Nintendo is a name that just about everyone knows. Known in the home for its NES, SNES, N64, GameCube and Wii it is also very well known for the its GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, the DS, and the 3DS for on the go gaming. Not all of its products have been overly great successes but that can be happen when a company has been around for as long as they have been. Lesser known and possibly not even considered successes by some are the Wii U, the 2DS and the "New" 3DS. With the lesser known and successful systems being the last ones that were released out on the backs of financial money printers, Nintendo has a lot to prove with its next system as the coat tails they were riding on have lost their wind.
Regardless of how much time I spent on my PlayStation or my PC (as my Xbox is for system specific games), Nintendo still has a special place in my heart as more often than not I'm carrying around a 3DS over my Vita. Wanting to play games in higher definition, I bought myself a "New" 3DS and a Wii U. These more powerful versions were supposed to be a step forward to allow higher end gaming but in the end due to both horrible marketing and lack of releases from both Nintendo AND third parties... what was the point?
"Why buy a Wii U if I have a Wii? What does it do more?"
"What does the "New" 3DS? What does it do that the 3DS doesn't?"
These two big questions are what removed the wind from the sails as honestly? Other than Xenoblade Chronicles' re-release, I can't think of anything else that uses the "New" 3DS's power. The small nub that replaced the circle pad pro is great but not every game uses it. Other than very few releases on the Wii U such as both The Legend of Zelda remakes Wind Waker and Twilight Princess HD, I have the epic Hyrule Warriors from Omega Force / Tecmo Koei and Tokyo Mirage Sessions (Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei (SMT)) from Atlus. That's it. There have been no other real reasons to buy one other than Mario itterations and Mario Kart. The most use that the Wii U has had is playing the older Wii titles with upscalling and more processing power. The "New" 3DS? More power under the hood to run things smoother.
But that's it.
There have been no real reasons to buy these two systems as there's barely been first or third party support. Unlike Sony and Microsoft that followed in Nintendo's wake to make a .5 system, it seems like they may succeed where as Nintendo didn't. The 3DS itself is still going fairly strong and has recently seen releases such as Dragon Quest VII and we've had the newest Fire Emblems but the 3DS's newest version? It was nothing like the move from the DS -> DS Lite -> 3DS -> 3DS XL. It's there but most people don't know it or don't care. That brings us to last Friday.
We've finally had a look at what Nintendo has been working on all this time and I'm personally a little bit torn. It looks intriguing to say the least. A home console that can be brought on the road? Detachable controllers that can simply be slapped on or split between two people like classic NES controllers for a quick multiplayer match? We sometimes forget that we used to game four people around 15~18" screens but from the initial concept things look like they could be good.
It was the first day. System Specifications, Pricing, does it come with a "pro controller" as the second controller or are these sold separately? How long is that battery going to last because the "New" Nintendo 3DS even with a larger battery inserted doesn't last that long even when left in Sleep Mode. These are obviously left up in the air.
They showed us some of the newest Legend of Zelda, some NBA, and surprisingly Skyrim which means the newest HD version will be running on it. Rumors had this system's specs around that of a PS4, which while still being "older" in the tech world is still impressive. The idea of a system like that to be brought out on the go however is something that I'm sure some of us have only dreamed of. Sony's Vita is impressive at times but it still contains nowhere near enough power to play in the same ballpark as the home consoles. Merging both home and on the go could be a major step forward. If it's done right.
First Party support is obviously important but they can only do so much. Third Party support can make or break a system and it broke the Wii U. Everyone pulled out of it some even before launch leaving the first year extremely barren. With the looks of at least one company's sports behind the system and Bethesda, things could already be looking up for the system but like everything else it'll come down to preferences.
Personally, I get multi-platform games on my PlayStation. From there the PC, Xbox, and Nintendo platforms are generally system specifics. That's my personal preference. I think each can learn something from the other such as I love the Xbox's snapping feature that allows me to play games and watch Anime at the same time. The reason I mentioned this is that the Switch is going to need a hell of a reason to get people to jump in and make it their #1 choice. Nintendo is behind the others in terms of online. Digital purchases are essentially system specific. I can't simply log into another one and play whatever I've acquired. Playing Smash Brothers or Mario Kart online was sometimes iffy at best and I'm not talking about Idea Factory's character in the Neptunia games.
One thing that I didn't even notice or even think on until someone mentioned it to me while talking was the distinct lack or touchscreen features. In all but online Nintendo have been in front of the curve, hell they may have even made it. Four Player gaming in the living room, networking playing with multiple handhelds through a system, motion controls, dual screen gaming. The 3DS and the Wii U was all about dual screens and touch screens. Breath of the Wild was going to look amazing because most of the screen would have been the game and the gamepad would be the menus. What of the Switch? Single screen and it didn't look to support any touch whether it be single or multi (cellphones and tablets). Are they moving away from the direction that everything else is moving towards? That like the actual specs, interface and pricing we'll just have to wait and see but like some other features could influence wanting to get one.
Finally, on the back of the interface and online systems... what of digital purchases? On top of there being multiple titles that a lot of people are still waiting for, will anything that has been released for the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS be available for emulated play? Or will people have to either forget about it / buy it again. A lot of little things like this add up and honestly it almost feels like it's the make or break point for Nintendo. Sony and Microsoft are still both going strong and it would be sad for Nintendo to go the way of Sega.
Promoting this new system is going to be just as important as supporting and keeping the support for it. The Wii and the 3DS printed money. The Wii U and the "New" 3DS may have done the inverse. March is not very far away and it's interesting that they would avoid the holidays. This leave five months for all the specs, the first year lineup, and to essentially quote the internet Nintendo had better "hopefully get their ducks in a row because right now they've got squirrels and they're at a rave".
All of this being said? I'm sure I'll wind up getting one... it'll simply be a matter of time. I'm a sucker to play a The Legend of Zelda on a new system.
Article by Pierre-Yves