migrate it between systems. It’s a good insurance in case the console were to break and data is lost.
Nintendo has made strides in its online services since its last console, the Wii U. “Splatoon 2” is the Switch’s online posterchild and the recent port of “Rocket League” is also hopeful for those who enjoy playing games with strangers.
However, it’s still abysmal when compared to other consoles. Nintendo has to simplify its friend system and make chatting seamless, especially if it’s going to be charging users for its online services soon.
Virtual Console is something that will also have to be addressed. Nintendo should be fully aware of how much money its Virtual Console feature has printed for them since it began on the Wii. Nostalgia sells but the portability of the Switch could also add to replaying a vintage title.
The Switch is a step in the right direction for the gaming industry. We like having all our things in one place because of convenience. That’s why cell phones have become so popular.
The industry used to develop games for both home and handheld consoles and Nintendo has changed the game with the hybrid Switch.