If you look at my history with gaming you’ll notice a pattern. No matter what games I play or what consoles I buy, I always keep up on Nintendo’s systems. Nintendo games were my entrance into the world of gaming and I could never do characters like Mario, Link, and Donkey Kong the disservice of abandoning them when they’ve given so many great adventures to me over the years. That being said, I’m not averse to waiting a while before letting these characters into the next phase of my life.
It’s rare for me to purchase a console immediately after it’s release as I like to let a decent library of games I know that I will love build up before I decide to commit myself to one platform over another. When the Wii U first came out I didn’t rush to get one and after enough time had passed and in store demos had been played, I picked myself up one in late 2014. I know that Nintendo consoles will always wind up with a slightly smaller library of games that I will enjoy but all of the titles that fall into this group are usually first party titles. As time has gone on and we went from the GameCube to the Wii to the Wii U I realized that Nintendo was more and more concerned about creating only an experience that Nintendo can.
With the Wii U this was incredibly evident. While Sony and Microsoft were off seeing who could pack more power into a home console with the largest game library and charging for online multiplayer, Nintendo was off not competing, turning out games staring their greatest characters, and giving their gamers online multiplayer free of charge.Sadly the Switch marks the introduction of a new Nintendo and it’s one that I don’t like.
With the Switch, it appears that Nintendo has stepped their game up a bit with the graphics of the system being powered by a custom chip from the Nvidia Tegra family of cards. Unfortunately, that step up means other changes too. The most shocking of those changes is that starting in the fall there will be a charge for multiplayer gaming. While no price has been announced, certain details have. The most shocking part about Nintendo’s implementation of their paid online comes in the form of the announcement of game downloads. With services like PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, each month you are given access to a number of titles for “free” that are yours to keep while you have the service. While I can’t speak for PlayStation Network as I haven’t gotten a PS4 yet, Xbox Live will revoke access to the games if your subscription expires but then restore access when you sign back up. Nintendo is taking a slightly different approach:
Subscribers will get to download and play a Nintendo Entertainment System™ (NES) or Super Nintendo Entertainment System™ (Super NES) game (with newly-added online play) for free for a month.
Based on that wording, it looks like gamers will be getting access to one game a month and only for a month, necessitating a purchase of the game for continued access to the game after the month is up. To be fair, I’m not saying that Nintendo shouldn’t charge for online multiplayer–I understand there are costs that come with maintaining the servers that are used along with other infrastructure cost. What I am saying is that Nintendo needs to prove that they are responsible enough to take payment for online multiplayer content. Nintendo has shown time and time again that they don’t understand how internet connected products should work in the year 2017 and that scares me.
My next big point of contention is the accessories for the console, or more specifically the cost of them. With the Switch comes a whole world of peripherals including Joy-Cons, a Classic Controller Pro, and a TV dock.
Given the fact that the Switch offers the ability to play home console games on the go, I can understand why someone may want to have two docks for their Switch: one in the living room and one in the bedroom or perhaps one at home and one at a boyfriend or girlfreind’s house. It looks like the cost for an additional dock (which includes both the power and HDMI cables that are needed) will be $90 a pop, or just shy of a third of the cost of the $299 console.
If you need extra Joy-Cons (and Nintendo is touting this as something you will need), you can purchase either a left or right Joy-Con for $50 a pop or get a pack that includes both for $80.
I think my favorite piece of pricing with the Nintendo Switch accessories has to be the Classic Controller Pro. Keep in mind that for the most part, the Classic Controller Pro is a standard game controller like you would use with an Xbox or PlayStation. The cost for that? $70–or $10 more than any other standard controller on the market. Some have tried to defend this by stating that the controller has an NFC reader built in for Amiibo compatibility as well as HD rumble but it’s hard to see those two features justifying the additional cost to the average consumer. I can picture so many parent going to buy these consoles for birthdays and holidays in the coming year and not knowing the accessory cost nightmare they are getting themselves involved with.
Once those other concerns are put to the side there’s only one more factor that leaves me hesitating to get a Nintendo Switch too soon and that’s the game library. I have to be honest, based on what Nintendo has shown so far there’s very little to compel a Wii U owner to rush out and upgrade. Some would say that Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be a good reason but that will be receiving a simultaneous release on the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks like it could be a lot of fun but there’s still not enough content to justify rushing out and upgrading. The only two Switch exclusives that have piqued my interest at all yet would have to be Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey. This time around it’s going to take more than two or three quality titles to sell me on a new console.
There’s always the possibility that between now and Christmas more awesome games could be announced or a bundle could be released that I’ll be unable to pass on but for the time being I plan to stick to my Wii U and see how the Switch ecosystem develops.
What do you think of the Nintendo Switch? Did you preorder one? Will you be attempting to get one on day one? Will you be waiting to see how the ecosystem develops? Let me know in the comments below!