Want to know why the Nintendo Switch is so popular? It’s more than just the innovation in design. Read our breakdown to find out how the Switch is changing the future of the gaming landscape.
Nintendo always does things differently. When the industry zigs, Nintendo Zags. Many credit Nintendo with reviving console gaming after Atari failed, and they’ve never stopped changing the way people think about gaming.
Whether their consoles are successful or not, Nintendo is always pushing the barriers. The Game Boy allowed gamers to play on the go for the first time, and the Wii attempted to shift the way gamers interact with their games. While the latter didn’t receive as much positive feedback, the Switch brought Nintendo back as the leader when it comes to innovation in gaming.
We’re here to say that the Nintendo Switch marks a milestone in gaming and that it will change the gaming landscape going forward.
The Hybrid Console
The Nintendo Switch console is a hybrid, meaning you can play at home and on the go. Unlike similar attempts at making a hybrid console, switching between modes is extremely easy. If you put the Switch in the doc, it transitions to TV mode. If you press both analog sticks, it will switch to the smaller, portable screen.
Nintendo controllers have never been the preferred controller setup. Even in the Nintendo 64 days, they were outshined by their multi-stick competitors. While the Switch controllers still aren’t the best on the market, they provide a substantial improvement on the Wii U controller we had before.
The controller setup is unique – as most Nintendo controllers are. They attach to the portable screen when you’re away from the console, and can operate freely when you have the tablet connected to the television. The Switch also comes with a standard controller layout, where the two Joy-Cons attach for a more traditional controller.
When you’re playing in handheld mode, the Joy-Cons clip to the side, and you’re able to use a bit of touch-screen in your gaming. Not every game uses this element, but it’s one of the ways Nintendo separates itself from the pack. The Switch built on the Nintendo DS with the touch-screen capabilities and made it easier and more accessible for developers of other games.
The Real Future of Gaming
People love to talk about how virtual reality is the future. VR games are immersive on a scale that we’ve never seen before in gaming, but are they practical? The concept of virtual reality has been around for some time. In fact, there have been multiple attempts at bringing this experience to users.
Although we’re closer than ever to bringing virtual reality to consumers, it’s still unattainable for the vast majority of the gaming community. You’ll need to spend hundreds of dollars on the VR setup, but that’s only a fraction of the true cost of virtual reality.
To successfully run VR games, you’ll need a next-level PC that can handle the graphics and the mechanics of VR. That will cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t already have one. Then, you’ll need a designated space where you can move around to get the full, immersive experience of VR without taking the headset off every 30 seconds.
Virtual reality seems like it will always be the “gaming standard of the future.” At the end of the day, players want to be able to sit down and relax while playing a game. This fact is part of the reason the Wii wasn’t as successful as it could have been. Mobile gaming, on the other hand, is more popular than ever.
The Move Toward Mobile
The gaming environment is growing increasingly mobile. While hardcore gamers scoff at mobile games, they’re a massive market that makes developers a ton of money. Even free-to-play games use a monetization system, called microtransactions, that can make developers hundreds of millions in revenue with a very low cost attached.
In 2017, gaming saw its first successful move toward genuine mobile gaming when Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch. They incorporated traditional elements of gaming, then combined them with the mobile experience. Sony has tried this in the past – even Nintendo took a crack at it with the Wii U – but the Switch was the first time the gaming community got behind the move.
The Nintendo on the go model of the Switch allows gamers the best of both worlds. They can sit at home and enjoy their game, then get on a plane and continue playing for a few hours. They can take the Switch with them and play while they’re waiting at a doctor’s office. The switch brought AAA games to a platform that encourages mobility, and more consoles are likely to move in this direction in the future.
Nintendo has always been the industry standard when it comes to gaming. As a developer, Nintendo has churned out hit after hit. These games almost always improve on the previous titles, and the Nintendo Switch games are no different.
Setting the Standard
In its first year, Nintendo released some of the best games we’ve seen on any console. Super Mario Odyssey is a phenomenal experience that you won’t get with any other platforming game on the market. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to tackling a level, and every time you go back to collect more moons, you’re finding a new way to get from point A to point B. It boasts a 97% on Metacritic, with many publishers giving it a 10/10.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Game of the Year for 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This is one of the most immersive games we’ve played. This game has everything; it’s the best of both worlds. It’s relaxed one moment, then high-pressure the next.
Every piece of this world seems intentional, unlike other open-world games full of boring, redundant scenery. You’ll spend hours exploring the world and toying with the game’s mechanics before you ever feel like you’re coming close to the end.
Both of these games, along with a list of others, were some of the best games of 2017 and are only available on the Switch. Even if the Switch isn’t your primary console, it’s worth picking one up to experience these games. They’ve made their mark on the history of gaming, and deserve your time and money as much – if not more – than any other game out there.
Although the Nintendo Switch is bringing gaming into a new, more mobile era, there are several places where it can improve. The battery life on the mobile platform is short, and if you’re playing an intense game like Breath of the Wild, you can probably only rely on the battery life lasting a few hours. The Joy-Con controllers tend to stick a little bit, which has lead to some durability concerns with many customers.
Although you can improve the battery life a bit by purchasing a portable charger and wall adapter, these will only take you so far. The Switch isn’t perfect, and it has room to grow. There are, however, some Nintendo Switch accessories you can buy to make your gaming experience much better.
Just like any tablet or smartphone, you’re going to want something to protect the screen from your greasy fingers. Even if you’re as careful as you can be, the screen will eventually get cloud the more you touch it.
Additionally, you need to prepare yourself in case of an accident. A drop of water may spill on the screen, and you may even drop it on a rough surface. For a relatively small price, you can buy screen protectors on Amazon that will limit the vulnerability of the screen. If you plan on taking the Switch with you quite a bit, screen protectors are a must-have.
Apart from a screen protector, the Nintendo Pro Controller has to be the most necessary accessory for the switch. Nintendo has never been great at making controllers, as we said above. The Switch controllers feel a bit awkward without the screen and are far too small for some people’s hands. They resemble the Wii controllers in quite a few ways, which nobody considered their favorite controller.
The Pro Controller, though, eliminates all of these concerns. You can buy one for around $70, and it feels substantially better than the stock Switch Joy-Cons.The buttons are big and easy to find, and it feels more like an Xbox controller than anything else. If you’re more of a home gamer, this is the number one recommendation when it comes to Switch accessories.
The tabletop feature of the Switch is great, but the stand that comes with it is not. It’s flimsy and feels like it will break with the slightest bit of pressure. Gamers know that tensions can get high and multiplayer, and we don’t need something that’s going to break on its own.
An aftermarket kickstand like the HORI Playstand will do wonders for your tabletop gaming experience. These kickstands are pretty cheap, and far more durable than the stock stand you get with your Switch.
Nintendo is constantly at the forefront of innovation. Not all of their gimmicks work, but when they do they set the standard for the future of gaming.
While the Switch isn’t the perfect console, it shows us what we can look forward to in the future. Mobile games are huge, and the Switch is the first step towards bringing the mainstream of gaming to a mobile platform. Competitors are sure to come up with their versions of the Switch, but none of them will have the Nintendo name, nor the games that Nintendo produces.
Is the Switch still worth the price in 2018? Absolutely.