It has been 16 years since Nintendo has done something like this.
Over the past couple of years, Nintendo has released gaming consoles such as the Wii and the Wii U to ‘expand its audience’. But now for the first time since 2001, Nintendo has plans of releasing a gaming console that caters only to the ‘die-hard Nintendo gamers’. Proof of this? The fact that they are rekindling the lost flames of their hottest franchises from the 90s (Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II and Bomberman).
The Switch is set to launch on the 3rd of March and the nature and choice of the games available on it are far from radical, to say the least. Only 5 games will release at the time of the launch and will be accompanied by 30 more titles this year, all with mostly throwback style graphics and Japanese role-playing games (think Dragon Quest, Super Mario 64 and Zelda).
Moving on to the console itself, Nintendo has created the Switch in such a way that it can be connected to a television for the big screen experience or even be played on the go as a portable gaming device. The Nvidia-powered-tablet-console resembles a PSP and will be available for $200.
If you look at the bigger picture, the type of hardware that the Switch uses means that its software is unique. Now, this creates two problems, one being that Gaming companies will have to make games specific for this software and the second being that they probably won’t. Max to max, they will probably reconfigure the software of existing games to suit the hardware of the Switch, an investment that doesn’t seem smart given the target audience of the console.
Another issue that Nintendo may face with the launch of this console is- will the target audience even go for the Switch in the first place? Given the current environment in the gaming industry, expectations are high with technologies such as Virtual Reality being expected to penetrate the industry in a big way. Moreover, the console has no groundbreaking features. As such, is a throwback technology really the way forward? Or even if it is, will gamers switch from the much-loved Call of Duty type franchise of their X-Box or Playstation for the graphically and experientially inferior Mario?
Well, the good news is that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mario.