Nintendo Switch: Fact vs Theory | E-I-C Speaks

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On this episode of E-I-C Speaks, I want to talk about the push and pull of the Nintendo Switch. Outlined are the facts that we currently know about based on the 3 minute preview trailer and the theories that I have surrounding these facts. The video embedded will go further into my thoughts.

Fact: The Nintendo Switch is a home console/handheld hybrid.

This means that no matter what type of gamer you are, this console suits your needs – hypothetically. If you don’t game outside of your house, leave it docked. If you travel and move around a lot, take it with you. This time around, the gimmick is choice and freedom, whereas in the past, Nintendo’s gimmick hindered the overall player’s experience. For example, with the Wii U, second screen functionality was forced on you, whereas with the Switch, it is not. The gimmick makes sense because the gimmick is essentially play how you want.

  • Theory: The Nintendo Switch being a hybrid could possibly mean the end of long game droughts as Nintendo will have to focus on one singular device versus two. Back in 2013, Nintendo merged both their handheld and their console development teams. I’m assuming it was due to what we now know is the Nintendo Switch. If this is the case, this means there will be a higher chance for Nintendo exclusives to be released more frequently. This means no more Nintendo Wii U level droughts, so even if let’s say, third party developers find that developing for Nintendo Switch isn’t for them, which I hope isn’t the case, Nintendo’s own games would be enough to keep Nintendo Switch players entertained when paired with a gaming rig or other console. Let’s be honest guys, as cool as the Nintendo Switch looks, it will likely be another companion console which has been Nintendo’s MO since the Nintendo 64.

Fact: Nintendo Switch will be using game cartridges.

This means that Nintendo wants to bring back the focus on plug and play, a convenience factor that consoles have shied away from in current time. Consoles today have been so focused on being baby PCs, that they’ve been losing out on the biggest convenience of what makes console great. Plugging it in and playing it immediately.

  • Theory: The Switch will likely have very low on board memory due to Nintendo’s history, attempt at keeping the cost low, and what rumors have been saying (which honestly have been very close to the end product). However, I think it will likely also have a cloud storage component based on some patents we have seen in the past and mumblings about what DeNA’s partnership will bring to Nintendo devices. The cloud gaming component could likely be a part of DeNA’s position in all of this and could be how they plan to implement virtual console gaming, Wii U/3DS backwards compatibility, and the storing of games that do not fit on the console’s on board memory.

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Fact: Nintendo Switch boasts a large list of third party partners.

So far the large list of third party partners include EA, Activision, Bethesda – of all developers, Take-Two Interactive, WB Games, Square Enix, and more. Epic Games have also pledged their support in helping developers utilize Unreal Engine 4 on the Nintendo Switch.

  • Theory: My theory is that Nintendo may not get all third party multiplatform games, but it will get some, along the lines of the Nintendo Gamecube – which could ultimately be enough for most gamers. I don’t expect overwhelming support because I’m assuming that Nintendo has sacrificed power for freedom – though they do now have a more modern architecture that gives them a fighting chance. I’m also assuming that the tablet itself will probably be around Xbox One-tier based on rumors and it’s size. That said, this is good enough, but not preferred considering the Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro are right around the corner.

Fact: There were no children or families in the Switch preview trailer.

In a previous episode of E-I-C Speaks, I discussed that Nintendo has undergone management changes over the summer, giving their different regions more autonomy and control over the way that they deliver the message about Nintendo’s products leading to a more audience-focused rhetoric. It seems that with the Nintendo Switch preview, the “to-the-point” message, could be a result of all regions coming up with one conclusion on how to get the point across and exciting most gamers worldwide.

  • Theory: Based on what we saw from the preview trailer, Nintendo is targeting their adult audience this go round. If you noticed, there were no families nor children in the reveal trailer. I think that since the preview kicked it off this way, it could potentially be a trend with the way that they message the system going forward. I do think that down the line they will market to children for games that make sense, but I see more of a return to Wii era marketing, which included people of all ages showcasing how cool the new device is. I also think that although they will target adults this time, the games we see from Nintendo will remain the same – more Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, and the other typical games we usually see from Nintendo. This isn’t a bad thing, however, as I love those games, but I do think Nintendo will still keep the core of who they are and how they make their games.

Fact: The Nintendo Switch is powered by Nvidia and is based off of their Tegra based mobile chips.

  • Theory: My theory is that the Switch is going to be pseudo-modular. Either the docking base which is what transmits the picture to the TV acts as a supplemental computing device (as patents suggest) or maybe the Nintendo Switch tablet can be interchangeable like the Nvidia Shield tablets. Meaning, that if Nintendo ever chose to do so, they could always release another more powerful tablet to keep up with the quickly evolving tech market. The Switch removes the “set box” of typical console gaming. Upgrading the Switch could effectively be as simple as changing your graphics card. I’m also theorizing that since Nvidia is the force behind the console’s GPU, there’ll be some Nvidia tablet influence that could lead to features like Nvidia Gamestream, Nvidia’s remote play from PC service, and Shadowplay, Nvidia’s live streaming and gameplay recording service.

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Nintendo Switch Thoughts in Closing

As far as my personal opinion is concerned, I’m still on the fence until Nintendo shows us the launch window library. I think the Nintendo Switch could be a win/win for most gamers due to the freedom and versatility it promises, but it also rests solely in Nintendo’s hands and if they play their cards right. I also think it’s smart that Nintendo is playing on their strengths – mobile, and knows who buys their devices most – their handheld fan base. I think they’ve found a way to satisfy their handheld fan base without stepping on the toes of their home console users like myself. With the Nintendo Switch, it’s going to essentially appeal to people who loved the 3DS, but hated the Wii U. Or even those who loved both.

All of these theories that I have discussed have been solely based on my own opinion, as well as patents, or actual real things that have been going on within Nintendo over the past 5 years.

Discuss with me what you think the Nintendo Switch could have under the hood, concerns you may have, and things that I may have missed altogether.