3 Things Everyone is Ignoring About the Nintendo Switch Launch
As the anticipation surrounding the details of the Nintendo Switch hits a boiling point -- and just before the news erupts from Nintendo’s upcoming Treehouse Live event -- I’d like to discuss some of the finer details that excited fans may be forgetting about. And one of them is a really, really big deal.
Take the time to do a little background research on the Nintendo Switch and you'll surely come across articles, reports, and rumors that talk back and forth about the release date, price, power and battery life of Nintendo’s supposed savior. But those aren’t the things that interest me most about what will be unveiled at Nintendo’s upcoming Treehouse Live event or the days after the launch of the new hardware. I’m interested more in the smaller things that will allow for a successful future, a secure means to transport the device, and most importantly, avoiding a frustrating launch—but we’ll get to this final point later.
Let's start with the most obvious thing that people aren't thinking about.
1. Fresh Juice, Not From Concentrate
No matter what battery comes with the Switch, you’ll never be satisfied with its longevity.
What will it take to have me satisfied as a bona fide Nintendo fan when it comes to a hybrid device that is future proof? I’ve mentioned it in previous articles, and I’ll mention it again: the ability to swap and upgrade the battery pack included with the Nintendo Switch. I must tread carefully with this point, but I don’t so much want a powerful, long-lasting battery as much as I believe it’s imperative that the Switch have a battery bay equipped with the ability to welcome future iterations of batteries.
Though it’s fair to expect a battery that allows for on-the-go gaming for several hours—after all the gimmick of the Switch is its ability to play modern games portably—I think it much more important to have a decent battery from the get-go with the possibility of upgrading later on. Think of it this way, if the Switch is to pack graphical abilities that reach somewhere near the power of the original iterations of the PS4 and Xbox One while remaining portable, then costs need to be cut down somewhere to ensure affordability.
Now you may say that it’s inconvenient to have to pay more for a better battery later on, to which I’d argue that you will most certainly have to buy a new battery anyway. That is, no matter what battery comes with the Switch, you’ll never be satisfied with its longevity.
Unless Nintendo has solved the issue inherent in almost all portable devices nowadays, I think it’s a far superior argument to make that Nintendo should equip the Switch with a balanced battery that is just decent enough to get the console out to fans for a reasonable price, while having the overt expectation that power users will need to purchase a better battery in the following year or so.
Make no mistake, it's a contentious point, but I think it’s a compromise that is needed. And if it’s indeed true that the Nintendo Switch, according to reports, won’t accept additional batteries, it would be wise of Nintendo to let us at the very least use portable chargers to juice the device. This may not be the most effective or unobtrusive method of keeping our games alive, but it sure beats plugging it into car adapters or power outlets on the bus.
That being said, battery life won’t matter if your console meets a terrible fate when it slips out of your sweaty, Nintenditus-ridden hands.
2. The Nintendo Seal of Quality
What makes the Nintendo Switch such an interesting piece of tech when it comes to discussions of relocation, is that the console itself is the controller. So if you plan on taking your Switch out with you and you lose or break the device, it’s game over for you. This isn’t like breaking a controller or losing a stylus in the depths of your hungry couch—if something happens to your Switch while on the go, the entire piece of hardware goes with it.
For these reasons I think people may have overlooked the fact that it’s probably wise to set aside money to purchase a decent case or cover for their Switch on release day. Though loss prevention is an issue too complicated to solve, as least you can protect your device from damage. The hybrid nature of the console really does have the potential to present some really odd situations.
I mean, it’s one thing to have a crack or scratch on your 3DS screen, but it's quite another to lug a console back and forth with a scar along its face. Worse still is that consoles are normally permanent fixtures—physical damage to set-top boxes seldom incur physical damage—but because the Switch can be taken out, it would be senseless not to treat it with the utmost care.
As of now there have been a few reports of accessory availability, but none of have caught my attention just yet. Oftentimes consoles or handhelds will launch with a ridiculous number of accessories that reside somewhere between being complete trash and being somewhat useful. Launch accessories mostly boast obnoxious design choices that do nothing to improve their functionality.
Unlike the Wii U GamePad, the Nintendo Switch boasts a sleek, high-quality look that would be a shame to shroud in an ugly, flimsy third-party sleeve. It’s up to Nintendo to sell some quality licensed cases, covers, and screen protectors to accompany the launch of their newest effort. But we’ll have to wait and see—after all, knowing Nintendo, they'll come up with a way to make a $6 screen-protector-and-microfiber-cloth combo a rarity.
3. Pick a Number Please
Yes, that’s right, I’m firing a shot at the big N’s scanty efforts at keeping things in stock. The Wii was virtually impossible to get your hands on back in the day, and in recent years amiibo have been something of a hit-and-miss collectathon. And of course, it goes without saying that the recent release of the NES Classic Edition has certainly been abysmal. The tiny recreations of over-30-year-old hardware are still near impossible to come across. And that makes me worry for the launch of the NX.
Graphics, price, release date, battery life, and launch titles aside, I just want to know that it'll be manageable to pre-order the Nintendo Switch. From the buzz surrounding the rumors of Nintendo’s next console, then called the NX, to the hype leading up to the reveal event, Nintendo have certainly heard the excitement of new and dormant fans alike, haven’t they?
While it’s logical to believe that Nintendo has spent enough time manufacturing a reasonable quantity of Switches, given the shoddy efforts of stocking store shelves with the NES Classic Edition -- a device clearly sought after by fans when it was announced in the summer -- it’s just as logical to conclude that Nintendo will treat us to another game of survival-of-the-clickiest.
Even though Nintendo will likely accept pre-orders for the upcoming device as opposed to the pre-orderless, reservation-less NES Classic, the potential result is still the same: online preorders will sell out almost immediately after the Switch presentation on Thursday as will in-store preorders the following morning.
And while this may all be a game for the devious business people looking to continue the recent Nintendo craze, I think they stand to make a lot of returning fans give up on the whole thing entirely. The Wii U hasn’t been able to attract past Nintendo fans back, and the Switch seems to represent a sort of lighthouse beckoning old fans and serving to establish the aged company’s ability to compete in the modern hardware space. So it’d be a foolish, uncalculated move for them to tamper with the user base they could achieve.
But, as usual, there is no telling what Nintendo will do. Like the rest of these items you should be on the lookout for, Thursday’s Treehouse Live Event will put everything to rest. Let’s hope that Nintendo crushes my concerns and exceeds our expectations. My body is ready.