Will the Nintendo Switch succeed or fail?
Pocket Gamer weighs in
The Switch is Nintendo's next console - and it's a hybrid.
Which is to say it hooks up to your TV like a normal console, but you can also rip it out of the dock and take it on the go to play it like an oversized Game Boy.
It's ambitious - but will it succeed, or will it fail? Pocket Gamer editor Glen and editor at large Mark discuss just that, by answering five crucial questions.
Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments below.Do gamers want to play console games on the go? Glen: Speaking for myself - definitely. I can't count the number of times I've been annoyed that I'm unable to play a game I was really into because I'm off on holiday, a press trip, or just visiting relatives. To be able to continue playing any of the games in my library no matter where I am will be amazing. Mark: Hmm, I don't think I do. Handheld and console games just work differently: handheld games are often quicker to get into, have shorter play sessions, and have graphics that are readable on smaller screens.
The thought of playing the next epic Zelda experience on the move sounds good in principle - but will I actually want to do that in practice? I'm not so sure.
Many devices have tried to bring console quality games to handheld, such as the Vita and Nvidia Shield, but they all flop. People seem to agree that games you play at home and games you play on a train are quite differentGlen: True, the Vita kind of proved that most gamers don't want console games on the go. It massively undersold despite arguably offering that.
The Switch does differ, however, in the sense it actually is a handheld and console in one, rather than a halfway house.
Also, let's not discount the fact that local multiplayer is fully supported with the console's split-screen mode and detachable controllers. That will help encourage non-gamers to get involved because it's so easy, and can be done anywhere.What new games will be on the Switch? Mark: The Switch won't really affect the types of games that can be made, and that's both a good thing and a bad thing.
Nintendo has typically made new consoles with new features that force developers to come up with innovative new ideas. The Wii Remote, the N64 analogue stick, the DS touchscreen, and the Wii U Gamepad's second screen all allowed for new ways to play.
This works wonders for Nintendo who have a knack for turning mad chunks of technology into dozens of brilliant games - but not for third party developers who would rather make something that will work nicely on all major consoles.
So while the Switch's standard control scheme will mean more games like Skyrim and NBA on a Nintendo console, it also means fewer games that do something truly unique.Glen: But what the Switch will have is actual Nintendo exclusives. That alone is enough to sell a platform - who can live without Mario, Link, or Samus in their lives? Not me, that's for sure.
Also, we haven't seen everything that the Switch has to offer. Then again, if it did have an incredibly innovative feature, I doubt Nintendo would save it for later.What is the fate of the dedicated handheld? Glen: Handheld fans won't like it, but I believe mobile gaming has already killed off the handheld - and I don't lament this at all. Why wouldn't I prefer to play a game on my comfortable iPhone with its sharp screen and gorgeous visuals over the grainy, ugly mess that is the 3DS screen?
I'd take my iPhone over a 3DS or Vita any day. It simply offers a far better and more affordable gaming experience. In fact, the only area in which handheld has over mobile is in the games. I would like to see more core experiences on mobile.
So I believe handheld would have died even if the Switch didn't arrive to replace the 3DS. They're expensive, unnecessary, and your phone does everything better already. I'm just grateful Nintendo is covering both departments with the Switch.Mark: Well, Nintendo has hinted that while the Switch will replace the Wii U, it won't necessarily replace the 3DS. You're probably right that mobile will kill off handheld consoles, but I hope they stick around for now.
Until iOS and Android devices are capable of playing games like Fire Emblem, Persona, Ace Attorney, and Pokemon, I'll stick up for the Vita and 3DS. And if the Switch forces developers to make all games as big budget, 1080p console games we may see certain games and genres die off.Do we need a touchscreen? Mark: It's a shame to lose it. Nintendo's innovations come and go but the touchscreen has stuck around for years. It's a direct way to interact with a device, and new gamers are used to touching and tapping on things with their iPhones and whatnot.
Plus, the biggest disappointment will be that Super Mario Maker will likely not be among the list of Wii U games getting Switch ports, sequels, or upgrades.Glen: Yeah, this is where the Switch falls apart a bit for me. But for a different reason.
Nintendo has just moved into the mobile market with Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and the upcoming Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games, yet they won't be playable on the Switch - a tablet-like device when taken on the go? That's absolutely baffling to me.
What's also concerning is Nintendo's lack of ambition. Why wouldn't it want to challenge the tablet / phone market as well as the console and handheld? The Switch should be trying to win over tablet owners by offering exactly what they have already as well as core games experiences.
After the Wii U catastrophe, Nintendo really needs to stop being so insular and start not only delivering gamers what they want - but what they expect.So, will you buy a Switch? Glen: Absolutely. For years I've bemoaned the lack of a console that I can take on the go with me, and despite trying a number of iterations, none have ever quite satisfied.
While I'm yet to actually experience the Switch, this seems to be exactly what I was hoping it would be. It's a console when you're at home, with a nice and comfortable Pro Controller, but when you leave you can take it with you, and play your entire library of games.
The 7 inch tablet design looks nice and premium and it seems to have good form factor. It just remains to be seen what it feels like to play. Is it comfortable? Is the controller nice? Does it feel tacky? Is the screen high quality?Mark: Ultimately, I want a new Nintendo console to play new Nintendo games. So whatever it does, I'm going to buy it.
Nintendo always does something bold and different with its systems and while I don't think this one will have any obvious effect on the types of games we'll get to play, it will definitely affect how we play them.
I'm not sure I'm going to take my Switch out and about with me - I have mobile games and 3DS games that feel better suited to playing on the go. But anything that keeps Nintendo in business is good in my books.