That was certainly a press conference for a new system last night, wasn’t it? Nintendo did its little Switch dance. It crammed the name into casual conversation as often as possible. The result is an event that certainly did its best to show off the console, but did a terrible job of giving us actual information on games and other incidentals.
When it comes to the system, we pretty much know everything. Nintendo did a fantastic job of describing the console and its controllers. We know it has between just over two and six hours of battery life, depending on the game. We know all the ins and outs regarding the Joy-Con Controllers, which have NFC readers, motion IR cameras, motion controls, and rumble HD haptic feedback. We even know it’s region-free, a big deal for a Nintendo system.
But Nintendo dropped the ball on the online service. It mentioned that we’ll need to pay for online play, with a temporarily free trial period until fall 2017. Then, that was it. It left the rest of the information to the official website . People get one Virtual Console game with possible added online multiplayer each month. We get access to an app that lets us arrange game playdates and chat. We get exclusive discounts. But, how large can our friend lists be? Will it use our Nintendo Network IDs? Will our existing Virtual Console libraries carry over? Can we have more than one NNID attached to each Switch, or will it be like the 3DS and Wii U and only allow one account per system? These are important questions.
As is the one about what we’ll actually play. The Nintendo Switch presentation did a terrible job of showing off games. The only ones that received significant screen time were The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , Super Mario Odyssey , Splatoon 2 , Arms , and 1-2-Switch . For other games, we saw brief trailers and were told they were on the way. There were no significant and substantial details. Important titles, like Super Mario 8 Deluxe , weren’t even discussed or shown. It was as though we were watching a presentation they didn’t really prepare for. “Show them a bunch of things that are in development! Maybe they won’t notice none are ready for launch!”
Which is the worst part of the presentation. Only two Nintendo Switch games have solid launch dates. They’re The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch . The former looks great. The Legend of Zelda is always a system seller. The latter looks like it should be a pack-in. But, it isn’t a pack-in! Multiple sites, like Best Buy, Target, and GameStop, are showing it as a stand-alone, possibly $50-60 game! I am not buying a Switch for a game like 1-2-Switch .
Nintendo did a decent job of making the Switch itself look good with that first impression. It adequately presented the hardware and made it seem appealing. It’s the details that tripped the company up. We should have known about at least five launch games last night. Not launch window. Not “see you in 2017” titles. After having a console like the Wii U, where we’d go months without something new to play, we needed to know the Switch had us covered ASAP. The press conference was disappointing, because it didn’t do that.