When the Wii came out it shocked the gaming world. It set sales records that nobody but perhaps Nintendo themselves could envision. It was a console that had a very unique remote for a controller, that also heavily featured motion controls as the way to play, and not just buttons as we all were used to. The PS3 and 360 were much more powerful, HD capable beasts that had more normal controllers, and so from the outside looking in it seemed that those two would run off with things leaving the Wii a distant memory. But people liked one of two things a lot about the Wii: It was affordable, and it also offered a form of gameplay that, while gimmicky (it’s a gimmick I don’t care how much fun it is, it’s a gimmick) was fun as well. People wanted that and they rewarded Nintendo with the win in that generation of gaming.
Fast forward to the sequel console, the Wii U, which offered more uniqueness in the controller that not only had motion controls but also featured a tablet controller with buttons. And it looked like it could have a good run as well in spite of it being way behind the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of power and raw numbers, like before, but that wasn’t mean to be. Many people though the tablet was an extension to the existing Wii and not an entirely new console, and Nintendo frankly dropped the ball on advertising it enough to make it stand out against not only Sony and Microsoft but also against their past efforts. So it floundered and the Xbox One and PS4, both of which were released later than the Wii U, have exceeded it in sales, and the Wii U will never catch them, it’ll never happen.
Now we go to a time when both Microsoft through their Scorpio console and Sony through their PS4 Pro console are unleashing *ascloseasyoucanget* 4K gaming and more power, much more in line with a PC rather than a traditional console. They both are having massive successes with their current consoles as well. Both have released other models as well, such as the PS4 Slim and the Xbox One S. Nintendo couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. They haven’t been around in gaming this long without a plan and they unleashed it in the form of a new console, named the Nintendo Switch, which is truly a Wii U 2.0. You play games on the TV with a controller when the tablet is installed in the dock (which you can see in the trailer here) and can become a portable gaming machine when you take it with you on the run, and you can even play with friends on the run with it too.
To be perfectly honest it looks cool, I think it’s a step up for Nintendo. But is it too little too late? I mean what it is, no matter what you try to throw at me, is a Wii U 2.0. That’s it. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I love the Wii U and think it’s a great little console. But still, why are we just NOW getting what it should have been? I’m not sure it’ll have good staying power is my concern. It has no mention of VR around it and whether you want to believe it or not the VR world is taking off and has strong potential to be a major part of gaming for the future. It’s really just starting but I don’t think it’ll fade away, especially if prices eventually become a bit lower overall. Nintendo hasn’t really mentioned much about VR with this new tablet console and that’s concerning, at least to me.
And what about 4K? Is it needed? No, it isn’t to be frank, at all. But it does allow a game to have better colors, have better framerates (which is important for sure), have more detail in a game that is on a 4K system vs a normal one, and to the best of what we know, the Switch won’t hold up a candle there. It doesn’t have to; the Wii was an under powered console and did just fine, but so was the Wii U and it flopped. So there is that to keep in mind, both in argument for and against the future of Nintendo’s new console. I think it does have a chance to be something and be a success for the Big N, ‘specially when you consider that they are releasing Mario for smartphones and that’ll lead to more and more in that field from them; that’ll have to net them some serious cash, which in turn can be applied to the Switch; more money is always a help.
Nintendo is in a good position in the phone world for sure, no doubt they’ll see some great numbers there. But what about the Switch? I think it’ll set better numbers than the Wii U for sure, but with a major lack of VR support (unless it’s a great secret they’re keeping from us right now) and 4K I’m just not sure it’ll ever catch what Microsoft and Sony are doing. For crying out loud there will be more than 50 million PS4’s in peoples homes worldwide when the Switch arrives and I find it very, VERY hard to believe Nintendo will gain that 50 million and surpass them, not with all the awesome exclusives and VR the PS4 offers. I mean Crash 1-3 remakes? Final Fantasy VII (even if it’s only a timed exclusive)? God of War? Gran Turismo? KH3? Final Fantasy XV? Yeah, Nintendo won’t be overcoming that anytime soon, even if some of those games make their way to the Switch. There is no doubt. But I do believe Nintendo is in good shape with their future in the smartphone world so who knows? We may see something great from them down the road and maybe the Switch’ll offer VR and whatnot as time moves on. I hope so.