The Wii (not Wii U but the original Wii) had all of that though. A web browser, multiple on demand services including BBC iPlayer and Netflix, an online store that allowed you to downloadable games direct to the console, etc. So it's not the case that Nintento "can't adapt for the internet age", they clearly did already. This is more a sign that Nintendo don't want the Switch to compete with living room entertainment systems nor general purpose computing tablets.
This actually makes some sense when you consider both of those markets are already saturated. eg most living rooms already have several streamable devices such as:
* other consoles (eg Xbox 360 / P3 and newer),
* XBMC/Kodi devices,
* Amazon Fire Stick and similar,
* or even just a smart TV with that stuff in built.
So instead of chasing after saturated markets that exist on the fringe of their business, Nintendo are focusing on their core market.
Chat is a function served by many, many applications and devices, of course, but it doesn't seem strange for games and system makers to provide dedicated in-game/system chat even in the face of Discord. Granted, chat is much more integral to a game than Netflix or even a web browser. But the argument isn't that the Switch "competes" on these facets, but that it's natural to use these apps before/during/after a game session. For example, after playing a game on my PS4 or Wii U, instead of switching off my system to turn on Netflix on my Smart TV, I'll just use the app on the system, because it's usually fewer steps. Admittedly, I rarely use my console browser...but that's because I usually have access to my laptop in my living room. But the Switch is meant to be a mobile device; it's not hard to imagine the situation of checking the web to look up a tip or guide while gaming. Could you pull out your phone? Sure, but again, you could argue this for any function on any system ("just use X device, which most people carry around all the time").
Again, it's not the absence of these things that are alone disconcerting. It's just that we know of these downsides -- on top of a whole bunch of other online-related things that on launch week we have no clue: Nintendo's online account system, social network, purchase transfers, etc., things that Nintendo's history has not inspired confidence about.
It seems so ill-conceived, and I can't imagine how it will work. Does in-game audio get piped to your phone? If not, what are you supposed to do? Have two sets of earbuds, one from your phone and one from the device?
Also, what's with the console's lack of an ethernet port? Everything I've seen suggests that Nintendo did not prioritize online play when designing the Switch.
modern consoles were designed seemingly to discourage single console multiplayer gaming; everything is being pushed to online. I think nintendo is smart by catering to the split screen gamers out there, since no one else seems to.
For what it's worth, the Wii U also had that too (a web browser, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, etc).
I get the impression that most Wii U owners didn't use it much, and mainly used the console for gaming. But it's still there, and works.
It's competing against those devices though. And not just for sales, but pocket/bag space. If I'm bringing a Switch somewhere, I don't really want to carry an iPad with me too if I want to watch something on Netflix.
It's not, it's a game machine. If you want to play games take a switch, if you want to do other things then take them.
You can now bring all this information and entertainment with you and it takes up less space and weight than any 2 textbooks I used at uni and people are concerned about an extra half kilo in-case they can't make up their mind if they want to play console games or watch TV that day on the train.
Of course their phone can do all these things as well but they need the bigger screen or something.
Also, when Im playing video games and want to look up something, I would like it to be 2 clicks away and not on a different device.
I think Nintendo could just sell these as tablets that are specially good for gaming. The people who already carry around tablet will not drop theirs until the Switch supports common stuff, and they will not buy a Switch because why add another device of the same size.
While this is just a funny thing to notice, it really shows that both technical product design and fashion often depend more on a "look what we can do now!" factor than actual practicality.
Luckily, there are more and more product designers who recognize that minimalism is often the better principle to base their work on.
There were plenty consoles that came with a plethora of features but had no good games at launch - if Nintendo does it the other way around, I don't have a problem with that.
Also, if you look at it from Nintendo's perspective: If Netflix is everywhere, it certainly won't be the feature that actually sells their product.
It's the same basic problem as smart TV's. I don't care if it only adds 1$ in manufacturing costs focusing on making the best TV/console/car is much better reason to buy something than adding yet another so so entertainment features.
Even Nintendo was in on the action back then: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/kj1iVgrpX4Y/maxresdefault.jpg
That said, it's easy to see why Nintendo's focusing on gaming: it's their core competency, nobody else in the tablet space does serious non-casual gaming well, and it would be a tremendous undertaking to make the Switch into a real iPad competitor.
Hell, this is the best sign yet that the switch will have SOME value beyond "you can play the latest Mario here"
Multipurpose portable utility computing platforms are all well and good, but in a general sense are a jack of all trades and master of none.
I prefer to read on a kindle. I prefer to type on a laptop. I prefer to watch movies on an iPad. I carry my DS in case I want to game. I also carry a DSLR in case I feel like taking photos.
I can guarantee I get more work done on my laptop on the train than the guy with his iPad, and I take better photos than the guy with his phone out. I like to think I enjoy the gaming I do on the train more than the people playing bejewelled to pass time.
I've not weighed my bag, but it usually contains:
* 6D DSLR body, 20mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4 85mm f/1.4. (About 4KG total of lens & camera.)
* Xiaomi Notebook Air 13" (About 1.2 KG.)
* iPad Pro 9.7.
* Kobo H2O.
* Nintendo DS.
And other sundries: A couple moleskines and pens, a leatherman, headphones, a 20k mAh USB battery pack and lightning cable.
I also got the WiiU late on a whim and it wasn't a good purchase. The switch looks like what the WiiU should have been but still seems underpowered compared to other things I can plug into my TV.
I already have a PS4. I cannot see the switch replacing it without the basics of a decent online system and access to streaming services.
Reliability especially...the drive has pretty much stopped reading any discs, even when there aren't any scratches. The console randomly stops with a fatal error. I don't really want to pay to get it fixed, since new consoles are coming out and there isn't a huge catalog for the Wii U.
Something similar to that on the Switch could eat into Virtual Console revenues.
A portable, dockable tablet with a built-in reliable controller? If it had a browser, I'd be surprised if people didn't specifically write some games to target it.
My bet is that they felt they needed more time to figure out how to properly sandbox it to prevent homebrew/piracy-related exploits, and that it will be released as a free installable item (or packaged with an OS update) in the next few months.
1. Wii and the Wii U especially never truly lived up to their potentials. They release small minigames (Nintendo Wolrd is a good example) that were amazingly fun and utilized the dual screens, but then developers almost completely forgot about what differentiated the consoles and it became merely inconvenient to have motion controls or the dual screens.
2. They absolutely do not listen to their fans, at least Americans. I can't tell you how badly a lot of people wanted a true console Animal Crossing, and they throw a shitty board game at us. Mario Party 10 could have easily been an amazing multiplayer game with dual screens and motion controls but they watered it down to a very mediocre experience. Pokemon 3d? Heres a tekken style game. Hell, the Wii U is finally getting a Zelda game.. at the release of their new console.
3. Amiibos. Sorry I don't want DLC in the form of hard to obtain collectibles.
Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite games were brought to me by Nintendo but it is hard clutching on to these memories when they are just pumping out years worth of "almost there" titles and experiences. I would love to be proved wrong but Nintendo is certainly more focused on bottom line profits than providing a fun gaming experience.
That being said I'm looking at the switch as a vita replacement, not a home console.
I'm not a console gamer, but why would you want those things in a game console? My TV does all that already. What my TV can't do is play new Nintendo games.
If anything, I find it annoying when I buy a new device and the developers have clearly spent more than half their budget trying to (poorly) replicate functionality that's already built into every other device on my TV cabinet.
Do one thing. Do it well.
> why would you want those things in a game console?
The virtual console was huge on the Wii and Wii U
> Do one thing. Do it well.
This is a game console, not some Unix tool. The rest of the competition has demonstrated that not only can they play games, they can handle other features just as well. Unix philosophy doesn't apply to everything in life.
although, i have certainly been disappointed with nintendo's embracement of online services even within games. e.g., matchmaking and co-op features.
Netflix on devices certainly makes me use them and think of them more. I'd say half my PS4 time is spent on Netflix, which gives plenty of opportunity to pique my interest for some newly released game or service whenever it boots up.
Yikes, that sounds disastrous.
Nintendo might be able to adjust the gain on the Joy-Con radios, at the expense of battery life. They might have to re-certify with the FCC to do so.
This could be a software bug that is fixable with an update, but that seems unlikely considering it affects the left controller more than the right one, which would indicate a hardware design flaw.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also the “fact” that many of us want to play other Switch games this year, so why wait?
Why has Nintendo shifted towards producing underpowered consoles? I used to play the Super Nes when I was a kid, and it was the most powerful console of its generation. The N64, the GameCube, the Wii and subsequent offerings were all underpowered in terms of graphical abilities and raw power after that. I hear people say "But the gameplay is what matters", which I agree with, but my question in the end is "Why can't we have both?".
Is it a costs thing?
"Yokoi articulated his philosophy of "Lateral Thinking of Withered Technology". [...] "Withered technology" in this context refers to a mature technology which is cheap and well understood. "Lateral thinking" refers to finding radical new ways of using such technology. Yokoi held that toys and games do not necessarily require cutting edge technology; novel and fun gameplay are more important. In the interview he suggested that expensive cutting edge technology can get in the way of developing a new product"
Nintendo consoles have always been a bit behind technologically; but I think this became really accentuated with the Wii, which was by design not that far ahead of the Game Cube- when the rest of the industry went full steam ahead fighting on specs.
Most of all, they made a profit per unit sale of the Wii, when the standard at the time was (is?) to sell consoles at a loss and make it up on fees and sales of games. They made profit on the base Wii, then they profited from all of the other shit they made up to sell for it. When the time came to move on from that gold mine to something new, they predictably tried to strike gold a second time.
Now they're trying a third time, and I suspect it will end badly for them. They've increasingly lost sight of what made them great, blinded by the allure of unbelievably quick and vast quantities of hard cash.
- Directional Pad (NES)
- Shoulder buttons on controller (SNES)
- third handle on a controller and controllers with expansion slots (N64)
- portable gaming systems (starting with gameboy, which didn't even have a backlit screen)
- subsequent iterations that included: folding designs (SP), Touch screens for interactivity (DS), game sharing (DS), 3D (3DS, designed before 3D was "a thing")
- RFID out-of-game experiences (Amiibos)
- Innovative nunchuck design where moving the controller is an axis of control (Wii)
- A second-screen experience (Wii U)
- ... and these are just the recent/well known innovations. I'm sure I'm missing many (link cable, anyone?)
So, basically, Nintendo has always tried to push the envelope with their consoles. Nintendo isn't interested in making a boring "not-a-pc-i-swear" console.
Nintendo hasn't lost sight of what made them great. In fact, I'd argue that they're still very much on that path. The day we see uninteresting hardware is the day Nintendo has strayed from what made them great.
Era 1: Nintendo is the head of the pack in software and hardware, and not afraid to try new things.
Transitional period: Gamecube. At this point it's pretty clear that Sony is bringing things to the table that Nintendo is struggling to match. It's not a bad console, the GC, and it ends up being almost laughably affordable, but it's the slowpoke of the gen.
Era 2: Wii->Present.
-The Wii, as you say a pretty quirky and novel take on interfaces. This is the period when Nintendo makes a huge part of the fortune they're sitting on today, and expands to a truly staggering userbase. Traditional Nintendo fans (i.e. people who want Mario and other key franchises) are happy, new gamers are happy, people who want one console are not.
-WiiU, frankly stunk. It didn't do what anyone really wanted it to do, it wasn't as inexpensive and cheaply fun as the Wii or GC. The WiiU tried to be the Wii, and a mainstream console, and it wasn't.
-3DS. Not a bad thing, but I'm yet to meet anyone who really gives a shit about the 3D. Another gimmick that gets forced into things, but ultimately the portable brand is full of such incredibly good games that it doesn't matter.
-Modern portable: ... Fantastic. It's hard to argue against Nintendo's mastery of this aspect of gaming. Underpowered, still too focused on gimmicks instead of perfecting the core experience.
-Amiibo... brilliant business move, it's hard to argue against how happy it made some people, but it was also a manipulative money-grab. It was a case of Nintendo understanding how to maximize a fad, but it brought nothing of value to games.
-"Second Screen Experience"... again, it was something you could work with, but it mostly got in the way of developers and ended up being underwhelming.
Nintendo has lost sight of doing something simple, extremely well. The Gameboy was great because it was just a portable gaming machine, and it kept on that way until two screens and 3D gimmicks, and multiple iterations of largely the same handheld started to muck it up.
Hardware has made Nintendo rich, but it's the software that made them great. Mario as a concept and a game was much better than the NES platform and interface. The more Nintendo has made money on hardware, the more their software has suffered.
If the gimmicks that "muck up the same handheld" aren't worth anything, then the vita should have captured a large segment since it had virtually no gimmicks and just solid hardware. Not the case.
Nintendo's portables have added a lot. Please don't tell me that juice is "essentially just water with some flavor gimmicks." yes, everyone is iterating. No, nobody knows what will ultimately pan out and what won't. If you want Mario on PS then say so, but Nintendo is genuinely trying to innovate and think differently. Move and Kinnect are gimmicks. Nintendo will happily devote a generation to do something interesting.
The day Nintendo gives that up and makes an x86 platform running expensive hardware with no "gimmicks" is the day they become a primarily a software developer.
Their portable Game and Watch series included buttons in the direction pad format and even a few folding duel screen models as early as 1982.
Instead, it's a glorified 3DS. =P
Personally I love the GameCube shape but I recall people complaining about it looking like a child's toy.
If a company could, and would, pour its resources into a novel concept that leveraged existing, known technology, then I could be pretty happy with that. I don't like having to buy/accumulate more "stuff" but that's what we're being sold.
The closest I've seen Nintendo come to allowing this "Lateral Thinking ..." philosophy was with Xenoblade Chronicles X. Otherwise I've been wholly disappointed with the Wii U and the Wii before it (once the novelty wore off).
It's similar to Apple lesser RAM numbers compared to the market, yet iPhone are still smoother globally.
> The list of Super NES enhancement chips demonstrates the overall design plan for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, whereby the console's hardware designers had made it easy to interface special coprocessor chips to the console. This standardized selection of chips was available to increase system performance and features for each game cartridge. As increasingly superior chips became available throughout the SNES's vintage market years, this strategy originally provided a cheaper and more versatile way of maintaining the system's market lifespan when compared to Nintendo's option of having included a much more expensive CPU or a more obsolete stock chipset.
As far as graphical capabilities were concerned, the SNES ecosystem was definitely more powerful. By the time Sega considered the idea of extending the Genesis with the 32X it was already too late into the console lifecycle to matter and flopped (very close to the release of the Sega Saturn and 1 to 2 years before the Nintendo 64, depending on your region [NA, EU, JP]).
There was also the Sega CD but all it did is enable a library of not-games pseudo-interactive movies.
This is literally what the parent said phrased differently.
No, Nintendo didn't decide to go with underpowered hardware until the Wii. Prior to that they were certainly competing with the top tier systems.
Nintendo seems to continue, whether they're always successful or not (Wii vs Wii U), to push the company strategy towards make new-ish gaming paradigms and focusing more on the 1st party game quality.
We're also at a period where I feel we can all see the effect of diminishing returns on visual output (i.e. PS4 for a layperson doesn't look orders of magnitude better than PS3 releases later in that device's life), so again Nintendo is looking to differentiate where graphics quality is becoming more of a commodity amongst the major consoles.
If anything, the fact that the Gamecube's graphical superiority didn't help it much in the market is what made Nintendo make their shift towards innovations instead of clock cycles.
You can't have both because the market has told Nintendo specifically (via the DS, 3DS, and Wii) that it wants unique experiences, not more pixels.
The choice of cartridges over discs, and later mini discs over full sized ones, were not directly ones of choosing the 'weaker option'.
The PS2 and Wii were the weakest systems of their generations and the most successful in terms of hardware unit sales.
The N64 was underpowered?
The switch from N64 to PS is talked about a lot - Square definitely started development for FF7 on the N64 prototype systems before switching over. Hiroshi Kawai, a character programmer for Square, has what I think are the most telling comments:
"I kind of had a suspicion that things weren’t going too well for the 64 at that point, because … one of my responsibilities … was to write performance applications that compared how well the 64 fared against the prototype [PlayStation]. And we’d be running parallel comparisons between the [PlayStation] where you’d have a bunch of 2D sprites bouncing off the screen and see how many polygons you could get within a 60th of a second. And even without any kind of texturing or any kind of lighting, it was less than 50% of what you would be able to get out of the [PlayStation]. Of course, the drawback of the [PlayStation] is it didn’t really have a z-buffer, so you’d have these overlapping polygons that you’d have to work around so that you wouldn’t get the shimmering [look]. But on the other hand, there was no way you’d be able to get anything close to what FF7 was doing [on PlayStation] on the 64 at that time."
Kawai has more on the topic, which is fascinating. And the entire piece is just amazing, and I imagine most people on this thread would enjoy reading it.
So a system can have double the resolution of another and games can even choose to render at different resolutions depending on how intensive it is. Some games will choose lower resolution but more polygons and some might choose higher resolution with fewer polygons, among other choices. There are even modern cases where console games will change the resolution they run at to keep framerates solid https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/6e35355aecdf4fd0ac...
It's long, so I'll throw in a few quotes.
>Miyamoto: Game quality was at a point when it caught up with top-tier entertainment, with visuals that had come so far that all we had left was coming up with new ideas for us to express. It was like we gained incredible calvarymen to make an unstoppable army. […] We came in right during that time period. I think we got distracted by the prospect of building up that powerful army and lost sight of how we were going to form our battle strategies.
The following snippet is the highlight. Note that Iwata became the president of Nintendo shortly after, in 2002.
>Iwata: There’s this really strange common sense now that says it takes a huge team of people working with a large scale and a lot of time to create a good game. A good game is supposed to be based on a good idea that’s very fun, even if it’s small. That notion disappeared somewhere along the way, and it’s turned into a battle of who can spend the most time and utilize the most manpower. You could even say that Nintendo needs to take a stand against this.
The result: the adoption of the Blue Ocean strategy.
I'm reminded of a Twitter thread in 2013 by CliffyB, where he talks about the game industry's obsession with inflated budgets (http://www.igameresponsibly.com/2013/06/13/cliff-bleszinski-...). This is what Nintendo sought to avoid with a slower adoption of raw power and instead making more focused games.
Since they are not in a race, they prefer investing in other things.
Also, yes, gameplay is what matters. I have a PS4 Pro/VR combo and I can't say the games are that much more exciting than what I played on the PS3. Is Open World Game XYZ so much more incredible than what Rockstar pulled off with GTAV on the PS3? Eh....
We're plateauing quickly in terms of graphical fidelity. The PS3 was an easy sell, a huge upgrade over the PS2, but the PS4 - not so much. "It's kinda like the PS3, but crisper!" is how I'd describe it to a non-hard-core gamer.
Give me 60 fps and 1080p and I could give a rat's ass about how complicated the shader that renders photo-realistic ear wax in my RPG protagonist's ears is - that's not going to make me shell out another $400.
Not really. It's old but back in 2014 we saw Nintendo could run at a lose for many decades if necessary and still be fine because they were sitting on almost $11 billion in cash . Today I thought I read that it's higher but not sure how to look it up.
> like Sony/MS can. Sony/MS can just do some Excel accounting magic to hide those losses under the giant umbrella of all their other businesses, but Nintendo - they have to make a profit, perio
The PS4 sold for a profit from day one. I'm not sure if the XBox One was similar or not but they're likely making a profit as well.
Selling at a loss isn't as common in the latest generation.
> We're plateauing quickly in terms of graphical fidelity. The PS3 was an easy sell, a huge upgrade over the PS2, but the PS4 - not so much. "It's kinda like the PS3, but crisper!" is how I'd describe it to a non-hard-core gamer.
Problem is you're only thinking in terms of graphical power. The PS4 has easily a better network for online gaming along with a ton of great games. Don't forget about PSVR being a really nice, mid-level entry into the market and is currently the leader as far as all currently released numbers indicate.
Being an easy sell or not is going to depend on the person you're selling to but I wouldn't dismiss the PS4 as just "crisper" than the PS3.
Nintendo hasn't changed, but the console market has, such that their competitors gave up on the console ideal and now ship what amounts to strange desktops with mid grade video cards.
It seems to just be a cost thing.
First, PCs were extremely expensive at the time compared to the SNES. Your desktop likely cost $2000 or more I'm guessing.
Second, the graphics co-processors for rendering sprites and tiles in the SNES where much more interesting than what you'd get on a computer of the time.
Commander Keen was the most advanced PC scrolling game back then and it used a severely restricted colour palette compared to the SNES.
SMB was released in 1985.
So yes, please tell me more how an early 1990's PC, without the specialized hardware that consoles had, in the hands of a programmer not-quite-up-to-par in the skills department as John Carmack, would kick the SNES's butt when it came to smooth-scrolling games.
It turns out, that the Switch checks all these boxes. If you design a screen for a 3DS successor with is slightly larger and higher res, you arrive at the screen of the switch. It is also the same size as the screen of the WiiU. And docked, it outperforms the WiiU as stationary console. Of course it falls behind the PS4, but I think the market for non-portable consoles has been "won" by the PS4. But while they will continue to exist, the prime time for stationary consoles might be over too. With the Switch, you are no longer tied to the TV. Nintendo took quite some care to make sure that the Switch mostly performs identically docked and undocked. There shouldn't be many if any games which are tied to one mode only.
The popularity of gaming laptops should tell us, that there is an increasing number of people who want to be mobile in their gaming, not necessarily as in playing while riding the bus, but as in taking your gaming hardware with you when like visiting friends. And that is, where the Switch easily outshines for example a PS4. Add to it the ability to do multiplayer gaming on the local network (Splatoon2, Mario Cart,...) and it has a lot of prospect.
It's weird to criticize battery life without saying how many nits the display is outputting and what the battery life would be at, say, 200 nits with a demanding game.
So far all I've been able to find is that Zelda lasts 2.5 hours with full brightness. How bright is full brightness? It's a mystery!
Edit: Digital Foundry says that max brightness is higher than the 3DS XL and visible in daylight. So 500-600 nits maybe?
They also say that it lasts "just over 3 hours" with the display at half or low brightness.
I will never forget my Blackberry Bold 9600. Full brightness was quite bright. No brightness was also quite bright. Not great for checking your phone in the middle of the night without sunglasses.
Now I can take Zelda with me wherever I go — not some limited
version, mind you, but the full console Zelda experience. I can
play on my TV, pick up the tablet from its dock, and continue the
game without skipping a beat or compromising the experience.
The Switch looks very well suited to a plane or road trip, where you have to sit for a longer period without anything to do, but it's hard to imagine that representing a major change in regular usage for most users.
What's the interface to the peripherals? (The base unit has USB-C and the peripherals have Bluetooth, at least, but it's not yet clear what the wired connection between peripheral and main unit is.) Can the device take new software, or does Nintendo have a lock on that?
I'm much more interested in the Switch as a family console than a personal. I grew up an only child and played A LOT of online games by myself. Ever since college I've had a standing rule about not playing games unless it's social - aka in the room.
This perfectly fits my use case.
I do still hope the best 3DS franchises will make it to the Switch and I might pick it up after price drops under the price of PS4.
The situation looks even more dire after reading this quote.
> ...although we’ve yet to find a battery / cable that can charge the console faster than it drains.
On the positive side, plugging a powerbank into the Switch causes the console to recharge faster than it depletes its own battery even in a stress test scenario with brightness and volume maxed. 
I expect we'll see 5A+ power packs in the future which will handle it easily.
It charges my XPS 9350 just fine, so it should do the Switch no worries.
So what is it, other than something for people who already knew they'd buy whatever Nintendo had to offer?
The Switch is almost a Wii U. The one big difference is that the Switch doesn't allow both screens at once - by using the small screen as the console.
It is an average Nintendo TV console with the added functionality of being able to let someone else use the TV by undocking the Switch and continuing game play - just like the Wii U.
My office is 20 feet away from the console (through two walls), and I can't use the gamepad reliably. That's hardly portable. It doesn't work anywhere in the house other than in the adjacent room.
Range on the Wii U is terrible, and the Switch is an "incremental improvement" in that regard :p
Battery life between the two is about the same, with the Switch gaining range
I agree with your closing point, which is why I'm so disappointed here. I love Nintendo games, but for a long time now I've despised their hardware.
The Switch, however, will be the first console I'll buy. I'm not too happy with the low specs, but it's somewhat justified by the portability. And if Nintendo does what I hope they'll do, I'll be able to play a whole bunch of older and indie games now that there's a normal controller as a default (portable Metroid Prime!?!).
Unfortunately I don't quite trust Nintendo to be sensible, so I'll have to wait and see what happens first. I'm very tempted to get a second-hand Wii U so I can play Zelda and go through my unplayed first-party back-log, though.
Gee, I remember thinking the Gamecube had pretty odd controls when it came out. The C-stick seemed like an odd compromise between the N64's C buttons and the PS 2 controller's dual analog sticks.
The problem is that everyone wants to create bold new interfaces, but few people want to refine existing ones. If you can make a breakthrough, go for it, but if not... just make iterative improvements. I'm a lot happier with how Sony and MS have gone with their controllers, by contrast.
Honestly the Switch seems like the closest thing to a classic control scheme that they've had in a while. If it had more than 3 hours battery life, and didn't seem in need of a day-0 patch, it might even be worth it.
Both the Wii and WiiU offered pretty good controllers so you can do just that.
I think the Switch will allow for a new "non-binary" way of thinking about what's portable and what's a home game, and fit into our lives in a new way. I can't wait to start playing a game on the commute back home from work (which takes well under the 2.5h), and continue the same session on the big setup later when I arrive. I think it will allow me to spend more hours per week playing big titles compared to what I can spare today.
I don't like the compromises (mostly performance) made just to make it portable. That's the use case that doesn't interest me in the slightest.
I would just prefer a beefy modern console that plays fun Nintendo-ecosystem games.
It might be a little more compelling if they kept the processing in the dock and the handheld was a thin-client, requiring a home network or internet connection to stream from it. Battery life would improve at least.
One thing that has changed my opinion a bit about Nintendo's products, though: Having a kid. Suddenly it's very clear what it means for Nintendo to make a family console as a product subtly different from a gamer's console or a more adult console, which is what I would consider my PS4 to be.
If, however, your daughter wants a 3DS for specific titles, you're still better off getting her the 3DS. For example, if all of her friends are currently playing and trading on Pokemon Sun/Moon, getting a Switch will basically have her feeling left out.
It's not so much about delayed gratification -- when you're talking about a specific game (especially one that is online) on a specific platform, it's more like no gratification at all.
I don't know if that's even possible. The 3DS has pretty good third party developer support and a huge back library.
The true worth of any system is how many high quality games are on the system and whether they're the games you want play.
Outside of the obvious "must have" first party titles, I can't see a whole lot of system-selling "must have" third party titles. If you're not into Nintendo's own games, you pretty much have no compelling reason to get a Switch. And if Switch hardware sales aren't strong enough, third party developers will stay away.
It also doesn't help (especially for parents on a budget) that Switch games are around $20 more than 3DS games.
Fire Emblem also traditionally had home console releases alongside portable gamesystems, but the Wii U flopped too hard for niche games to have much room. Concentrating developer efforts on a single console that does both portable and home, large screen play is a smart move for Nintendo.
For example, I like fighting games, and that's why I bought the 3DS (even though you can count them all on both hands). Street Fighter IV was one of the early launch games for the 3DS and holds up surprisingly well.
Meanwhile in the Switch announcement, Capcom announced a rehash of the older 2D Street Fighter II, which is a less than impressive announcement. At least the Wii U got Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
If I didn't just buy a GPD Win recently (which plays the Windows Steam versions of SFIV and Street Fighter x Tekken among others at close to 60fps @ 720p in a 3DSXL-like form factor), I would still choose my 3DS for fighting games over the Switch for the foreseeable future. I still play my 3DS a lot because I somehow started playing Pokemon for the first time (Sun/Moon) and got hooked on it.
I actually pulled the trigger on the my GPD Win a couple of weeks after being disappointed with the Switch webcast. It basically killed any remaining desire I had to get a Switch, but as I mentioned earlier, it all comes down to the genres you play and which platforms serve them the best.
I really wanted to like the Switch, but the addition of and focus on motion controls during their January press conference really killed it for me. Alternate input methods for games have failed, but Nintendo keeps pursuing this. My worry about the fact that the console supports motion controls is that games will use them. Motion controls killed the Mario Galaxy series for me, I couldn't get past the first hour or so without having so many frustrating input problems. I have a Wii U and Nintendo's games insist on using the microphone for stupid gameplay mechanics, like blowing on it to move platforms.
Nintendo makes really good games, but they're tied to crap hardware and forced to use really awful input gimmicks. This feels crummy to say, but I kind of hope the Switch fails so that they're forced to go third party, drop their crap hardware division, and put out their excellent software on game consoles I actually want to own and use.
For a game like Towerfall or Mariocart (Or a launch title, like Snipperclips) that is amazing. And the ability to play Zelda on an airplane sounds awesome.
I do think they flubbed a ton of stuff on the software side (and even hardware...digital triggers on the joy-cons...) mainly by making 1-2 switch a $50 title and not a pack-in, so I see that flopping hard. At this point the only reason to buy is Zelda, so in that regard it seems like a soft launch for the dedicated fans, then the real launch will be this holiday season.
I do agree on disliking motion controls for a console like this, but motion controls do have their place in VR, so maybe Nintendo has some future plans in that space...
But... then the January demo happened. It's all dumb mini-games with shit motion controls. It's an ice cube vibration demo(?!?). It's some poorly-defined camera vision detection thing. They seem to be doubling down on awful input methods, instead of showing us good games that I want to play on hardware I want to own.
Do you mean 1-2 Switch? That's one game out of quite a few games that are coming out this year. 1-2 switch is definitely heavy on the Nintendo gimmick though.
I was somewhat surprised at how few 'gimmick' games were announced. Most of the games are standard controller-type games. Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda, Splatoon 2, and all the indie games that were announced yesterday.
Edit: You're right..forgot about Arms being motion controlled too.
Maybe I'll pick one up in a year or two if they don't lean to heavily on the motion controls gimmick after all. But I'm not holding my breath.
I could see them doing something like the Samsung Gear VR for the Switch.
Haha, really? They've done that crap since the Famicom. Didn't make it to the states, but the Japanese controllers had a microphone. Had to blow into it for a couple games (Japanese version of Zelda, for one). They must be really in love with that input method.
Is that really so? Motion controls work very well for certain niches. Some types of games are better without them, but so long as developers allow the choice of conventional inputs in cases where they don't work well, it shouldn't be a problem.
Mouse and keyboard for FPS and similar games.
Traditional controller for platformers/side scrollers
Touch for a few types of games on mobile, not many though.
Almost never do I want to use motion.
It works incredibly well in VR - whereas I know a fair few people find gamepad controls immersion-breaking, compared to interacting with the virtual world with your hands and your body.
Motion controls never caught on because game studios aren't interested in making games locked to one console, and motion controls are far less standardized.
Until you realize your standing-up-arm-waving strategy is being destroyed by the person sitting on the couch making little wrist flicks, who may as well be pushing buttons for all the motion they're making. And that person isn't experiencing severe RSI, the likes of which doesn't happen playing those sports for real, 5 minutes into the match.
Was great for rail shooters, though. Don't know why they didn't make an effort to get a port of every rail shooter ever made on the Wii. Only console ever where they'd be (the only?) first-class citizens.
In truth, you want to be able to play from the couch. You also want to be able to play in a more immersive style. Being able to detect one or the other and having a slider to allow more lenient play would be ideal. At the other end of the spectrum, I imagine requiring a more true translation to the actions on the screen would help prevent any RSI, as it would naturally require a wider range of actions.
It's easy to fall back on what we know because the new thing doesn't always work right and has some pains in the initial implementation. That doesn't mean we discount it entirely.
Unfortunately, there's little incentive for established third party developers to put much effort into motion controls, as they want their games on as many platforms as possible and large differences in control schemes make that hard.
That said, the PSVR stuff is really the next level of motion controls. Unfortunately, it looks like they ignored where I think Nintendo had good foresight, and didn't include a way to use analog joysticks with the controllers, so it appears you either use the VR controllers or a regular Playstation controller, and there's no hybrid solution equivalent to the Wiimote nunchuck joystick (I hope I'm wrong, or they have a way to fix this with an attachment). Motion controls are still going strong, we're just still evolving past the equivalents of the Atari joystick and original NES controllers.
Also, the majority of people at preview events (greatly) praised the motion controls of the upcoming game ARMS.
HD Rumble also is reported to be amazing.
I for one am excited to play with what may be the first really great motion controls.
And since they have a big hardware divison, they need to come up with innovative ideas to sell hardware.
On the other hand, Sony's one-upmanship also added the 2nd analog joystick to controllers and that turned out to be incredibly important.
I think I only played one game on the PSX that really used 2 sticks and that was Ape Escape.
Only when FPS became a thing on consoles, the second stick was finally used in more than a few games.
And when did this become the case? With the XBox?
I would credit Halo more than XBox for inventing/popularizing the good controller scheme for FPS games.
N64 was a weird trident with a thumb-stick, PSX added these sticks later with the DualShock controller.
GC had this freaky button-layout.
My hands have never cramped playing my Gamecube or SNES. They cramp constantly trying to play FF15 on my PS4 and playing Xbox isn't much better.
The switch support standard input methods and then some.