Switching From Problem to Problem: What Plagues Nintendo's New Console
Nintendo seems to be getting panned for multiple reasons after hype was at an all time high before their official unveiling of the Nintendo Switch on January 12th. Some say Nintendo is being unfairly criticized and others say the company has earned the criticism. The following is a laundry list of what has been questioned online over the past several days:
- The Switch launch lineup and first year window
- The pricing of accessories
- The apparent lack of 3rd party support after it was touted by Nintendo
- Battery life
- Graphics and performance
- Paying for and online service
- Voice/party chat for online play
- No news on Virtual Console games
- Comfort of the controllers
- Charging the Switch
- The amount of units being shipped for launch
Those are only some of the questions people have asked less than a week from the conference, and most of these have been answered. Fans definitely have reason to be upset but they should take a step back and put down the pitchforks for a minute, and realize that we are still over a month away from the March 3rd release date. Anything can happen and will happen between now and then. Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime has even said as much telling Nintendo fans to "stay tuned."
The New IP-Problem
Of all the possible complaints I listed above, only one stands out and it’s the first one. This is what Nintendo is having a recurring problem with. It’s why people are so up in arms about the lack of 3rd party support after Nintendo said there would be plenty of it. It’s also why people were bummed to not hear anything about any ports other than Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition. The outcry about the first year launch window, much less the launch day lineup, has been deafening. Can they still announce things as the year goes on? Sure. Will they definitely have an extremely hyped E3 conference? Absolutely. However, Nintendo has never been one to blow everyone away at E3. They don’t show up with all of these new games ready to be shipped out. People want a reason to buy the Switch and not releasing a solid title per month, if that, from March to the end of the year is troubling.
I believe Nintendo, a company who has created some of the most iconic video game characters of all time, is having a problem switching over from old characters to newer ones -- yes, the bad pun was fully intended. Nintendo has a reputation of milking its classic characters, which isn’t a problem for most part but it begs the question "can’t you do it again?" New IPs such as Arms and 1,2 Switch failed to generate a lot of interest after the initial reveal, and a few other reasons may have doomed them already -- 1,2 Switch not being included with the Switch at launch is one of them, and is rather ridiculous. It could have been the Wii Sports of this generation, but instead people will just wait to get it on sale. Arms would have been a great launch title too, the problem is, it isn’t a launch title. Can these two be solid as new games? Sure, but they have already been placed in a hole.
The same can be said for Snipperclips. Sure, it’s adorable but how long can a game like that really hold people over for? (Little Big Planet on the PlayStation is still going strong, so can Snipperclips?) I’m not saying Nintendo can't create exciting new games, Splatoon has been a testament that Nintendo still has what it takes to be innovative and fresh. They just need to stay that way and they haven’t been consistent in doing that.
The 3rd party problem
Rumors can truly doom a conference. That is what I learned while watching the January 12th conference. Going into the event, rumors were rampant and, to be fair, overly optimistic about the possibility of strong 3rd party support. However, it was Nintendo itself who was touting the presence of 3rd party titles coming to the Switch. The below graphic shows the amount of partners Nintendo has when creating Switch games.
All of those were known prior to the conference. It is why people were left asking, "well, why are there only a smattering of 3rd party titles in the first year launch window?" Again, it is wise to remember that Nintendo still has a little over a month before the system launches and then E3 will follow 3 months later. There is plenty of time in the first half of this year to announce more 3rd party games, it just would have been nice to see a little more of that "support" Nintendo was touting.
It has always been about games
It’s in the name, people. Right there after video comes the games part. Of the list of complaints at the top, the games matter the most. Why would I buy a home/portable hybrid gaming console without any games that interest me? This question should be asked to every employee at Nintendo.
Reggie Fils-Aime did say to stay tuned, and I’m sure fans will do just that, but for how long can they get away with this? What if you don’t like Zelda? The next big title people would look for is Mario Kart 8, which comes out almost 2 months after the Switch's launch, and is a port of the WiiU version. The games have always been the focus and Nintendo seems to have lost that focus.