I have been watching the controversy about the Nintendo Switch for awhile now. Early leaks and demo play left a bad taste in a lot of mouths, and Nintendo fans haven’t forgotten the utter failure of the Wii U. But now the Switch is out, and we can put some real experience behind our opinions.
So, does the Nintendo Switch suck? This blogger weighs in with a resounding: meh.
Nintendo Switch: An Utterly OK Gaming Console
First, let’s get the good stuff out of the way.
Having played my friend’s new Nintendo Switch, I was struck right away by how good it looks. I don’t mean the graphics, but the console itself. The controller, when put into handheld mode, is pretty cool. It feels natural, and the larger size is a benefit to the old school Nintendo flat controllers that we all remember as kids.
Obviously, it is portable. That is a major draw for most people who are jumping on board. Mobile capabilities are a primary concern for most devices these days, and Nintendo fell behind in a big way with bigger sellers like the PSP taking over the market.
Now for the bad. When in free play mode, the double hand controller model is super difficult to use. I don’t know if it is just my brain, but I have trouble connecting to both sides when they are apart like that. Not everyone will have this problem, but from what I have seen from others it is a big enough drawback that most choose the handheld method of play.
Next is the graphics. They aren’t bad, they look at least as good as a mobile game does on a newer Android. But this is a console, and it is priced like one. Spending that much money on a Switch, only to have it hold a rather low CPU and GPU inside of it is a major disappointment.
This also causes potential problems for game developers down the road. Once again Nintendo is showing their inability to think towards third party game porting, which is a big deal in modern gaming. Instead, they are going to be limited to either their own game titles, or indie games that require less computing power to play. Sure, those exist. But Nintendo Switch owners aren’t going to have anywhere near the library of games as their would with other consoles.
With that in mind, you would think that games would be cheaper, right? Wrong! Nintendo Switch games on average cost more than newly released titles for either the XBox One or Playstation 4. Talking to about any game developer, they will say the same thing: disc-style games are easier and cheaper to produce. Specialized chip games, such as in the Switch, are harder and more costly. So that cost is eaten by the consumer, who will pay as much as $50+ per game.
Since Switch isn’t being supported by apps right now, that isn’t going to get better any time soon. Yet another drawback…you have no video support, either. The Switch is a very expensive, limited game machine.
Glitches and Problems
Unfortunately, another list of issues have arisen for early adopters of the device. More than a dozen common glitches and technical issues have been reported again and again. Some of the problems being reported include:
- The left side of the controller becoming disconnected
- Broken pixels in games
- Regular hard resets needed when the console wont boot up
- Battery pack won’t charge device
- MicroSD cards (needed for storage expansion) won’t connect
- Broken cartridges
Some of these problems have been addressed by Nintendo, but they are basically saying they are working on it. Others are being addressed by the owners of the consoles, who are more than a little peeved.
My friend and I experienced both the disconnected controller issue, and the hard reset issue. When I last spoke to him he had fixed the first by opening up the controller and tinkering with its guts a bit (voiding the warranty in the process). The second issue remains a problem every once in awhile.
So, Does It Suck?
As I stated about, I am pretty ‘meh’ about this console. The Nintendo Switch has a lot of interesting ideas that make it worth a look. Sadly, it also has many of the flaws that Nintendo has shown with past releases. It doesn’t follow by the current popular models, especially for mobile style devices. On the console side, it doesn’t go far enough to provide good gameplay. And of course, it is chock full of irritating glitches.
In the end, my ‘meh’ really means this: The Nintendo Switch is a good idea, with poor execution. Save your money, at least until the next incarnation.