The Nintendo Switch reveal event was not good. I’m not breaking any new ground with that statement. And, still, I want to pick the Switch up so I can — ahem — share the joy with my family.
So, what went wrong last night? The presentation took no risks, and by taking no risks, it ended up feeling staid. In an ecosystem that is used to Sony and Microsoft’s bombast and focus on games. Looking back at the PS4 reveal event, they talked far more about games than the nuts and bolts of the actual system. That event was a celebration of all things PlayStation, with a focus on games. (Yes, it also featured Mark Cerny and Knack. I didn’t say it was a complete grand slam.) But the main difference: The PS4 event sold me on the system, and the Switch event did not.
Part of this may have also been the diverse audiences the presentation was broadcast to. I’m not attuned to what the Japanese audience expects, but the American audience definitely was disappointed. The translator was terrible and actively detracted from the event, and a handful of titles weren’t even translated — we had to guess about what was just shown.
A lot of the time Nintendo spent explaining the “three modes of play” could have been shortened, via the old adage of “show, don’t tell.” The show started off positively, with the price reveal, date and a few other small announcements. The price is right on-the-money at $300, though I think some of the accessories and controllers are a bit expensive. I’m also still concerned about storage capacity, which was not addressed during the presentation.
They went in-depth on the Joy-Con controllers, in a presentation that could have been more effectively handled through a demonstration of the first revealed game, 1-2-Switch.
The first two games were largely misses, for me, though ARMS does look moderately interesting. Splatoon 2, Super Mario Oddysey and Xenoblade 2 each look cool, and the oddly named Project Octopath Traveler also looks interesting.
But none of them have dates!
We are less than two months from launch, and the only date given during the entire event for a game was Breath of the Wild, which is surely a biggie, but it doesn’t inspire confidence in the overall release schedule. From some research, it looks like launch day should include 1-2-Switch, Breath of the Wild, Skylanders Imaginators and Just Dance 2017. By comparison, the PS4 included 14 retail launch titles and 17 digital games. Of course, many (if not most) of those games were also on the PS3, and none of them compared to a new Zelda. None of PlayStation’s marquee titles were represented at its launch.
In all, the Switch event was a bummer. It did not sell me on getting a Switch, and it may have actually turned many off from getting one. The third party support was underwhelming — though I am excited for FIFA on-the-go.
So why am I still interested?
Simply, I want a Nintendo console, and I think the idea of being able to easily take the actual console experience on vacation is pretty cool. I want to play games with my kids, and Nintendo is still the place to do that.
Throughout 2017, there are five games currently announced for Switch that I plan to get for the system: Zelda, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Sonic Mania and Super Mario Oddysey. Depending on whether NBA 2K18 is feature-complete on the Switch, I might also look into it.
There is still a lot unknown about the console. It clearly isn’t a replacement for PS4 and Xbox One. But it is exactly what I want out of a Nintendo console.