Those systems may not have had an eShop, but in the days before it, I suspect not having region locking was as helpful there too.
Additionally, when Phoenix Wright first got localized for the DS, the print run was very small. Someone realized that the English script was already embedded into the Japanese version of the game--you simply had to go to the language options and toggle a button to switch it to English. This made importing a popular option for people who couldn't find--or didn't want to wait--for the Stateside version. I remember vividly discussing with my brothers whether we wanted to "risk" waiting for the US edition and not being able to find one, or importing and having to deal with toggling the language at every startup.
Which might explain why most handhelds were never region locked.
It's about price differentiation between different regions.
That all said, some NTSC games were still released for European markets without changing their timings. Sonic is one example of this - it runs slower, the music plays slower etc. For that reason I usually play Sonic on NTSC console rather than the PAL one (yeah, I have a whole room full of old computers and games consoles. It's sad but I love it).
I thought the DVD region locking had to do with the old school movie distribution rights systems that were in place. i.e. Fox would sell the rights to their movies to multiple companies in different regions for redistribution outside of North America. Allowing a person in one region to buy a DVD from anywhere would mean that those regional rights holders would otherwise lose money on their investments.
Surely this is quite a minor feature. I think it's unlikely that it helped their popularity "a ton".
The use of flashcarts instead of discs was also asavvy decision,and really fits with the mobile story of the device. Plus, I miss the instantaneity of cartridge-based games. Finding out it's region free on top of all this, it's like they're firing on all cylinders this go around.
No, I'm not a Nintendo shill. I'm just uniquely impressed by the very deep thought that went into the design, manufacture, and deployment of this particular console.
The last console I owned was a Game Boy Advance. The Switch is wonderful for so many reasons:
It deserves its name. It really is a flexible console; the snappable/detachable joycons, the controller, the 4-way joycon sharing, TV mode, etc... none of it is a gimmick, it's all useful. And different games have different favoured settings (eg. SMO is super fun with the joycons detached, but Stardew Valley is best snapped).
Lots of games just feel great on the Switch, even games that were not originally designed for it.
And Nintendo just killed it with its own launch titles. Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild are both console sellers on their own. Mario Kart is incredibly fun and easy to whip out when you have your console around friends.
And that thing is a beast. Breath of the Wild runs really well on it (except for load times. but that's very forgivable). I often think about this: Breath of the Wild is a mobile game (!!!)... Crazy. And it has pretty good battery life given what it runs.
The main thing I don't like with the Switch is the low disk space. That it can't even have SMO, BOTW and Mario Kart at the same time is kind of a head-scratcher for me. I still need to get an SD card for it (at least that's an option).
Instead of renting a license indefinitely (eShop) you get an actual piece of plastic and some paper (resale value later) which you actually own.
I don't even own the console (it's not rooted). As long as I don't, this doesn't matter. Once I do own it, I will make backups of my downloads, which I can actually own.
It's true it'd have killed the secondary market, but I'd have appreciated not needing the disc to play after the initial install.
Having carts is a nice touch though but even there I have a few niggles: like swapping the carts out can be a little bit of a pain (like popping an SD card out of a mobile phone where you have flaps to remove and then need to jam your nail into the card to get it to spring out). Plus I don't agree that Switch games (on the cart at least) load instantaneously. Quite a few games seem to have long loading times - Zelda being the most notable.
I also really dislike how the Joycons feel when using them as two player. Particularly the one with the analogue stick in the middle.
But that all said, the things Nintendo got right far outweigh the stuff that are sub-optimal. It works nicely both docked and as a handheld (eg while on the train). It's a nice weight, has a good screen and even the battery life seems pretty decent (despite the horror stories I was reading prior to its release). The UI is a pleasure to use as well (likely down to it being focused as a games console rather than home entertainment system). I even like how game updates can be postponed when you want to actually play the game (unlike Playstation which prevents you from playing a game until everything is up-to-date).
Overly it's a really nice console to own. My daily commute is about 2.5 hours (round trip) on a good day and my Switch has made the commute far more bearable. In fact I now look forward to it.
You just press it, like you would with an SD card in a camera, and it pops out... Are you wrecking your Switch by trying to force it out???
The joy cons are great for when you travel, I bought mine in Taiwan and the wife and I played mario kart together on the plane ride home.
At home we use the pro controllers.
I think you might have misread my post because your first sentence is literally just a reitteration of my description (even down to the SD card example). My point - which admittedly wasn't very clear - is that it's quite awkard compared to the carts in old handhelds. Granted that's entirely down the difference in sizes and I'm not sure it's a problem that can be solved; but even so, I still don't enjoy how fiddly it is.
> The joy cons are great for when you travel, I bought mine in Taiwan and the wife and I played mario kart together on the plane ride home.
Indeed. As I also said, I predominantly use my Switch for traveling as well. My point wasn't the convenience but rather their ergonomics. They're so heavily sculpted around being comfortable while used by 1 person (vertically) that the button locations and curvature of the paddles are badly located when the controllers are used horizontally. Which can make them a little unpleasant to use (convenience aside).
I read it but I still do not understand why you have to "jam your nail into the card to get it to spring out" when this isn't the case at all...
My point was there isn't much surface area on the Switch game card to push it down to release and also the flap often gets in the way too (though I do appreciate the function of the flap)
My only issue with the game cart is that it sometimes* doesn't reconize, but the good old magical take card out, blow on it, put it back in, and bam it works again...
This only happens on 2 of my 7 games tho.
Early days. To be honest, there's more than enough titles to make the console worth it IMO. I have 600 games in my Steam library and I've seriously played maybe 15 of them. I'm super happy that my switch only has quality games.
And to anyone reading this, I recommend any and all of the following:
New titles: Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart (play it with friends!), Celeste.
Ports: Rocket League, Stardew Valley, Shovel Knight, The Binding of Isaac, Skyrim, Enter the Gungeon.
But I'd agree that it's a must-have! You can just whip it out and race a friend anywhere.
I mean, I am nitpicking here a little as it's still a solid title. But on balance it's not my favorite Mario Kart.
Zelda is a very different game from any of the Zelda's before it as well. I do like what Nintendo have done but I'd also love to see a more traditional Zelda released for the Switch some point in the future too.
Overall, it's all very easy me being critical when there's so many elements that can go wrong. So I think Nintendo have gotten far more right than they've gotten wrong.
I'm glad you said this in present tense, because yeah, there are still loading times from Switch cartridges, in some cases pretty bad ones. (Zelda shrine entrances, anyone?)
I was expecting instantaneous access like I remembered from the old days of cartridge systems but it is not to be, on the Switch at least.
Your ergonomic points, though, are definitely spot in. It feels good to use the system and it feels very well put-together. Nintendo has always been good at designing hardware, though - which is something that I think the other manufacturers still don't get 100% right. That, and the "just fucking play" experience that Sony and Microsoft refuse to give you.
What would honestly impress me, when the company making the music sequencer title for the console (petty sure it's by the same group behind the Korg titles on the 3ds), it's able to use MIDI over the usb-c port of the console, much like the support android has.
Keep in mind with things like the C64 PAL/NTSC games still ran on the other consoles, just faster/slower than intended.
With a 60-to-72 pin adapter, I suspect they'd run on the top-load NES (which also ditched the lockout chip).
Was willing to deal with power adapters but getting locked into only Australian-available content is a total PITA
It is a computer we cannot freely write a program of. It's evil, like the most of DRM protected gaming consoles.
No one is complaining that you can't run your own programs on the dishwasher or thermostat, or your car (and I fear the day we get jailbroken autonomous cars)
It's not that far off from tractors and the like, which actually is a problem for owners when they become abandonware. Comment thread and documentary on that: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16386012
I'm happy with my Switch despite it being locked down, and hey, it's Nintendo and people are already running Linux on it: https://twitter.com/fail0verflow/status/964954316892119040
Not everything has to be an RMS-style pissing match about DRM and lack of open source compatibility. This is a game console made for the most novice of users; not a PC with a Windows license being forced on you. Calm down.
Video demo: https://twitter.com/fail0verflow/status/964954316892119040