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I was born the same year that the NES came to be in 1985 and given that fantastic birth year I was born and raised as a gamer. While I did collect every console since the Atari until recently when consoles became less appealing to me due to financial constraints and having an arrow to the knee, if I had a tattoo between my knuckles they would say "MARIO LIFE".

While I couldn't score a Nintendo Wii on the first month of release because of the impossible backlog of pre-orders, I finally got one on the second month of its release with a few games and peripherals which ended up costing me about $1000.  For someone at the time whom worked for $12/hr. I was scraping for money but having the Wii was to me the ultimate badge of honor and it was the future of gaming. Sadly, those feelings have been disappearing with the latest Nintendo Treehouse conference.

When the Nintendo Wii was Everywhere
Fast forward to the future of the Wii when the fad was dying due in part that casual gamers and onlookers whom just bought it because it seemed fun to be physically active with a game console like the elderly and soccer moms and truth be told it was a fun time to be playing on a console. The problem was that these people were tired of playing these games, and they were hardly games at all as they were more or less tech demos or carnival games which grew old quick. For the rest of the Nintendo fans, we were hard to find quality games and while we did get the chance to see two Zelda games on one system, Mario Kart, Mario party, Smash Bros, and a bunch of other fantastic games, the honeymoon which made the Wii so great was shriveling and fans demanded better third party support and third party companies weren't convinced. Perhaps it was due to the difficulty of porting games over (high cost, low-yield), the licensing fees, or perhaps it was Nintendo's strict policy on what was and wasn't allowed to be published on their system.

Image from Gizmodo

Nintendo Wii U Was Too Confusing
The Nintendo Wii U released during the dying era of the Wii and graphically it looked better but not competitive with its counterpart which was the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The Wii U was poorly named as well as kids seemed to be the only ones who would understand that it's a separate and newer console from the Wii. Marketing hardly existed The game library had some interesting titles but there was hardly much third party support and the reliance on the Mario franchise was too heavy to really make the console shine. Despite this, I had enjoyed the Wii U just enough to make the console purchase worth it. Unfortunately the Wii U suffered significantly in sales and was considered a pretty big failure. I believe our biggest lost that came with the Wii U was the death of the Legendary Satoru Iwata.

Nintendo Switch!
Now we arrive at the Nintendo Switch, a game console not that much more powerful than the Wii U that is marketed as both a Console and a portable but mainly a game console which is already crazy confusing. There's very few launch titles; 5 outside of Japan and 7 in Japan. There are a total of 14 exclusive titles being developed in all, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which is not a launch title is not a new Mario Kart game but an improvement from the Wii U version "Mario Kart 8" which basically amounts to a DLC that you pay full price for.

Premature Release Date
Nintendo Switch may be prematurely launch its game console but its name decision is quite off-putting not just for me but to many throughout Twitter, YouTube comments, and other community posts. I do agree that if they kept it as "Nintendo NX" it would have sounded much more incredible than Nintendo Switch and branding-wise it just sounds appealing. Switch is hard to search for and casual gamers won't get it just like they didn't get the Wii U. Branding is a big part of the success of a system and the Nintendo NX already had momentum. Super Mario Odyssey will not be a launch title which gives little reason to buy the console at launch unless you genuinely are excited to play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The True Cost of Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch will cost $249.99(USD) bare-bone or $299.99(USD) with a game at launch while the peripherals will cost extra. Unfortunately you will also need the Nintendo Switch Dock set which costs a whopping $90 if you plan on playing on the TV but there may be an adapter that can skip all of this in the near future. Simply put, you can't just connect HDMI from the Switch to your TV as it uses a USB-C adapter. The JoyCon remotes which are the remotes that dock to the sides of the Switch's screen are essentially next generation Wii motion remotes and comes in different colors. Here's the cost of the peripherals:
  • Nintendo Switch Pro Controller - $69.99
  • Individual L/R Joy-Con Controllers - $49.99
  • Nintendo Switch Dock Set - $89.99 (Needed to play on TV, included in bundle deal)
  • Joy-Con Controller Sets - $79.99
  • Joy-Con Charging Grip - $29.99
  • Joy-Con Wheel (Set of 2) - $19.99

Online Gaming Won't be Free
Unfortunately, Online Gaming won't be free according to Nintendo and things get a little confusing when they say that their online platform will not be available in Japan at launch but it will be available in North America and Europe. Thankfully, online gaming will be free until Fall and every month a free virtual console game of choice will be given to everyone but taken away at the end of that month. This is yet another confusing move considering their competition will give away free games just as long as the gamer has an active subscription to the service.

Battery Life isn't that Great
We can't expect too much out of technology that doesn't exist yet but it's rather a bit disappointing to see that the Nintendo Switch can only be played for about 2.5 - 6hrs on battery or roughly 3hrs while playing visually intensive games like Zelda. Perhaps this is why it's being marketed more as a console than a portable. Perhaps future revisions of the battery could make it last longer, however judging by how there were no upgrades for the Wii U battery, there's very little hope for this to happen unless it occurs in a console revision upgrade.

Virtual and Augmented Reality is Sketchy
Xbox One, PC, Mac, Android, OSX, Linux, SteamOS, Playstation 4, and virtually everything else but Nintendo is including Virtual Reality and/or Augmented Reality in their setup somehow. For $15 you can turn your phone into a crude virtual reality or augmented reality device or if you pay extra you can make it a lot better. VR and AR are becoming big and they are the next big thing in gaming and yet Nintendo has only asked its third party investors how they feel about it but did not mention anything to the public on what they've decided to do. There's supposed to be a camera that senses depth on the Switch controller but there was hardly any information revealed about it at the Treehouse event. Sadly, Nintendo might not be interested in investing into either AR or VR which might prove to be either a dangerous move or a brilliant move.

It's not all grim, Nintendo might survive
There's a lot of talk about this being Nintendo's final console and anything beyond this might turn them into a third party developer for other systems or focus primarily on pushing their IP to the silver screen and other outlets. This is just the beginning of Nintendo Switch's release and there are still a lot of unknowns. The theory behind playing switch seems fantastic however mobile gaming does exist as an immediate competitor and at no additional cost to those of us who have smartphones. This alone makes it very difficult to convince casual gamers and non-gamers to jump back to Nintendo like the Wii was able to accomplish ten years ago. Being able to easily play multiplayer games with nearby friends (up to 8) is very appealing as such a platform doesn't exist on the mobile market.

Until we actually experience what the Switch is like in a real-world setting, it's impossible to tell if it will survive but we can hope that they will not repeat the Wii U's mistakes and show us what innovation really means. Nintendo is not afraid of challenging the impossible and perhaps this is the switch we need in console gaming.

What are your thoughts about the Nintendo Switch? Are people overreacting / over-analyzing? Are these assumptions correct and Nintendo's last console might be this one? (Nintendo keeps saying "this is our final console since the GameCube) Leave a comment below! (Must be logged-in!)
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