By: Andrew Lister
Today is a really exciting day for Nintendo fanboys! Nintendo surprised the world when it dropped a YouTube video seemingly out of nowhere that gave us our first look at their newest video game console, the Nintendo Switch. The hype comes after what many would consider a less-than-stellar performance of their last console, the Wii U. In case you somehow missed last year’s video, give it a watch below. You won’t be disappointed.
I could go on and on for hours about how excited I am for the console, but I think I’ll save a lot of that for when I finally get my hands on it in March. The goal of this article instead will be to focus on what we hope to hear from the official Nintendo presentation later today.
The System’s Cost
When the Wii U launched back in 2012, there were two different versions: the basic and deluxe set. The basic system came with an 8 GB hard drive and cost $249.99 while the deluxe, which came with a 32 GB drive and a copy of Nintendo Land, originally cost $349.99. At the time, Nintendo’s touted a lower priced system than their competitors Sony and Microsoft. Although some criticized Nintendo for putting out a machine that lacked the power of the Playstation or Xbox, the smaller price tag worked to Nintendo’s advantage.
This time around, Nintendo finds itself in a strange place. They’re releasing a new console far ahead of their competitors (unless you count the upgraded versions of the Playstation and Xbox), and the system will still not rival the specs of the Big Two. Since the PS4 and Xbox One have been out for some time now, Nintendo’s device will have to be about the same price. Rumors suggest the system may retail for around $249.99. Depending on the games, battery life of the handheld, and a few other key factors, this would be a more than reasonable price to debut the system.
The Wii U was not a powerhouse of a system. However, graphics and processing have never really been Nintendo’s focus. People don’t buy Nintendo for amazing, realistic graphics; they buy their systems for the innovative and enjoyable games. That being said, the Wii U ran a 1.24 GHz IBM Espresso CPU with 2 GB DDR3 memory and a 550 MHz AMD Radeon graphics card. When you compare this to something like the PS4, which has a 8-core AMD Jaguar with 1.6 GHz processing power and 8 GB GDDR5 RAM, you can see the difference.
Will the Nintendo Switch surpass the Playstation 4 and Xbox One? Probably not. If anything, this is a chance for Nintendo to play catch up and get on par with the other two systems. For those that get a hard-on for bigger processing numbers, this might be a turn off, but the important thing here for the Switch is to have a system that will be fun to play and get more third party support than its predecessor.
Sources have reported that the Switch will run the last-generation NVidia Maxwell processor. This means that the Switch will certainly not be the next big graphical phenomenon. However, it does mean that we will see plenty of options for third party developers that make more realistic games to showcase their products on Nintendo’s new system. Again, I don’t really need to see every fiber of hair or feather detail of my Pokemon to have an enjoyable gaming experience.
Nintendo lives and dies by its games. The Wii U suffered from a severe lack of both first and third party content. I’m not saying that there weren’t some great games for the Wii U, however. We got two really good Mario titles, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3, Star Fox Zero, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and the brand new franchise Splatoon.
As far as first party games go, we know that we’re getting the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which I’m more than excited to play. We also saw scenes of a brand new Mario title in the video above. Aside from those games, Nintendo has an opportunity to come out swinging with some surprising potential titles.
The last major Metroid game we got was Metroid: Other M back on the Wii. Can you imagine how in depth a new Metroid game could be on the Nintendo Switch? Splatoon 2 would be a ton of fun as well and could really build on the franchise. And what about a complete surprise revival, such as a new Kid Icarus or F-Zero game? I’d be down for a fresh take on old classics.
And since the Nintendo Switch is going to be part handheld system, what about games that were exclusive to the DS/3DS family? There have been whispers of a console Pokemon game, which would be amazing, but Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem could make for some really amazing games as well.
Above all else, Nintendo really needs to cater to and bring in third party companies. They need to aim to get at least some of the major releases that drop on the other two systems. This will ensure that more people pick up the Switch and help keep it alive longer. Sure, I’ll play old games like Skyrim on the Switch, but new games are key. Also, the ability to play many of these games on the may draw people away from Sony and Microsoft and back to Nintendo.
We already have a general idea of when the Nintendo Switch will reach store shelves. It was previously announced that Nintendo’s new console would debut in March 2017. Now that we’re in the middle of January, the big question is exactly when we’ll be able to collectively throw our money at Nintendo.
We can only hope that Nintendo has all their ducks in a row and is ready to release the Switch in early March. My only worry is that we get tonight's presentation and for some reason they move back the launch date.
Watch Tonight's Presentation
So when and where can we watch Nintendo's live broadcast about the Switch?
Well, Nintendo is streaming their broadcast live from their offices in Japan, so if you're in America, you can watch the stream on January 12th at 11 pm EST/8 pm PST. For our fans in the United Kingdom, you'll have to catch it in the wee hours of the morning at 4 am the next day.
You can watch the broadcast in one of three places:
Are you excited for the Nintendo Switch? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or join our Discord Channel and talk in the #gaming section! I'll be back later this week with my thoughts on tonight's presentation!
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