Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months you’ve probably noticed that Nintendo released a new bit of kit, and that it seems to be doing rather well. The Nintendo Switch is (apparently) Nintendo’s fastest ever selling console with units selling out as fast as retailers can stock them. I mean, just look at how happy these actors are:
On the one hand it’s not hard to see why it’s selling so well. Nintendo’s previous console, the WiiU was bought by approximately 4 people worldwide (read: 13 million), putting it slightly above the numbers SEGA managed with the Dreamcast and Saturn consoles – both viewed as total commercial failures. A newer, sleeker, more powerful Nintendo home console that also doubles up as a portable system (without the “second screen” gimmicks that the WiiU was known for) was always going to be more appealing.
Launching alongside Zelda: Breath of the Wild didn’t hurt it either… That game’s fucking incredible, and I’m not really even a fan of the “SEE THAT MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE, YOU CAN GO THERE!” open-world/sandbox-esque gameplay popularised by titles like The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher.
The quality of Nintendo’s first-party offerings doesn’t seem to be letting up either, with Mario Kart Double Da… Er… 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and Splatoon2 (why didn’t they call it Spla2n?!) all available (or available soon) as of writing, and Mario Odyssey coming later on in the year.
All seems good then. The games are coming, the hardware’s good… But this is Nintendo, and as sure as Cadbury will continue to increase the price of a Freddo above that of inflation, you can be sure that Nintendo will find a way to fuck things up.
Classic Nintendo (mini).
Do you remember the NES Classic Mini? £50 for a bunch of classic, emulated NES titles wrapped up in a cute, micro-NES shell. It should have been the perfect 2016 stocking filler.
Instead, this happened:
Nintendo’s inability to manufacture enough units to meet demand (as well as announcing its discontinuation almost as quickly as they hit store shelves) meant that this thing, essentially a novelty, was/is selling for more than a New3DS. Prepare for shitstorm part 2 once the SNES Mini gets released later this year.
Voice chat, Nintendo Style.
To be clear – I don’t give a fuck about voice chat. I’ve NEVER used it on the PS4 or XBOX1. if I wanted to hear a bunch of teenagers talk about how they’ve fucked my mum I could just walk into Crawley town centre on a Saturday night.
That being said, apparently quite a few people want the ability to voice chat with their friends using online console services. For reference, this is how Sony managed to implement voice chat with the PS4:
So how did Nintendo implement this most basic of services? Surely you can’t fuck up voice chat? Let me spew some reality over your face, neck, and chest:
Voice chat on the Switch has been palmed off to a mobile phone app. An app that needs to be in the foreground to stay connected… An app that needs your mobile phone screen to STAY TURNED ON, lest you get disconnected. All this is routed through a wired dongle that also connects to your Switch in order to mix game/voice chat audio into a convoluted, embarrassing mess.
Seriously, Nintendo, what the actual fuck? If it’s easier to use Skype, Discord, or even a fucking conference call then what’s the point in this thing even existing?
Virtual Console has been available on every Nintendo console since the Wii. It’s an easy way to (legally) acquire classic games from Nintendo’s back catalogue, along with some Mega Drive, TurboGrafx, Master System, Neo Geo, and even Commodore 64 games.
While I don’t relish the idea of buying Super Mario World for the billionth time on the Switch, it’s a service that everyone expected would arrive soon after the system launched – and yet, so far at least Nintendo haven’t mentioned Virtual Console at all.
Why Nintendo would omit this feature from the Switch is totally beyond me… It’s free money, FREE MONEY ON THE FUCKING TABLE. It truly baffles me that Nintendo would ignore a lucrative source of income – but hey, that’s another classic Nintendo move.
All complaints aside, I’m still a Nintendo fan. While I’m sure “The Big N” will come out with some ridiculous business/hardware/software decisions for years to come, I can only hope that the Switch continues to sell well. As a 30-something, shift working, commuting “professional,” the Switch has been the only (non-retro) console that I’ve bothered to turn on in the last few months. I guess it just fits my lifestyle.
Seriously though, you have to keep your fucking phone screen turned on?