Thanks to their big presentation back on the January 13th, the world has a better idea what the Switch is. From Japan’s presentation, coupled with the Nintendo Treehouse stream and quotes, gamers can see the pros and cons of the mobile console.
Opinions haven’t been this varied on a console in years, with some fans praising Nintendo for their innovations, with critics calling it another console failure. Many features and new developments are leaving gamers hesitant and confused, and might result in a weak launch for the new system.
There are some things Nintendo can do now and in the near future to ensure the Switch finds success among the gaming population and to properly compete with other home consoles. Here are just a few ways the Switch needs to succeed.
Do Some Backpedaling and Fix Some Stuff
There are some features and focuses that accompany the Switch that gamers simply don’t like. A prime example of this is forcing gamers to use a paid app on their phone for voice chat. Their reasoning behind this unpopular choice seems a bit weak, claiming this would replace “bulky gaming headsets,” but gamers don’t buy it.
Similar problems include things like only temporarily owning NES and SNES games for a single month when paying for the online service, selling a tech demo game for a full price instead of bundling it and focusing on motion controls.
These problems are reminiscent of when Microsoft announced the Xbox One and included things like needing to be always online, having the Kinect always one and charging for content per person enjoying it, and trying to eliminate used games. There was such a large backlash at this that Microsoft quickly changed their tune, backpedaling and fixing what their fans didn’t like.
A similar backlash is happening now, though a little less crazed. Nintendo needs to address these concerns in a very visible manner and make efforts to fix them. Some of them are easy fixes, while others might take time, but they need to be more visible and listen to their fans.
Moving Past Motion Controls
Yes, Nintendo, we know. The Wii was your big hit, but it’s time to finally realize that the swan song has played and the band has gone home. Motion controls were cool and a fun fad thanks to Wii Sports, but now the concept is dead.
What interested consumers with the Switch is the ability to play console games at home and easily switch to mobile gaming. Yet what seemed to be the main focus of the presentation? Motion controls. Not the mobile functionality that was the highlight of the reveal trailer.
Motion controls can be fun, but it shouldn’t be a focus. It’s what prevented many big names games from coming to the Wii and contributed to the Wii U failing. A few party games are good, but most games need traditional controls to work, and motion controls are not a part of them.
One potential solution is to sell a version of the Switch without motion controls, lowering the price and making it more accessible to people who don't want motion controls. This would be similar to what Nintendo did with the 3DS, creating the 2DS for a lower price.
The Japanese conference displayed one huge problem with Nintendo’s strategy. Japanese audiences respond very differently to marketing than American and European markets. A lot of people found the conference lackluster and strange, but was completely normal to Japanese gamers.
So, of course, that’s why we have Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe. They are meant to market the products and handle business in their respective areas. The problem is that their arms are often tied by Japan’s division. For example, Japan is the one who has made a mess of their Youtube relationships and deciding what games to bring over to the west.
Giving more power and trust to the local offices could go a long way to improving the Switches chances outside of Japan. Moving the global brand forward with a local emphasis can help create new gamers and increase awareness, something Nintendo desperately wants and needs.
Social media should be another major focus for the local offices. Right now on Nintendo of America’s Twitter, there is little interactions between them and fans. There is also rarely interactions with other brands, even when it could be extremely beneficial, like journalists praising the Switch. Being more human on social media would make them more transparent and fun to follow, which is what Nintendo is all about. Their social media should be fun, with silly jokes, entertaining videos, and less self-promotion.
Better Third Party Support
We’ve been told many times that the Switch would have tons of 3rd party support, and in a sense, that’s true. Plenty of indie developers are sending games over, like Shovel Knight and Binding of Isaac, but so far none of the massive AAA titles are coming over.
There are plenty of lists detailing what games are coming to the Switch, but many major titles, both already released and planned, won’t be “switching” over. This includes games like Mass Effect Andromeda, Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and more. Even further, many games won’t be able to perform on the Switch’s rumored lower performance and be unavailable.
Here’s the problem. Many gamers, especially those a bit more casual, only have one gaming machine at a single time. They buy a console, more to play a few specific games, then a plethora of lesser games. Nintendo needs to have these games alongside Mario and Zelda. Games like Call of Duty and Final Fantasy XV, alongside new exciting projects like For Honor and Prey.
What are your thoughts about the Nintendo Switch? What are they missing to find success? Is there something they need to start doing to convince you to buy their newest console? Let us know in the comments below.