This past weekend I had the chance to spend a bit of quality time with the Switch. While I love a lot about it, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Many times I found myself scratching my head asking “Why is so much missing from the launch of the Switch?”. Where are the games? Where are the apps to enjoy on the handheld? Where is the functionality we demand in 2017? Simply put, if you don’t love the Zelda franchise or don’t own a Wii U, wait on the Nintendo Switch.
Remember when Xbox One launched and their goal was to have a home console that could do everything for you? While not the best at getting their message across, Microsoft still offered a product that gave you the functionality to watch TV through the HDMI port. They gave you the ability to stream media through YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video, etc. You could use your Kinect to Skype, record yourself and then upload your videos to YouTube.
PS4 was more deliberate with their goal of giving you a gaming machine and not worrying about the rest. They struck a cord with gamers and their sales figures show it. Despite going in and adding a lot more than just gaming since then, it does its job well and they’re to be commended for knowing their audience at launch.
Which brings me to the Nintendo Switch. At launch there are 9 items on the Nintendo eShop. They are all the launch games and few digital only games. There are 0 items available from an app standpoint. No apps to watch streaming video, no apps to view pictures or listen to music. Literally nothing. This brings me to my question. Was the Nintendo Switch ready to launch and if not, why didn’t it launch in Summer or Fall of 2017? You have to remember that there was a lot of rumors and leaks about what the Switch was, but hardware power and even software releases were held under guard really well. When the announcement was made that the console would launch in March of 2017 people were surprised that it would be launching so soon. So why the rush?
What if Zelda wasn’t a launch title, how well would it do? I’m afraid to say the Switch would not have been a day 1 purchase from me. I would have waited. There are even elements with Zelda that could have used some cleaning up if Nintendo had waited to launch the console. After all, we waited through numerous delays for Zelda to release. Lets not forget it was supposed to be released inside of the life cycle of the Nintendo Wii U…
Which brings me to my point. If you own a Wii U buy the game on Wii U and wait till the library of the Switch grows and you have some solid games to play. In a time where the average gamer has a purchased or to be purchased backlog stretching a mile long, there’s no need to rush out and grab one. 2017 is a great time to be a gamer, even more if you own multiple platforms in gaming.
I found myself not falling in love with the joy cons but the Switch Pro Controller instead. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to playing with the joy cons when docked, unless forced to in a multiplayer game. When off the dock the joy cons take a bit of time getting used to, even more if you’re not a handheld gamer as I found myself stretching to reach buttons at times and bumping my fingers on the bumper and triggers. It’s not bad, but the Switch plays a lot more comfortable with the Pro controller vs. Handheld.
While I don’t hate the Switch, I do wish a lot more thought was put into launching the console with at least a bit more software and apps that could be used outside of just gaming. Previous and current Nintendo handheld and home console options offer a lot more. It’s a weird feeling to launch something so bare.
Gaming since the Atari 2600 and owning about every console stateside since.