There’s a lot of excitement in the air since Nintendo finally lifted the lid on the Switch late last week. The new console is being touted as a hybrid sitting somewhere between the home console and portable space. This has excited me for a number of reasons, but I’m also seeing a lot of people with the idea that Nintendo should continue down the portable path, and either continue with them heavily supporting the 3DS or creating a fully-fledged successor.
We know that Nintendo will release Pokemon Moon/Sun, Super Mario Maker 3DS, Yoshi’s Wooly World 3DS and Pikmin 3DS sometime in the next 6 months, but it’s clear that this is Nintendo’s last 3DS rush before the Nintendo Switch releases. I honestly think that you’d be crazy to believe that Nintendo will heavily support the system past these titles.
Yes, the Nintendo 3DS has sold 60 million units worldwide, but it will be six years old by the time the Switch releases in March and let’s be real, the 3DS is largely the exact same concept of the Nintendo DS which released over 12 years ago. The dual screen concept has been fantastic for Nintendo’s lineup of games, utilising the hardware to great effect, but it has been done to absolute death. Not only should Nintendo put everything into the Switch just to make sure the thing is a success, it honestly feels like they’ve just simply run out of ideas for the 3DS at this point.
For the Switch to be a success, Nintendo needs to put everything into it from a software point of view. The main issue with the Wii U (besides its horrible name and confusing marketing campaign) was the fact that third-party ditched it and Nintendo just weren’t supporting it with enough compelling content to get the mid-tier gamer to purchase it. Games like Splatoon and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker showed off Nintendo at their creative best, but for the most part, we saw rehashes of familiar franchises. Which were great games, but not innovative enough to the point that PS4/Xbox One owners would shell out to pick up the console.
Nintendo needs to dedicate all their gaming resources to ensure that there is enough familiar franchises, as well as enough new franchises on the Switch, to ensure that the non-hardcore Nintendo fan needs to pick it up, as an addition to their PS4 or Xbox One. There is no way they can do this if they can continue supporting the 3DS.
Secondly, Nintendo absolutely needs to ditch everything related with the Wii and Wii U brand. I got a really great feeling watching the Nintendo Switch teaser. It felt like a Nintendo that was going back to their routes, yet incredibly fresh at the same time. The trailer was mature showing real-life situations (that may have been exaggerated) and the console and overall branding just ooze a sense of classiness, which the Wii and the Wii U lacked.
I hope that Nintendo don’t make any of the existing controller compatible with the Wii U. The sensor bar, the Wii remote, the Wii classic controller, the Wii U pro controller and the Wii U tablet. One of the main issues with the Wii U was the amount of controllers that each game either would or wouldn’t support. Gamers want simplicity, especially those who are parents walking into a shop, buying the latest and greatest for their child. I love the new lineup of Nintendo Switch controllers, and it seems like EVERY single experience will be playable with the Joycon controllers, which will be included in the box. And yes, there is the Switch Pro controller, which is clearly marketed towards a hardcore audience.
Lastly, I’ve seen a lot of people saying that Nintendo should continue supporting the 3DS as most people can’t afford a Nintendo Switch day one. It’s important to point out that most consoles purchases don’t happen on the first day, or even the first year. Consoles are a 5-7 year long-term game and as the console comes down in price, it becomes more accessible. Also, it’s clear that if the Switch works, this could potentially be the last time that Nintendo releases a console that serves as either a home console or a portable device. You’re essentially getting two devices in one, which means you don’t need to purchase two devices to take your gaming everywhere, and every game that you purchase can essentially be portable or a fully-fledged experience at home.
It’s important to note that Nintendo clearly has a mobile strategy that is working out well for them. Miitomo and Pokemon GO have proven that Nintendo franchises can be incredibly popular on mobile devices. The upcoming Super Mario Run already has 20 million people who are set to be notified on release day. It’s clear that there is an audience for Nintendo franchises that aren’t willing to spend $300-$500 for a console. Nintendo is now covering a much wider audience of gamers.
Overall, I’m really excited for the direction that Nintendo is going on. The Switch has a gimmick that actually matters and has a genuine chance to change the way that we play games on a home console. I really hope that Nintendo give it the love and attention it deserves and devotes its full attention to it, despite the fact that there’s still easy money to be made on the 3DS with continuing to release rehashes of popular franchises.
The Nintendo Switch is set for release in March 2017. It’s set to be a wild five months until then.