Nintendo Switch - One Year Later, and Looking Forward
As of the day of this writing, the Nintendo Switch is now officially one year old. As I stated in my First Impressions post, my odyssey with the Nintendo Switch began much longer ago than that. There was an excruciatingly long rumor season surrounding the console. Many of these rumors actually turned out to be true, in various degrees, but the most exciting of these was the possibility of the Nintendo Switch (then known as the NX), was a dedicated hybrid console!
A new Nintendo home console was already a somewhat interesting prospect, but for my lifestyle, it wouldn't have been as appealing to me as a new handheld or hybrid device. I would have still gotten myself hyped up over it, seeing as how it would be the first new console that I had planned on buying at launch. but I know that I honestly would have put off buying the console had it simply been what so many people wanted it to be. That is to say, a large portion of people just wanted Nintendo to make an ultra powerful console with a regular controller and a modern online service. In other words, people wanted Nintendo not to be themselves. At least, for a short period of time.
What did Nintendo do? They did exactly what we can expect them to- the unexpected. They made a hybrid console, with weird controllers, and limited access to voice chat through a phone app... for one game. At least it's free to play online for now?
While many other attempts have been made to bring the home console experience on the go (Turboxpress, Sega Nomad), never before were you able to seamlessly go from playing on your television, to your handheld device, and then back again if you wanted to. Nintendo successfully married their handheld line with the AAA quality of their home console games. For me, this was a literal dream come true, and this quirky, but incredibly charming system has won over the hearts and minds of nearly 15 million worldwide.
They did this by providing one of the strongest first party lineups that a console has ever seen in it's first year on the shelves. Sure, Nintendo cheated a little by filling out their new releases with ports from the sales failure that was the Wii U, bolstered by a phenomenal lineup of indie ports and a few quality third party ports. Not to mention all of the other indie titles that released alongside, or not long after, their launches on other platforms.
This wide variety of gaming experiences really helped the Nintendo Switch quickly work its way up the list of my favorite consoles ever, and there are even more great new releases, ports, and weird ideas (labo) to come. Even with the barebones OS, minimal lineup of features, and not so well executed storefront, the Nintendo Switch is a darling.
So, what do I want to see in the future? Honestly? All of the games. While I definitely would prefer to see another strong year of consistent new game releases, I don't mind the prospect of basically any game ever made coming over to be played on the Switch. That is the real magic of the console. It makes me want to play games that I otherwise would have ignored, merely because I can always play them on my terms, regardless of the circumstances. Bethesda has set a high bar of what the little system is capable of.
With all of the retro fueled nostalgia already present on the system, and its limited capabilities in comparison to an Xbone or PS4, I hope that third parties will be willing to dip into their back catalogs of forgotten IPs to give them new life on the Switch. I, for one, would love to see Nintendo bring back Startropics and Punch Out.
Most importantly, what Nintendo needs to do is clean up the mess they've made by rolling out the Switch's OS, eShop, and online service in a very beta state. We need a file management system, better browsing on the eShop, cloud saves, and voice chat that is integrated into the system.
Here's to another great year, and the hope that we hear more soon about what Nintendo will do to keep up their already stellar release library in the second half of 2018, and beyond!