Nintendo Switch Impressions: Cautious Optimism

The red-blue version of the Nintendo Switch console.
I’m just not ready to buy the Nintendo Switch.
If you have seen my Facebook or Twitter feed in the last week, you’ll notice that I’ve been a little down on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, when the conference first started, I was excited. Believe it or not, Arms caught my attention and the system looks intuitive. However, as the presentation went on, my optimism waned a bit. The more and more I saw, the less I wanted to buy the system day one. And while a majority of people talking about the system expressed quite the opposite, I fear that might be the vocal minority of Nintendo’s core fanbase. To give you a better picture of my thoughts, here are some of my impressions. 

The Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers in red and blue.
Break one Joy-Con controller and pay a pretty penny.

Joy-Cons are Impressive but Expensive

The Joy-Con controllers are the little sticks that could. I’m rather impressive by how much of an improvement they are over the Wii remotes. With 1:1 motion, state-of-the-art sensors, and traditional buttons, these might be the perfect controls. However, if you want to replace or buy another, that’s an issue. Take a look at this:

  • Pro Controller: $69.99
  • Joy-Con Controllers: $79.99
  • Single Joy-Con Controller: $49.99
  • Charging Grip: $29.99

Yikes, my wallet is screaming at me right. These are heavy hits for those who want more controllers or to play with the pro controller.

The Nintendo Switch's touchscreen.
The touchscreen is back.

The Switch Has a Touchscreen

One of my biggest fears was that the Switch wouldn’t have a touchscreen. And since Nintendo did not present any games using such a feature, I thought my greatest fear was realized. That was until someone on Twitter was able to correct me. It is one of the features that I think makes the Switch intuitive for gamers who aren’t so keen to play with motion controllers. Hopefully, we will see more 3DS styled games on the system.

Undocked Switch Doesn’t Last Long

3 hours. Max.

That is how long the battery life of the Switch last undocked. I’m sure it will get some far, but that is not a lot of time for people who expect to game on the go. And if you have seen the size of the charger, only the most die-hard fan will think to carry it with them all of the time.

The logo for Super Mario Odyssesy
Looking forward to Mario Odyssey later this year.

Future Games Look Great

Nintendo seems to have peppered their content for the Switch throughout the year. As always, their first party games excited and amazed. I eagerly look forward to playing Splatoon 2, Mario Odyssey, and Breath of the Wild. There are even some third-party titles like Shin Megami Tensei and Ultra Street Fight II that caught my attention.

However, from what I have seen in the presentation, Nintendo hasn’t quite won over third-party developers. Otherwise, you would see announce you would have seen announcements of this year’s most highly anticipated games (Resident Evil 7, Injustice 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Mass Effect Andromeda, etc.). Instead, what Nintendo showed was ports of old games like Skyrim, Disgaea 5, and Rayman Legends.

That Launch Lineup Is Lacking

I will say this once again, I will not buy the Switch for just the Legend of Zelda. I need to know that a console will satisfy me in the long run before I drop $300 on it. I also believe that a game like 1-2 Switch should’ve been a pack-in game. I understand that keeping the price down required selling the console alone. And it does make sense what Reggie Fils-Aimé says, “We wanted to enable the consumer to buy the software they want, to look to get to the most approachable price point we could get to.” However, that statement hinges on having a strong launch lineup. Which isn’t quite that great.

Details about the Nintendo Switch's online subscription plan.
Free for only a month?

I’m Skeptical About Their Online Subscription Service

Nintendo announced an online subscription service, which is to be expected. However, there is still too much we don’t know about it. So far my biggest concerns are pricing and free games. Yes, the service will be free until the fall, and depending on what they offer (aside from the ability to play online), it might not be worth paying for. The service offers free NES and SNES games a month, but only for that month. You only have a limited time to play these “free” games. If the price is anything above $30 a year, then Nintendo will have trouble getting people to buy in.

Overall, I might not buy the Switch until the end of the year, when it has a significant amount of games or a bundled package. For now, it looks like I am going to have to stick to my PS4 and Xbox One.

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