I’m on vacation, which means naturally, I’m still writing as I haven’t taken a day off since uh, 2011. But this trip actually inspired a story all on its own, as it’s allowed me to experience the full appeal of the Nintendo Switch for the very first time.
I’ve spoken previously about how much I was surprised to find I liked handheld mode, and while I’ve taken my Switch here and there so far, this was my first international trip where I got to literally take a home game console along for the ride.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the plane. Mario Kart at the hotel. It’s been an almost surreal experience that Nintendo actually made this work. While a portable/handheld merge always sounded good in theory, having it work in practice is a whole different story, and from the blinding initial success of the Switch, it’s clear Nintendo got a lot right.
The problem? This trip has made me realize what the curse of the Nintendo Switch really is.
I want to play all the games like this. ALL the games.
And that’s simply never going to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, playing the Switch’s games line-up in addition to stuff like Virtual Console and eventually whatever comes over from the 3DS will be great, and that alone may be enough to make this a hugely successful system for Nintendo in the long term.
But I find myself wanting to play so much more than that in this portable format. I want to start up Nier: Automata on this trip. I want to finish a few lingering side-quests in Mass Effect: Andromeda. I want to give Ghost Recon: Wildlands another shot.
‘Ghost Recon: Wildlands’
But I can’t. I can’t do any of that, and I am probably not ever going to be able to.
Some of this is obvious. It seems exceedingly unlikely that Sony will resurrect a Vita-like device that also plays PlayStation 4 games perfectly, so those exclusives are certainly out. If Microsoft tried something like this, it would probably be some ottoman-sized brick you’re expected to carry around like it contains the nation’s nuclear codes.
Rather, what this always comes back to is third-party support for the Switch, which seems more urgent than ever, yet also seems more distant as PS4 Pro, Scorpio and PC are pushing games to be more technically impressive and complex than ever before.
The problem is that the reason Nintendo needs third-party support has changed from one that didn’t really hold water (no one really needed waggle/gamepad-infested, visually lackluster ports of big games on Wii/WiiU) to one that’s actually something most people would love (the ability to play huge AAA console games on the go). While it would have been nice for consoles like the Wii and Wii U to have greater third-party support, and it might have helped them in some ways, there’s more of a sense of urgency with the Switch. Now that we’ve seen this can happen, that huge console games like Zelda can go from home to mobile instantly and easily, it’s impossible not to want to that for everything.
But the curse is likely to remain in place indefinitely, regardless. The Nintendo Switch is just not capable of running most of these games at acceptable settings. I do not say that to mock the system, as what is possible on the Switch is still impressive. But again, we are seeing only cartoony Nintendo games or at best, something like a port of the five-year-old Skyrim. Every recent big new game released has not come to the Switch, and almost no big future titles have committed to the console either. Everyone is saying some version of “welllll, we’re not ruling it out,” but some are putting it pretty plainly like Overwatch’s Jeff Kaplan who says the Switch simply can’t give them the output their comfortable with, even if the game could technically run on the system. There’s also the additional complicating factor of Nintendo’s more or less unlaunched online service, when online is such a huge component of most of these games.
It’s just a bittersweet situation. There’s not much Nintendo can even do at this point as the Switch is what it is and these AAA games are what they are. Maybe a few can cross over, but the majority won’t, and the Switch will almost certainly be 95% The Nintendo Show, as usual. That’s fine and could definitely work out for both them and Switch owners, but that nagging longing is still there that either Sony and Microsoft should be doing this too, or that somehow these games should be able to brute force their way to Switch, even if in reality it’s nowhere near feasible.
I guess I never realized how much I would like the flexibility of the Switch, and how it would turn me into a handheld gamer when I frankly haven’t been one since my last Game Boy Color. Blending console and handheld was no small feat, and the Switch’s biggest flaw for me right now is that I simply cannot experience this with more games. Maybe that will change in time, but some elements of this do seem mostly set in stone.
After a long series of rumors and more recent leaks, Call of Duty: WWII has been confirmed. We’ve compiled everything we know so far, including what rumors have been confirmed. Below you can find all the important information, from single-player details to multiplayer changes and even co-op teases.
This is developer Sledgehammer Games’ next endeavor following Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It includes a single-player campaign, multiplayer, and co-op all centered around WWII. Call of Duty: WWII launches on November 3 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Activision debuted the first trailer for Call of Duty: WWII during a worldwide livesteam that followed a teaser announcement. It shows scenes from Normandy, Hurtgen Forest, and more, as well as Josh Duhamel’s character, Technical Sergeant William Pierson. The trailer was revealed alongside several screenshots.
Call of Duty: WWII FAQ
When does the game come out?
Call of Duty: WWII launches on November 3 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. There will also be a preorder beta ahead of the release, but Activision has not yet confirmed dates.
Were the leaks true?
Most of the details that leaked days before the official reveal were later confirmed, including the release date, single-player story details, and beta.
What’s the campaign about?
The single-player story follows the US 1st Infantry Division as they fight their way through the European theater of the war. Missions include the D-Day invasion of Normandy and Battle of the Bulge. Although you primarily play as the young, inexperienced Private Red Daniels, there will also be a mission that casts you as a woman fighting in the French resistance.
What’s multiplayer going to be like?
A full multiplayer reveal is coming at E3 in June, where it will also be playable on the show floor. However, we do know a few pieces of information.
One brand-new addition for the franchise is Headquarters, a place to socialize that will feature “recognition and awards.” It’s not clear what exactly those rewards will be, but it sounds like a base of operations outside of multiplayer lobbies.
Multiplayer introduces a new War Mode, which places you in “iconic World War II battles” with objective-focused, Axis-versus-Allies team gameplay. It also lets you choose class-like Divisions, “including Infantry and Armored Divisions.”
What about co-op?
Sledgehammer has been very quiet about co-op, but they did tease that it has something to do with zombies. The developer said the mode, which appears to be the latest iteration of the fan-favorite Zombies gametype, is “an entirely new story and a pretty horrifying experience,” and it will tell “the story of the Third Reich’s desperate attempt to create an army in the final stages of the war.”
What’s included with a preorder/in the different editions?
All preorders include access to the private beta, which is available first on PS4. The game comes in the following editions:
Base Edition – digital or physical, $59
Digital Deluxe Edition – season pass and more, $100
Pro Edition– season pass, collectible steelbook, and more, $100
The Pro Edition is exclusive to GameStop. Any preorders of the game at GameStop will also include a limited edition hat.
The first images from Call of Duty: WWII appear to have leaked, courtesy of an Activision website.
This year’s entry in the Call of Duty series was officially announced today, but it won’t be until next week that we learn any real details about it. Despite that, the Call of Duty website was briefly home to a few low-res images that look to be from the game.
As noticed by Reddit user braderz_12, the images above were located on the login page for Call of Duty profiles (and have seemingly now been replaced). There doesn’t appear to be anything particularly revealing in them, given that we already know the game is set during World War II, but it is nonetheless our first look at it.
We’ve also gotten a look at the game’s box art, which features the same soldier from the lone image shared as part of today’s announcement. We don’t know for sure at this point that it’s the final artwork that will be used, but you can check it out below, courtesy of Amazon.
A full reveal livestream is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET/6 PM BST.
The company, founded in 1989, is incorporated in Canada but headquartered in Mira Mesa. Its board of directors and executive officers have resigned, and PricewaterhouseCoopers has been appointed to oversee the company.
San Diego gaming gear maker Mad Catz is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
San Diego’s Mad Catz Interactive, a struggling maker of video game accessories, said Friday that it will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation after failing to raise capital or find a buyer.
The company, founded in 1989, is incorporated in Canada but headquartered in Mira Mesa. Its board of directors and executive officers have resigned, and PricewaterhouseCoopers has been appointed to oversee the company.
In a statement, former Chief Executive Karen McGinnis said the board of directors decided to shut down after failing “to find a satisfactory solution to its cash liquidity problems.”
The company hired a financial adviser and considered several options, said McGinnis, including more debt, asset sales and the sale of the entire company. None panned out. The company’s lenders declined to increase the amount of credit facilities.
Mad Catz was publicly traded on the New York Stock exchange, but its shares, which traded below 10 cents, were delisted last month because of the low trading price. The stock moved to the over-the-counter pink sheets before Friday’s liquidation announcement.
Mad Catz made gaming accessories, headphones and controllers for in-home gaming consoles, powerful gaming computers and other devices. Its products were sold under the Mad Catz and Tritton brands.
In September, Mad Catz sold its Saitek brand of flight simulation controllers to Logitech. The company received $11 million in cash, with $2 million deposited in escrow to cover potential claims.
In 2015, a line of accessories for the Rock Band 4 video game helped boost the company’s sales. But revenue has dropped significantly since then. For the first nine months of its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, sales fell 63 percent from the prior year to $44.7 million. The company posted a $4 million loss.
Mad Catz said a Chapter 7 trustee will be appointed by the bankruptcy court and assume control of U.S. operations. Its foreign subsidiaries also are planning to liquidate. Mad Catz’s assets will be sold to pay creditors.
Gamers using Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console have a new way to talk and play online.
Microsoft(MSFT, +0.28%) said Wednesday that Xbox One players will now be able to livestream their video game sessions with others via its own gaming broadcasting service, Beam Streaming.
The announcement is noteworthy because millions of video gamers use Amazon’s rival Twitch streaming service to chat and blast aliens with each other while playing games on Xbox One, as well as on personal computers and Sony’s PlayStation consoles. With its Beam Streaming, Microsoft is mounting a challenge to Twitch, the leader in the growing live video game streaming market.
Microsoft said that Beam is “built right into your Xbox One,” meaning that users won’t have to load another app like Twitch onto their console before playing and broadcasting their game sessions.
The technology giant bought the company behind Beam in August for an undisclosed amount. At the time, Beam was still testing its service with users and hadn’t yet made it available to the general public. The test version also let users modify some video games like the popular Minecraft title with the help of a software development kit. For example, players watching on a livestream could play along with other each other by spawning cows at random within Minecraft or causing the day to suddenly become night.
In Wednesday’s announcement, Microsoft did not mention anything about players being able to modify video games, and it’s unclear how the company plans to encourage the practice in the future. Microsoft partner group program manager Chad Gibson told gaming publication Gamespot that Microsoft is talking with third-party developers about new interactive modding features for Beam and that they may “come to market later this year.”
Although already available to Xbox One users, Microsoft said that Beam would debut for PC users on April 11. Microsoft is pitching Beam’s compatibility with PCs running the Windows 10 operating system as an example of how it is unifying its Xbox console with PCs, which helps keep consumers using Microsoft’s products—and those of competitors.
Sony did not have a statement to share, but a representative confirmed that the PS4 was the No. 1 overall home console in the US in terms of sales for February.
In its own statement, Microsoft said global Xbox One game hours in February jumped 11 percent year-over-year, while global unique multiplayer users reached 35 percent-plus growth compared to last year. Xbox marketing boss Mike Nichols called out Halo Wars 2, For Honor, and Grand Theft Auto IV (in backwards compatibility) as helping drive engagement on Xbox One during the month.
A week from today, the NPD Group will announce the top-selling games for February 2017. We’ll report back with more details as they become available.
In my March 1 Tech Brief I talked a little about the presentation by Nvidia’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the Game Developers Conference. It was mainly a preview of the GTX 1080 Ti high-end video card. I pointed out that the main purpose of the card seemed to be to head off the imminent threat of Advanced Micro Devices’ (NASDAQ:AMD) new Vega GPU architecture.
How successful Nvidia will be remains to be seen, but it appears that Nvidia has done what it can in the near term to boost performance of the Pascal architecture while keeping the price reasonable. The 1080 Ti delivers approximately the performance of the Titan X for a Founders Edition list of $700 vs. the $1,200 of the Titan X.
Reviews just came out today, and I looked at reviews from Tom’s Hardware, Ars Technica, AnandTech and Guru3D. My general impression is that Nvidia more or less delivered on its promise of a 35% performance improvement over the 1080 for 4K resolution gaming, currently the most stressful. At lower resolutions, the performance improvement was less, typically 15-20%.
How did Nvidia manage to equal the performance of the Titan X? More to the point, does this imply lower margins on the 1080 Ti? I thought that Tom’s explained this very well.
The 1080Ti uses the same GP102 chip as the Titan X. Nvidia increased the yield of the GP102 by building in more processing cores (called CUDA cores by Nvidia) than it actually uses. That allows it to selectively disable a block of defective cores while still maintaining spec performance. Out of 3,840 cores on the GP102 die, only 3,584 are enabled.
For the new Ti, Nvidia goes a step further and disables one of 12 memory controllers and some other circuitry, whereas the Titan X needs to use all of them. This further improves yield and lowers cost of the Ti. It’s the single disabled memory controller that results in the odd 11 GB of memory for the card vs. 12 GB for Titan X.
To compensate for the decrease in memory controller count, Nvidia ups the clock rate on the memory interface and takes advantage of some slightly faster memory from Micron (NASDAQ:MU).
So the lower price doesn’t necessarily mean lower margins for Nvidia on the Ti. In addition to the higher yield, normal learning curve at Nvidia’s foundry, TSMC (NYSE:TSM), reduces cost per wafer. The net effect is that Nvidia has probably been able to hold the line on gross margin.
Can the 1080 Ti Defend Against Vega?
It will be interesting to see how the Ti matches up against Vega in performance. Rumors have generally put Vega performance somewhere between the 1080 and the Titan X. The most specific information I’ve seen is a leaked benchmark of the Radeon RX 580 published by VideoCardz for the famous Ashes of the Singularity DX12 benchmark:
It’s actually not easy to find a set of results for AotS at 1080p, since most reviewers focused on higher resolution, but Ars Technica did assemble a set of results:
Often, test results can vary a lot between reviewers based on settings used. The leaked VideoCardz result indicates a Standard preset, while Ars Technica stated that it uses “high or ultra” settings for its tests. Given the performance margin for the Ti in the results, it appears that Nvidia’s position at the top of the high performance graphics market remains secure.
This probably leaves AMD having to price Vega well below the Ti. That could be difficult, given Vega’s use of High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2). HBM2 offers very high performance, but it’s inherently more expensive since the memory is mounted within the GPU package.
Nvidia only offers the GP100 version of Pascal with HBM2, and this is only available in the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) P100 accelerator for datacenter use, which lists for $3,600. If Nvidia has been able to offer better performance without HBM2, this is probably a competitive advantage.
Nvidia’s Open Compute Project Design Win
Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Project Olympus, which I profiled yesterday, also offered some very good news for Nvidia. Although Project Olympus mainly deals with generic open standards for detacenters such as rack and server specifications, Microsoft had a very specific proposal to use the Tesla P100 accelerator in a specific rack implementation.
The P100s are connected by Nvidia’s high speed NV Link interface rather than conventional PCIe. Unlike other Olympus announcements, the HGX-1 was designed around a very specific GPU architecture only available from Nvidia, and really does constitute a “design win.”
According to Kushagra Vaid, GM, Azure Hardware Infrastructure,
The HGX-1 AI accelerator provides extreme performance scalability to meet the demanding requirements of fast growing machine learning workloads, and its unique design allows it to be easily adopted into existing datacenters around the world.
The Boost Mode feature aims to improve the quality and performance of games that have not been patched to support PS4 Pro.
“This can provide a noticeable frame rate boost to some games with variable frame rates, and can provide frame rate stability for games that are programmed to run at 30 Hz or 60 Hz,” Sony explained. “Depending on the game, the increased CPU speed may also result in shorter load times. You can turn on Boost Mode by going to Settings > System.”
Boost Mode is “not guaranteed to work with all titles,” Sony explained. Additionally, the setting can be turned off so that the experience is that of a standard PS4.
The PS4 4.5 update also includes a tweak for PlayStation VR that makes 2D images look better on the virtual reality headset.
“If you’re playing a game in PS VR and you return to the PS4 home screen, you may notice that the resolution looks lower than normal on the TV Social Screen,” Sony said. “Following this update, you’ll find that the resolution of the system screen displayed on your TV is significantly better when you’re out of VR mode.”
Additionally, the resolution quality for PlayStation VR’s cinematic mode will improve with the update, jumping from 90 Hz to 120 HZ if your screen size is set to small or medium.
PS4 4.5 also adds voice chat for Remote Play on Windows PC, Mac, or an Xperia device. This can be toggled on and off by clicking the microphone icon on the tool bar, as seen in the image below.
Also new with PS4 4.5 is an icon, shaped like a smartphone, that will pop up when a person is logged into PSN but is not actually using their console. This would be for instances where you’re logged in to PSN through the PlayStation App or the PlayStation Messages app.
Lastly, Sony announced that it is upcoming the PlayStation Message and PlayStation Communities iOS and Android apps with the following features, as written by Sony:
When you receive a Party invitation from your friends on PS Messages, now you can respond with a quick reply, “I’ll join later” or “Sorry, I can’t join,” when you want to get back to them ASAP.
On the Communities app, you can now easily check the PSN service status under Settings > View Status of PSN Services.
Also on the Communities app, iOS users can tell at a glance if there are any new posts in their community by checking the badge app icon (the number in a red circle at the top-right corner of the app’s icon).
The Switch, Nintendo’s new phablet console, was a big bet, but perhaps not a smart one. Despite being marketed as a step into the future, it launched with more hardware issues and irritating design flaws than playable titles. As such, fans who just plunked down $300 are already rolling up their sleeves to build solutions to make their shiny new investment work the way it ought to.
One of the biggest complaints about the Switch has been its flimsy, poorly-angled kickstand. The consensus is that it sucks. And because the charging port is located on the bottom of the console, it can’t receive power while propped in an upright configuration. Over on Thingiverse—a site for people to upload plans for 3D prints—there are three different stands that allow for charging, ranging from a pair of lightweight clips to a full-sized dock. (There’s an officially licensed stand from Nintendo, but that’s going to run an extra $30.)
The shallow joysticks and lack of a d-pad have also been frustrating for some Switch owners. Make these joystick extenders or this d-pad cover if that’s your gripe. (And these are legitimate gripes, especially for a hyped console where basically everything will cost extra.)
Detached from the main body of the Switch, many players found Nintendo’s pint-sized Joy-Con too small to hold comfortably. MyMiniFactory, another place to find 3D-printable designs, has plans for a more ergonomic add-on for people with adult hands who want to play Zelda without getting carpal tunnel. Of course, you could also ruin your Switch’s resale value by sawing the grips off the included controller holster thing and duct taping them to the console itself.
There’s been concern, too, that one of the major gimmicks of the 2-in-1 console—the Switch’s dock, which lets it seamlessly blend into a home entertainment setup—could end up scratching the screen. Luckily, the DIY fix for that doesn’t require owning a 3D printer, although it’s a bit silly to drop any amount of money on a product that damages itself, only to prevent it from being used as intended by adding pantyhose or a hand-made cozy.
As YouTuber JerryRigEverything shows, the Switch’s screen isn’t made of glass or sapphire like most cell phones—it’s plastic. Let me repeat that: this $300 console, which is intended to be fully portable and withstand the damage of being constantly lugged around, has a plastic-covered screen. Nintendo’s consoles don’t lend themselves to home repairs, and having such a shoddy screen feels like a huge oversight.
Our own reviewer had so much trouble even tracking down a Switch that it should not be surprising how many “replica” Switch 3d printing plans are floating around. At least a non-articulating hunk of plastic does exactly what it’s intended to do and costs a fraction of Nintendo’s asking price. Even if Switches are flying off the shelves, it’s a bad sign when less than a week after launch, fans are already having to unfuck your bad design decisions.
The Switch$299.99 at Amazon, Nintendo’s newest video game system, merges home gaming comfort and portability to create a unique, eye-catching platform.
The nifty Joy-Con motion controllers foster the same casual-friendly gameplay that made the Wii a hit, while Switch’s tablet-style design and side-grip controller slots improve Nintendo’s Wii U vision. When you consider Nintendo’s dominance over the portable console market, it’s easy to imagine Switch following suit and delivering some truly excellent games. Still, it’s just as easy to be apprehensive about committing to the new console, especially with Switch launching in the wake of Wii U’s passing.
Leaving Switch’s Fate Up to Chance
From the system’s catchy reveal trailer, to its painfully detailed presentation, it is clear that Nintendo wants its audience to know exactly what Switch is, and what it can do. A quick glance at professional gaming outlets, or community-focused sites and YouTube channels, reveal Switch unboxing videos, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild reviews, and innumerable hot takes. Nintendo is pushing Switch in a big way, and it’s using the growing trend of gaming channels and online personalities to push the system into the eyes of the masses.
One thing is certain: the Nintendo Switch launch is going to be big. But will the system maintain a steady burn, or be a mere flash in the pan? Switch could be a potent contender in current console market, if Nintendo plays its cards right. But to make Switch more appealing to gamers sitting on the fence, Nintendo should consider tweaking and improving the following four issues.
Switch Needs Strong Third-Party Support
To ensure the Switch’s longevity and success, Nintendo needs good third-party developer support. Yes, we’ve all seen the fancy graphic featuring dozens of developers on board with the Switch. Sadly, this means very little, as Wii U boasted similar partnerships prior to the system’s launch. Third-party Wii U support dwindled a few months after the system was released, and companies like EA abandoned Wii U software development entirely.
The video game industry changes constantly, so we can’t know what games ultimately come to fruition. But Nintendo needs to secure these partnerships to keep the Switch relevant. We know the system can’t compete with the hardware muscle that Sony and Microsoft have to offer, so Nintendo must keep the Switch appealing with solid software options. Because Switch is a portable/home console hybrid, one can hope that the system’s lineup of games mirrors that of the Nintendo DS and 3DS, which enjoyed excellent third-party support throughout their lifetimes.
Nintendo does its player base a solid by making the Switch region-free. You can purchase and play Switch games from anywhere in the world, be they niche Japanese games or big-name multiplatform titles. Wii owners might remember Operation Rainfall, a social media campaign that urged Nintendo to bring several Japanese-exclusive titles to North America and Europe. Games like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story made their way to Western shores thanks to the movement, but it might not have been as much of an issue had Wii not been region-locked.
The Switch is also getting a surge of indie games throughout the year; about 60 have been announced for Switch, including Yooka-Laylee, Pocket Rumble, Stardew Valley, Shovel Knight, and more. This is great news, as it gives Switch owners a tremendous amount of content to chew through in between big-name releases and exclusives. But these games alone won’t be enough to keep Switch afloat: it needs compelling software that goes beyond the indie scene. Third-party support from companies EA, Ubisoft, and Square-Enix, be it multiplatform ports or exclusive games, is extremely important for enticing potential would-be Switch buyers. Bayonetta 2 was a tremendous Wii U asset, after all. We can only wonder in excitement at what companies, such as Platinum Games, Capcom, and From Software, are cooking up for Switch.
Switch Needs Modern Online Functionality
The Nintendo Switch reveal came with the revelation of a new, online service to go with it. This service is free at launch, but will adopt a subscription model in autumn. While this may not sound very different from the services Sony and Microsoft provide, these companies have several years more experience with subscription-based online services, as well as incentives to encourage gamers to commit. PlayStation Plus’s free monthly game downloads and Microsoft’s Games with Gold are prime examples. A quick look at the official Switch online service page suggests Nintendo has a few odd kinks to work out.
The most positive aspect of Nintendo’s new service is the discounted offers on select games, which is a genuinely nice perk, given that Nintendo games don’t usually drop in price. But that’s about the only good thing to come from the announcement.
One glaring issue is the bizarre monthly game download, which lets subscribers download one NES or SNES classic title for free, for a month. The caveat, however, is that you don’t get to keep it after that month is over. This is only worsened by the fact that these games are several generations old and easily obtained online via emulators. Sony and Microsoft both give you a selection of games to download and keep so long as you keep your subscription active. Sure, these monthly offerings aren’t technically free either, but it’s a nice perk, especially since you’re paying for online connectivity anyway.
What is perhaps even more bewildering is Nintendo’s use of a smartphone companion app for basic online features, such as party chat and game invites. We can only speculate about why Nintendo has opted for a companion app rather than designing these features directly into the Switch’s interface. Nintendo’s online approach is odd, and we can only hope that the company learns much from the spring and summer online beta.
Switch Needs a Bundled Game
There is no doubt that Wii’s runaway success was due to the console’s unique motion gimmicks and casual appeal. However, the silent hero in the Wii’s tale of glory is Wii Sports, the quirky, party-oriented sports game that came packaged with the console in some regions. Wii Sports epitomized the Wii experience: it used simple motion controls to great effect, while also crystallizing exactly what Wii offered.
Nintendo Switch is a portable console with two highly specialized Joy-Con controllers that can be paired together for use as a single classic controller or divvied up with a second player for co-op or competition. But the Switch doesn’t come packaged with any game to take advantage of the dynamic controllers or the console’s mobility.
1-2-Switch is a party game that utilizes the Switch’s portability, as well as the two Joy-Con controllers for competitive dueling and party-style challenges. This makes 1-2-Switch the ideal candidate for a bundled game, but Nintendo has opted to sell the game separately and for $50, no less. The tremendous success of Wii Sports, even in regions where the game was not bundled with the system, is very likely coloring Nintendo’s decision to sell 1-2-Switch independently. Nonetheless, the game’s quirky humor, silly mini games, and Switch-exclusive tech would be better suited as a bundled title rather than a standalone game.
The two-player functionality of the Joy Cons, as well as their highly versatile motion and IR capabilities, alongside a pack-in game, would perfectly emulate the NES bundles of old: It would be a modern iteration of the NES Action Set bundle from the late 1980s.
Switch Needs More Memory
Nintendo Switch launches with 32GB of internal storage space for game data, but about 7GB of that is taken up by the console’s system software. This means you could easily use up what little memory the Switch is packaged with on a single digital game download. Alternative bundles with larger storage capacity would be ideal for those gamers who prefer to buy their games digitally.
Nintendo is avoiding the atrocious price gouging that PlayStation Vita owners suffer by making the Switch compatible with generic micro SDXC cards. As you may know, PlayStation Vita uses outrageously expensive proprietary Sony memory cards to store game data. With Switch, however, you can buy whatever size microSD card you like to replace the system’s default storage.
It’s also important to note that Switch uses cartridge-based software that doesn’t need to be installed onto the system, unlike PlayStation 4 which make installations mandatory for digital and physical games alike. Memory is less of an issue if you buy physical cartridges, so you can simply pop a new game into the Switch and play right away.
The issue here, however, is that not everyone wants to buy a physical version of the game. Many gamers prefer buying digital games, as they don’t take up real-world space and can’t be lost. Nintendo Switch’s game cartridges are tiny: smaller than a Nintendo 3DS cartridge. You can’t fault buyers for wanting to go digital to avoid having to keep track of these diminutive, yet highly valuable games cards. Again, an alternative bundle with greater storage options would be ideal going forward.
Plus, game saves are stored to system memory. They’re realitively small files, but add up over time. If Nintendo allowed users to move save data from the system memory to microSD cards, it would be a much welcomed addition.
Nintendo is no stranger to iterative system releases. The Switch’s spartan launch may not impress everyone right out of the gate, but I have no doubt that a Deluxe Edition is coming down the pipe, with a larger microSD memory card, a pack-in game, or both. We can almost certainly expect something like it later this year. Nintendo Switch has tremendous potential, and I sincerely hope that it delivers on all fronts, and that Nintendo improves its weak points in time for the holiday season.