Switching it up

Nintendo’s new console, the Nintendo Switch, was released on Friday, Mar. 3. The reception of this console leading up to its release was mostly positive, and some see it as a return to business as usual for Nintendo after the Wii U, which was one of their least selling consoles ever.

But what makes the Switch unique?

Unlike other consoles, Nintendo is not relying upon claims of incredible graphics and processing power like some gaming companies do. Rather, the main draw of the Switch is its form. Nintendo has attempted to blur the lines between traditional consoles and portable, handheld devices with the Switch. The Switch has three different “modes” in which you can use it. In handheld mode, the console itself looks very similar to a tablet device, complete with a touchscreen. This allows the player to take the console wherever they like on the go. The Switch’s controllers, called JoyCons, slide onto the sides of the tablet for use in this mode. In tabletop mode, the JoyCons are removed from the sides of the tablet and a kickstand on the back of the tablet is used to prop it up. The JoyCons are typically held like Wii remotes in this mode, or attached to an external peripheral called a Grip, which looks like a traditional game controller. When the user wants to attach the console to their TV, the Switch is set into its charging dock. The same control configuration as tabletop mode is used here, but the image is projected to a TV screen instead of the Switch’s own screen. Multiple Switches can connect over local WiFi for multiplayer gaming. Games are loaded off of memory cards or internal memory. The console is sold for $300, which is in the same price range as the Xbox One and Playstation 4.

So what do DHS students think about the forthcoming console?

Liam Donahue is a freshman who purchased the console on launch.

“I heard some really good reviews about it, about it and there’s some really cool games coming out soon that I want to get,” said Donahue.

He said that he was interested in getting “Maybe Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, Mario Odyssey,” and “a couple independent games that I don’t really know too much about right now.”

For Donahue, the transportable nature of the of the console is a big draw. Nintendo’s last portable system, the 3DS, was not impressive to him, so this seemed to be a good alternative.

“I’m traveling a lot this summer, so I wanted to get something that you know I can play on the go,” Donahue said. “I think that, combined with the home thing where you can plug it in at home, that’s really going to help the sales a lot, compared to other systems…for the most part I think it’s going to be successful, a lot better than the Wii U at least.”

He hopes that it will be able to compete well against the other consoles on the market.

“I see it more as a competitor because it has the same RAM power as an Xbox or near the same… Nintendo’s games and characters are really popular in the US and Japan, so I think that helps,” said Donahue.

So far, the predictions of success seem to be correct. Early reports indicate that opening weekend sales for the Switch were better than any other Nintendo console in its history, in both America and Europe. The console sold 313,000 units in its first 48 hours on sale in Japan, which was ahead of the Wii U and falling short of the Wii. Breath of the Wild, the new Zelda game, was the best selling non-bundled launch title in Nintendo’s history in Europe. While the long term success of the Switch remains to be seen, these are certainly positive early signs.

By: Jeremiah Drabik

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