Nintendo unveiled a first look at its new console, the Switch, through an online video Oct. 20, which demonstrated its ability to switch from mobile to stationary, television-based gameplay.
The innovative changes revealed by the video have already excited members of the Georgetown gaming community, some of whom have not been completely impressed with the gaming giant’s past offerings.
With the Switch, Nintendo combines its handheld gameplayer with a home gaming system, merging the previously separated mobile and console game markets.
Much about the console remains unknown, with its price, official release date and specifications to be announced Jan. 12, 2017.
To use the Switch as a standard stationary home console, a user places the mobile system into a dock, which connects the system to a television while charging the system. To make the Switch mobile, a user removes it from the dock and views the game on the Switch’s built-in tablet screen rather than the television.
A Nintendo press release indicated that about 50 game development companies have announced their support in creating content for the Switch, including Activision, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Take-Two Interactive.
Nintendo is expected to release confirmed several titles so far, including “The Legend of Zelda”, “Super Mario Bros.” and “Mario Kart,” as they were shown in the the console’s release video.
According to Jordin Binder (COL ’18), president of Georgetown Gaming, the general conception of the Switch is positive among Georgetown gamers. However, Binder said more information is needed before students like himself can form a final opinion.
“There’s enough information to get excited but there are so many unanswered questions,” Binder said. “Being the analytical nerd that I am, I want to know how long the battery life is, I want to know if it’s going to have an SD card or if it’s going to have a proprietary means of memory.”
Additionally, while the Gelardin New Media Center has a variety of gaming consoles available for students, it has not yet made the decision to add the Switch to its collection because of a lack of information and student impetus so far, according to GNMC head Beth Marhanka.
“We haven’t had a chance to read reviews of the Switch yet or get input from the Georgetown gaming community,” Marhanka wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We welcome feedback from students and faculty about how they would use the Switch.”
Daniel Anderson (COL ’17), president of the Gaming Design Club, described how the Switch’s mobile and stationary hybridization could affect the future of game development.
“It’s a really interesting concept, because as we now see, there is a rise in technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality,” Anderson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Although the Switch doesn’t appear to support these features right now, I could see how its mobile usability could easily support augmented gaming.”
Binder said that for fans like himself, Nintendo has been lackluster in it offerings recently, but that the Switch reverses this trend.
“For people that care, Nintendo has been a company over the last few years that has disappointed fans and this has been and huge turnaround,” Binder said.
According to Binder, two common complaints among gamers at Georgetown and beyond have been the lack of dual analog sticks on controllers and the lagging graphics quality relative to competitors’ consoles.
Nintendo has already addressed one concern by adding detachable dual analog sticks to the mobile Switch unit. These Joy-Con controls can be used together as dual analog sticks for the Switch unit, or taken off and used separately by two people for local multiplayer.
Binder expressed that the issue regarding Nintendo’s graphics could still be a concern, as mobile units typically have less graphics capability than stationary ones.
“They’ve advertised it as being a competitor for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but most people don’t believe that it will be simply because it’s a portable console,” Binder said. “Just in the same way a laptop can’t be as powerful as a PC or a desktop, the Nintendo Switch is probably not going to as good quality wise as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4.”
While gamers will gain better insight into their concerns upon the release of further information about the Switch in January, Binder is optimistic of the outcome for Nintendo if the company fulfills the expectations that it has created thus far.
“If this delivers on everything that it is promising, there is going to be a lot more Nintendo fans in the gaming ecosystem and it’s going to be great for the company,” Binder said.
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