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Why The Nintendo Switch Will Fail

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Nintendo recently had a press conference unveiling a plethora of details regarding their new console, the Nintendo Switch. Launching on March 3rd, the Switch has taken the gaming community by storm, with pre-orders sold out across all major U.S. retailers. While many are stoked about the new system, there are also many tell tale signs that not only will the Switch fail, but that it will most likely be Nintendo’s last foray in the home console market. Now, to preference, as a huge fan of Nintendo, growing up playing and owning a myriad of their games and consoles, by no means do I want them to fail. There are just too many similarities to the flop that was the Wii U that constitute this notion.

First, let’s start with the actually hardware itself. Nintendo didn’t specify any of the actual specs of the system, but it’s clear that it doesn’t quite have the horsepower as it’s competitors in the Xbox One or the PS4. Graphically, it’s akin to a PS3.5, and it’s eerily reminiscent to the Wii, and the Wii U. Sure, the Wii was a tremendous success, but essentially it was just a fad. The Wii U had a lot of trouble selling because it was an underpowered system, and most third party companies weren’t going to bother with having to make an underwhelming port of a PS4 or Xbox One game. Furthermore, while the Xbox One, PS4, and even the PS3, utilize Blu-Ray to store their games, the Switch is using a game card. That may help with load times, and negate the tedious method of game installations, but obviously won’t hold as much memory as a Blu-Ray disk. This shows the inability that Nintendo has in creating a console that’s on par with the competition.

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This segues to my next point, the price. $299 is just too expensive for a console that’s only perk is the ability to take it on the go. At the same price as the Xbox One S and PS4 Slim, it just doesn’t have the added value that the other consoles have. Both are more than just a game console, they’re multimedia hubs. Which brings me to the gimmick, yes gimmick, of console portability. Something that the PS4 and PS Vita can do, albeit not to the same level, with remote play. Many people will say that it’s an added perk for people who live in mass transit cities, or for parents to give their children for a long car ride. But after working in New York City for over six weeks, who would risk bringing that on the E or F Train during rush hour? A more reasonable price to me would be $200 or at the most $250. At least it gives you the edge vs the competition when it comes to the price, and that could potentially sway customers looking to save some money.

Next on the list of things wrong with the Nintendo Switch is the controller, or joy con as they call it. The thing is just horribly ugly, and it’s much too small. When will Nintendo finally realize that nobody cares about motion control, and that gamers want to use regular controllers. I don’t want to snap my controller in half and give a piece of it to my friend to play local multiplayer games. And I don’t want to have to buy a “pro” controller for $70 just to have a normal gaming experience. It’s just another dumb gimmick that Nintendo is oh so famous for.

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Last, but not least, regarding why the Nintendo Switch will fail, is because of the lack of triple A, third party support. There’s no doubt that Zelda, Mario, and whatever other first party Nintendo games get released on this system will be all-time classics. It was the same on the Gamecube, Wii, and Wii U. The difference being that since the Gamecube was more powerful than the PS2, it had a higher amount of third party support, including ports. People are excited about Skyrim and NBA 2K17 being ported over, but it’s quite apparent that this trend isn’t going to last. Like the Wii and Wii U, the power of the hardware just doesn’t compare to the competition, so third party companies aren’t going to keep wasting time or money to make or bring over games that aren’t up to snuff. If triple A games are ported over, they may have some issues, lack of certain content, and won’t be the console of choice for multi-platform games. With the Xbox One and PS4, sure they have Gears or War and Uncharted, but a vast majority of their success is because of the abundance of third party games like Overwatch, Battlefield 1, and Grand Theft Auto V.

So to reiterate, I don’t want the Nintendo Switch to fail. The gaming world honestly seems like it’s in nirvana when Nintendo is on top. But the company has made so many of the same mistakes and errors that plagued the Wii U, and sure there’s a tremendous amount of initial fanfare, but how long is that going to last? The dominos are seemingly set to fall in a bad way for the Mario makers, and it’s all brought upon themselves. This was their chance to cut the stupid gimmicks, create a powerful console, and make a huge splash in the gaming world. Alas, this is all pointing to the signs of the Wii U 2.0, and nobody, I repeat, nobody, wants that.

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2 replies »

  1. Also, as a side note, I’ve been commuting to NYC to work for over 6 years and can tell you that the Switch travels just as well as the Vita or 3DS, of which I also have 🙂

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  2. I realize this article is a few months old and so your opinions have changed.. but I’d still like to rebuttal some of the points.

    > Not a competitor to the PS4/XBone because it uses carts.
    This is a completely different device than the PS4/Xbone and the “console wars” are really between Sony and MS, with Nintendo doing their entirely separate thing.

    > This shows the inability that Nintendo has in creating a console that’s on par with the competition
    PS4/XB are not the competition. They are competing against each other. They also are cheaper to produce and have had years to bring those costs down to maximize profit margin. Neither MS or Sony have a portable console [that they care about]. You are comparing a two cars with a boat, and claiming the boat sucks because it’s got bad steering, ignoring the fact that cars can’t float in the ocean.

    >”At the same price as the Xbox One S and PS4 Slim, it just doesn’t have the added value that the other consoles have”

    You mean like the value of being able to play it in more than one place? That “added value” you claim it doesn’t have is exactly what it *does* have. I would not have bought a Switch if not for the added value that it is portable. It is not a portable AND a home console. So I don’t have to buy two separate devices. If you want the functionality of the Switch (or “value” as you put it) of being able to game on the go, but on a PS4, you need to buy a $300 PS4 and a $200 Vita. $500 vs. $300. Plus you need WiFi to remote play on the Vita. I really don’t understand this argument at all.

    > Power vs. competition
    It’s 2017 and power doesn’t make a game console in the same way graphics don’t make a game. It’s like buying a sports car and worrying about how fast it can go from 0-60. I just care if it’s fun to drive. Nintendo doesn’t care about how powerful their system is. If it was more powerful, it would sacrifice battery life. Then people would complain about the battery life. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    > Price of console is too expensive for a console with only perk being portable.
    It is a home console that can be portable and a portable that can be a home console. That sounds like 2 perks to me. Oh yeah, and it can be played anywhere, by 2 people, since it has 2 JoyCons attached. There’s a third perk. Anyway, the cost of the parts is quite high because of all the functionality they have. Read somewhere it costs over $260 to manufacture each Switch, meaning Nintendo is making practically nothing on the sale when you subtract distribution and retailer costs. The cost to produce will drop over time, but they’ll still make next to nothing. This is not uncommon for console releases.

    > Price point of accessories is too expensive
    Accessories (and games) are where Nintendo makes up for razor thin margins on the main console hardware. They still need to make money somewhere.

    > Motion control is a gimmick
    Agreed, but it can be turned off in most games, and only a very low number of games rely on motion (1-2-Switch…).

    > It’s similar to the WiiU
    It’s the exact opposite of the WiiU. It’s portable, WiiU was not, unless being in close proximity to the base still counts as portability. It’s not bulky, and the battery life is pretty good for what it is.

    > Lack of third party support
    Open the eShop, there are dozens more third party games than first and it’s only been out for a month and a half.

    > Portability is a “gimmick”
    gimmick: a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business

    Motion controls are a gimmick. 3D is a gimmick (as in the 3DS). In other words, “party tricks”. Portability is not a gimmick. It’s a basic trait of the device. Touch controls are also not a gimmick – it’s the method of controlling a device. In this example, cell phones, laptops, and anything that has a battery and can be carried from one place to another is a “gimmick”. If we’re going to call portability a gimmick, than VR is also a gimmick, meaning that all three of the big consoles are relying on gimmicks.

    All of this coming from someone who’s first blog post was called “I’ve about had it with your gimmicks, Nintendo”. Seriously! This is the first time they _haven’t_ relied on a gimmick in years.

    The form factor is entirely different than the WiiU, even if it has a handheld screen. The games rely on a single screen and not a large screen + a small screen, like the WiiU. This made it difficult for developers to include the WiiU in XB/PS4 games, particularly third parties, since they typically develop engines for the different consoles, then design the game on this common ground that shares that same engine. When you add a second screen like the WiiU did, it adds much more development and testing time, as you need an entirely separate set of features for one test case. Hence you had plenty of XB/PS4 games, or WiiU exclusives, but rarely were games released for all three simultaneously.

    The Switch also adds support for two of the most common engines out there, Unreal and Unity, which is why AAA support is through the roof and games are being released constantly.

    I’d be interested in hearing a followup on this article now that the Switch has come out! Lots of things can change in a few months and post-release, particularly opinions. I also really want the Switch to succeed, and I think so far Nintendo has done a great job. I also think that they do stupid things a lot, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that they keep up the good work.

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