Like all media, the video game industry is an ever-changing and evolving platform. Over time, dedicated developers have continued to open up new ways to play games using smartphones, PCs, and consoles.
Just recently, the emergence of virtual reality technology has taken the world by storm with the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift.
Long-time hardware development companies such as Microsoft and Sony work diligently to improve their Xbox and PlayStation home console lines respectively with the recent releases of the mid-generational upgrades Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Pro. These companies have managed to pack the most power into a gaming system that is currently possible.
Projects like these aim to implant as much realism into the video game experience as possible. An impressive feat, but we are shortly approaching a brand new innovation in the industry that is worth looking at.
In an unconventional March release this year, Nintendo will be launching the first ever hybrid console, called the Nintendo Switch. The breakthrough that the Kyoto-based corporation has introduced to us now, is the ability to use detachable controllers to take the home console experience on-the-go.
Inserting the Nintendo Switch into its dock will allow connection to your TV, but taking the tablet-like console out of the dock and sliding the Joy-Con controllers onto the sides will allow the player to use it wherever, and whenever, they want.
The question is, will Nintendo’s newest solution to boredom be worth buying?
Potential customers have been weighing the pros and cons online since the big system reveal back in October of last year.After all, gaming is becoming an increasingly expensive hobby, and many consumers must pick and choose what hardware will provide the most benefits while doing the least amount of damage to their wallets.
The Switch currently sits at a $299.99 price point for a pre-order, with further costs being $15-$90 for optional accessories, $40-$60 for games, and an optional paid online service with a subscription fee that is yet to be determined.
Many business enthusiasts have shamed Nintendo for these relatively greedy choices, pointing out that the system does not come with a bundled game and does not offer a cheaper alternative to Sony and Microsoft’s systems.
I refute these arguments by saying that the potential value of the Switch is phenomenal, because it is essentially buying two consoles in the form of one. Portable gaming and gaming at home no longer have to be mutually exclusive things, thanks to the Switch.
I also believe that the $299.99 initial price is fair, considering anything cheaper would disallow Nintendo from effectively competing in the market. The next holiday season will also give the company an opportunity to cut back on the price with special deals and discounts.
The Joy-Con controllers are also filled to the brim with game changing technology.
The new “HD Rumble” feature can replicate the feeling of ice cubes clinking in a glass according to Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime. The IR Sensors included can sense the shape of your hand. For example, they are able to distinguish between the rock, paper, and scissors hand shapes.
Many game blogging websites such as Kotaku and Gamespot do not deny that this is intriguing technology, but a piece of hardware can only be as good as its software. And the software is bubbling up concerns all over the web.
The Switch will launch alongside a minimal number of games, with Nintendo heavily relying upon the highly anticipated first-party title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, to push consoles out of the door during the first month of their fiscal year.
This massive title will soon be joined by a new intellectual property by Nintendo, Arms, a motion controlled extendable arm-boxing game, a robust virtual console library, several Indie projects, and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, a port of the most successful game from Nintendo’s last endeavor, the Wii U, with a new paint job.
Perhaps what fans are looking forward to the most, is the contemporary Super Mario Odyssey, the next main installment in the wildly popular mascot’s legacy, set to release this next holiday season.
Nintendo claims that there is a decent amount of third-party support for the Switch, such as their partnership with Electronic Arts to release the next game in the critically acclaimed sports series, FIFA, on the console. So don’t let the meager but steadily growing launch lineup or less-than-ideal pricing fool you.
On the downside, the specs of the console may be average at best, boasting a maximum of a 1080p resolution while in its’ docked mode, falling behind its competitors and marking it off from many of the newest blockbuster titles like the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda from appearing on it.
It may take some serious consideration to decide whether avoiding or embracing the Switch is the best course of action, but no matter what, Nintendo continues to offer up experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. For that reason, I made sure to snag mine up for pre-order.
Fils-Amie has remarked that there are over 80 incredible games currently in development for the Switch. That is a promise I was willing to bet my hard-earned cash on, but now the choice is up to you.
The Nintendo Switch is available for pre-order once it is restocked at select retailers. You can pick yours up on March 3rd for $299.99 at GameStop, BestBuy, Walmart, or Target.