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Nintendo Switch Presentation: The Nintendo Fumble

/ Jan 16th, 2017 No Comments

1-2-Switch

Nintendo officially unveiled its latest console, the Nintendo Switch, during a press conference in Japan. Going into the event, there was already plenty of hype around the Nintendo Switch. It wouldn’t have been hard for the Switch presentation to be a slam dunk — Nintendo could have walked the ball to the hoop given all the hype.

Unfortunately, the hour-long press conference was a disaster. It started off strong, with a launch date and price — it will be available March 3 for $299.99 — but quickly turned sour. The conference was full of potential, but offered little in terms of launch plans.

No Concrete Launch Plans

The Nintendo Switch is set to launch in less than two months. Yet, the press conference made it feel like it was half a year away.

Of the games mentioned in the bulk of the press conference, only 1-2-Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were mentioned as launch titles. Everything else is either coming out later this year or is still in development.

It will be hard to sell a console on March 3 when there aren’t any games available for it. Well, there will be some games ready for the Switch’s launch, including Skylanders Imaginators, Super Bomberman R and Just Dance 2017, but this is a grizzly launch lineup. In fact, it is even worse than the Wii U’s initial release. None of these games are enough to sell the console — but that’s what Breath of the Wild is for.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Right before Nintendo’s Switch event ended, the company announced The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release alongside the Nintendo Switch on March 3. Despite rumors of a delay, the most anticipated game of the year will help usher in Nintendo’s latest console.

It was a hell of a bombshell, but it wasn’t enough to make up for missed opportunities or buoy a weak launch lineup. The fugazi almost works until you think back to the ice cubes clinking into a glass.
 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild enough to ensure a healthy Switch launch?

While the Nintendo Switch couldn’t survive launching without Breath of the Wild, it seems like Nintendo feels the game will be enough to push sales of the system at release. However, it is also releasing for Wii U on the same day, which is the version everyone played at E3. Wii U owners (a.k.a. prior Nintendo early adapters) might find it hard to justify spending $300 on a new console when they can play the Wii U version now.

On the bright side, Breath of the Wild looks amazing. The latest trailer revealed new bosses, story elements and the presence of voice acting for the first time in a Legend of Zelda title. Who knows? Maybe Breath of the Wild is enough to move units. But why take the gamble?

Future is Bright?

One aspect of the press conference that seemed to work well was the Switch’s 2017 release schedule past launch. It works until you think about it.

Several games were revealed during the press conference, but only a few hard release windows were announced. Luckily, all of those were from Nintendo and the games look strong. Arms is a new IP featuring an interesting fighting mechanic releasing in spring. Splatoon 2 will be the sequel to one of the Wii U’s finest games, and Super Mario Odyssey will bring some new ideas and locales to the Mario franchise this holiday.
 

Arms

Arms is an exciting new IP from Nintendo.

Besides those games, plenty of cool titles were mostly just teased. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 seems like the most finished of all these games, which is good because Xenoblade Chronicles X was one of the best games in 2015. Others, like Fire Emblem Warriors, an untitled Shin Megami Tensei game, and Project Octopath Traveler won’t see release for a while, and some, such as Dragon Quest X and XI, were only confirmed for Japan.

While there are some interesting Switch titles in the works, it doesn’t do much for the system’s 2017 prospects. But all is not lost. Within months of its launch, the Switch should see the release of titles such as Rime, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Yooka-Laylee, Lego City Undercover, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Redout, Sonic Mania, Has-Been Heroes, Snipperclips and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The only drawback is that most of these are ports.
 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe defines the problem of the Switch’s 2017 portfolio: it is mainly ports.

Nintendo did a terrible job highlighting these games during its press conference. The company could have given fans hope regarding the console’s game library post-launch. While it is super exciting for Puyo Puyo Tetris to come stateside, many have already imported the game and enjoyed the magic on another system. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is cool, but besides adding the Inklings and a few new tracks, it is the same game we already enjoyed on the Wii U.

Wii U Pt. 2

It was hard not to fall into the hype of the Nintendo Switch back in October. The lack of information regarding the system gave us hope that Nintendo would learn from its past mistakes with the Wii U; the hope Nintendo would prepare for a solid launch of its next console.
 

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey brings Mario to our world.

In an hour, Nintendo dashed many of those hopes. For every positive note, there were overwhelmingly negative ones and confusing wardrobe changes. Was the disastrous press conference enough to stop the hype train? Most likely not, but hopefully people are more cautious now before slamming down several hundred dollars on a pre-order given the Nintendo Switch may very well be the second coming of the Wii U.

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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