Since the Nintendo Switch was first unveiled in October, the public have been slowly learning about the capabilities of the new console. Reactions have been mixed, with some excited for the possibilities the #Switch introduces, while others have been far more cautious about investing in another new console.
Does The Switch Spell The End Of Nintendo As The Kings Of The Party Console?
Since the halcyon days of the #Nintendo64, Nintendo have been the kings of local multiplayer. Thanks to four controller ports and a focus on family-friendly games, the console was showered in amazing party titles that are still beloved to this day. From Mario Kart 64 to Goldeneye, if you had a few friends around and wanted to have some awesome fun together, you'd bust out your #Nintendo.
Since then, the company has settled comfortably into the niche of being the party friendly company. The #Gamecube and #Wii continued the tradition with excellent follow-ups to the company's multiplayer franchises, as well as new titles like Wii Sports. Sure, Microsoft and Sony may have taken a swipe at the crown with the music game craze, but the sheer volume of innovative, fun games on Nintendo consoles have always ensured their position on the throne.
Is The Switch Just Not Made For Party Gaming?
The Switch's release doesn't seem like it's going to continue the trend. Not only is the launch line-up weak on multiplayer titles, the controllers are going to be extremely expensive. A second joy-con controller for your friend to play with will cost a hundred dollars, buying three sets for a rousing game of Smash Bros. would run you the same amount of money as buying a second Switch. Even the more 'reasonable' pro controller still costs 70 euros for what is essentially an Xbox controller with some slight alterations.
Nintendo's ads aren't helping the issue. Their latest Superbowl advertisement definitely seems focused around the idea of playing together. But aside from a few brief flashes of some fun-looking motion controlled fighting in Arms, most of the ad showed people squinting at tiny portable screens while playing on individual networked Switch consoles. That fun shot of a 4v4 in Splatoon 2? That's about $2500 worth of equipment.
There's Still Hope For The Console
It's possible that this is a deliberate move on Nintendo's part. The attempts to develop unique new forms of networked gaming, as well as the Pro controller and focus on AAA titles like Skyrim, suggest that the company may be trying to rebrand themselves as a choice for serious gamers. It remains to be seen whether it will pay off for Nintendo.
Of course, this doesn't mean the Switch will be bad. There's a lot of amazing-looking singleplayer titles coming out for the console, and portable Skyrim is a pretty sweet idea. A weak launch line-up isn't a death sentence; if Nintendo can bring prices down on their controllers and bring out a few more multiplayer games as fun looking as Arms, there's still plenty of time to save their party console throne from would-be usurpers.
What do you think? Will the Switch change Nintendo's image as the party console company?