Opinion: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s “Dreamcast Moment”

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The metaphorical derailed hype train...

The metaphorical derailed hype train…

Everybody has had their 2 cents worth on this one, so I thought I’d jump on this derailed hype train.

Games

I’ll start with the most important aspect of a game console, the games.

I couldn’t be less hyped over this lineup.

Bomberman is one of those games you think you liked growing up, but when you play it now you’re bored after 5 minutes and frustrated by the game mechanics. There are some hardcore Bomberman fans out there, fine, it’ll be their bag, but the only reason to care about a Bomberman announcement is rose tinted glasses or fanboi-ism.

1-2-Switch: Urmm yeah, looks fun. Will be fun for 20 minutes like WiiSports was. It won’t offer any depth, and shouldn’t sell as anything other than a pack-in title.

Skylanders: I’m not 8. The game isn’t for me.

Dancey McFuckTheseGames: Not for me, I don’t think the people that buy these games will buy a console for a rehashed version, but I could be wrong.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Looks awesome, not buying a console for one game though.

I am Setsuna and Binding of Isaac, both great games, both available on EVERY other console I own, not a reason to buy a Switch.

Further afield

Games announced during the launch window.

Puyo Puyo Tetris: A Tetris game, I like Tetris, but there are only so many Tetris rehashes I could possibly want to own.

The Boxing game (Arms): Could be good if they make a full boxing game, with 12 rounds and proper motion. But they haven’t, so we’ll get something that is a slight improvement on the Wii Sports boxing game. Fun for 5 minutes, but lacks reason to play as the winner will be the person who can flail most.

Splatoon 2: I didn’t bother with WiiU so never played the first. People like it, could be good.

Skyrim remastered version 78: STOP REMAKING SKYRIM. I can’t imagine there is anybody left in the world that hasn’t played it who wants to, especially since the XBone and PissPoor just got more HD-y remakes.

Mario Odyssey: While undoubtedly it’ll be perfect, because all Mario games are. It certainly isn’t a reason enough for me to buy a Switch.

Fire Emblem: I have never played one as of writing, but just bought a Gameboy Advance so i can play the 2003 remake. If i like the series it might a reason much further down the line to buy a Switch.

Minecraft… I was an Alpha/Beta tester on this, I was bored of Minecraft 6-7 years ago.

Sonic Mania: I think we have made our thoughts clear on pretty much everything Sonic has done since 1995 on this site.

There are others, but I won’t cover everything, but as it is, there are four titles coming out in 2017 I am potentially interested in (Zelda, Mario, Fire Emblem, and Splatoon 2), there just isn’t enough there to warrant dropping £279 ($299) on.

The console

Right, so Cost…

I personally think £279 ($299) is too much. Especially with the current game lineup.

Graphics

As Zelda will run at something like 900p when Docked, and 720p in Mobile Mode [Source: IGN], you’re not even hitting bog standard 1080 which was the standard 4 years ago, people are screaming for 4k. It seems daft to me. It will mean it is a pain for developers, as they have to make things in a different format, and requires more work to downscale graphics. Something that isn’t going to happen.

Touch screen, the fact that Nintendo wouldn’t really confirm this until very late suggests even they are not convinced by touchscreen…

switch-gamepad

Peripherals

Pahahahahahahahaha!

  • $69 for a proper fucking control pad!
  • $79 for extra Joy-Cons
  • $50 for a spare Left/Right Joy-Con
  • $30 for a Joy-Con charge pad

FUCK RIGHT OFF. If I want to play Arms, the boxing game, I’m needing to drop $299 on the console, $79 on the extra pads, and a game price ($59 on Amazon). This adds up to $437 to play two players. This is currently £349 in UK prices.

I also guarantee some games will REQUIRE the Pro-Pad, so you will probably have to factor in that $69 for the Pro-Pad.

Prices based on Nintendo’s own website[Source].

Prices on 23/01/2017

Prices on 23/01/2017

Sales Figures and other really exciting numbers

I am honestly worried this is Nintendo’s “Dreamcast Moment”, the WiiU bombed with 13 million worldwide sales [Source: Wikipedia]. The Saturn sold about 9.2 million units, and the Dreamcast sold slightly less at 9.1 million. So you can see the potential disaster on the horizon, unless the WiiU is selling 20 – 30 million at launch.

The biggest selling game on WiiU was  Mario Kart 8, with 8 million sales and only 3 other games sold 5 million+ (Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Super Mario 3D World) [Source: Wikipedia], granted these figures are better than the best selling game for the Sega Saturn (Virtua Fighter with 2.5 million sales), or the Dreamcast (Sonic Adventure [AHAHAHAHA] with 2.5 million).

Problem here is costs to develop have undeniable spiraled since 1999 as we have seen more than a tenfold increase [Source VG Wiki] between the 5th console generation (PS1/N64 era) and now. It means no Triple A Developer is going to want to drop $20 – $50 million in development costs on a console that isn’t guaranteed to sell (or selling), and we can see that 3rd party devs aren’t on-board from the game line up for the first 10 months [Source: Gamespot].

Developers could very easily be in a situation like Sega were, with Shenmue, in that every Dreamcast owner needed to buy 2 copies to break even on the game. This leaves indie devs, which while I love the indie scene, you can buy these games much easier, much cheaper, and MUCH quicker on other platforms, and isn’t a reason to buy a Switch.

The alternative for larger developers like Capcom is to release easy to churn out stuff, like half-arsed Resident Evil games (Umbrella Chronicles), or ports (RE4). Or, in this instance… Street Fighter II again…

Interestingly, Nintendo Consoles have been also been declining since the original NES too, if we ignore the Wii:

  • NES: 62 million units
  • SNES: 50 million units
  • Nintendo 64: 33 million units
  • Gamecube: 22 million units
  • Wii: 102 million
  • WiiU: 13 million

That is a pretty steady decline over 20 years, if you ignore the “blip” that was the Wii. But those numbers are something that would make your accountant have a heart attack.

Conclusion

I want Switch to succeed, I like that Nintendo do things their own way, but they needed to broaden their appeal and stop relying on their own stuff, you need to do something different with the games, and with this lineup, they haven’t. So the only people this console is currently appealing to are fanbois. This isn’t an attack on Nintendo fans, but Nintendo need to appeal to more than the 13 million people who bothered to buy the WiiU.

As we stand, I was a “I’m buying Switch at launch” person, then with the game announcements I am “I’ll see what is happening in 18 months – 2 years time”, I don’t think the omens are good.

Let’s hope Nintendo are still with us in 5 years time.

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