This morning, Nintendo showed off its shiny new home console: The Nintendo Switch. Except, the platform isn’t entirely a home console, but can also be taken with you on the go. Nintendo did a perfect job nailing the concept reveal. We all know what the Nintendo Switch is, how it works, and what makes it special. However, Nintendo left so many questions wide open that it leaves reason for optimism, but also ample reason for concern.
We can take third-party support, for example. Nintendo revealed a lengthy list of developers for the Nintendo Switch, including big names like EA, Take-Two, Activision, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. In fact, Nintendo even has Bethesda on board, a company that skipped out on the Wii and Wii U in their entirety. All these big names spell out big things… right?
Well, not necessarily. EA’s games could all be sports titles. Where’s Battlefield? Mass Effect: Andromeda? Star Wars?
I’m not necessarily saying that these third-party titles won’t come to the Nintendo Switch, they surely could. However, Nintendo’s lack of information today leaves the unsettling possibility remaining. The same reality remains for these other companies.
Take-Two is supporting Switch, but that could mean only NBA 2k17 is coming to the console, not Red Dead Redemption 2. Activision could be porting Skylanders to the platform without ever batting an eyelash at bringing over Call of Duty or Destiny 2. Ubisoft has already announced more games other than Just Dance for the Switch. But, do those games include Watch Dogs 2, For Honor, and Ghost Recon, or will it just be another Rabbids game? Does Warner Bros. have any games other than LEGO in development for the platform?
The third-party list gives us very little information as to the actual breadth of the Switch’s third-party support. It also doesn’t tell us how easy the platform is to develop for. Will third-parties abandon the platform if its sales get off to a rocky start?
Honestly, I don’t know the answers to these questions. Maybe everything will be great, but Nintendo left the door for these sorts of questions wide open.
As for the ability to take the games on the go… how truly mobile will this console be? Will I be able to tether this thing to my phone so I can play on public transport? How quick can I power it on and off? If my commute is 15 minutes and the console takes 5 minutes to completely boot up and open a game, that does absolutely nothing for me.
Maybe everything will be ok and there will be a save/suspend feature. But, today’s announcement by Nintendo only added questions to the main point: How far is Nintendo willing to go to correct the mistakes of the Wii U?
Fortunately, Nintendo still has plenty of time to get into the nitty gritty details of the Switch. Surely, Nintendo will reveal more details before the end of the year, and the company still has both January and February to promote its new product against limited competition. After years of uncertainty, however, I’m not ready to give full trust in Nintendo just yet. As a result, until Nintendo proves otherwise, I will play the cynic with the Switch, and rejoice when each great game and feature is revealed.