January 15, 2017
What was missing from the Switch Event?
After 22 months, we now actually know what makes Switch, well Switch, the JoyCon, the Switch Dock and even looks at the games, but with all the information that was announced there was so much that was still missing.
Perhaps that biggest omission from the event was the complete lack of amiibo support, sure they did confirm that there is an NFC reader in JoyCon R, but that was it, heck even the announcement of the two new amiibo was left until after the event had completed and even then, word first released from actual people seeing them and not from Nintendo themselves. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was not announced, again, until after the event, but in all the press release information, there is not a single mention of amiibo support.
Splatoon had amiibo support, but with Splatoon 2, there was not even a mention that the 8 currently released Splatoon amiibo would work with the game. Now, it would be silly to expect them to detail full amiibo functionality of each game that is coming at launch or soon after, but even just stating that ARMS or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe would support them would have been enough, we know Breath of the Wild supports them, but outside of that game, we have no idea what amiibo support will look like for Switch.
This really needed to be addressed in the event, even an announcement afterwards would have been a release for some people, yet again, we are asking questions that Nintendo should have given answers too. Will the Switch support Virtual Console, the answer is yes it will and the next question you need to ask is what platforms will it support, well that is where things get trickier. The only currently confirmed virtual console platform is Neo Geo and that was announced via a news post on Famistu’s website, Nintendo have not confirmed any of their own platforms for Virtual Console.
But what about the free game they are offering for being a paid Nintendo Network member, I here you ask, well think of it this way, with that promotion, getting one free game a month is great, except once that month passes, you lose access to that game, unless you purchase it. But even then, those games are only going to be for NES and SNES and even then, there has been no mention of people being able to purchase them outside of that feature. Will someone who does not pay to play online be able to purchase those games? What about new platforms, Wii had 9 platforms in the end, Wii U had 5, with the rumours that Gamecube games are coming to Switch Virtual Console, the question needs to be answered.
It was nice for Nintendo to actively announce release dates for some of their games and by some, I mean nothing past April, and even then, that month only contains one game. Nintendo are notorious of not giving release dates until the very last possible moment and even then, those release dates are different around the world. With Switch being region free, day and date releases are important for around the world, so why is it Nintendo still is being coy about the games.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was announced during the show and already Nintendo are saying it is this year, the problem is they have not specified if its Japan this year or outside of Japan. The event was being broadcast globally, but most of the content was specific to Japan, I mean it’s nice to get confirmation that Dragon Quest Heroes is coming westward, but what about the Koei Tecmo games that have been announced, one of which was talked about last year, will they leave Japan? Obviously not every game made in Japan will see a release outside of Japan, the market is just not there for it, but talking about games that might never see the released on a global broadcast just rubs salt into the wound Nintendo.
No matter what Nintendo state, they are competing against the other home consoles, it’s not something that they can avoid, each department store will only dedicate so much space to video games. If you have 3 major platforms, one handheld (sorry Vita) and a stack of figures for toys to life, splitting that shelf space can only be done so many ways and if you give space to a platform where the content does not sell, you are going to shrink it to fit more from something that does, it’s just good business. So, having a console come out at the same price, or very near to that of the others is going to hold you back right away.
Then asking people to buy into the promise of games to come, well that just is not going to work for those who want to get value right away. Early adopters are not the ones you need to convince, they will buy it day one, but for people who walk into a store and can purchase a Switch for $469 with no game or another console, with 15 times the amount of storage and one or two games for the same price, consumers are going to look for the value and right now that’s not with Switch. Bundling a single game provides value, Wii launched with Wii Sports, simply to help sell the value and promise of Wii, none of the games Switch has coming can fit in that space, so without a pack in, the price needs to come down.
Having playing Nintendo Switch, they have something special on their hands, but unless they can address these issues, people are going to be confused and not invest, more so if that price is not there.