Is Nintendo’s Switch a Flop? The Hybrid Console Stuck in the Middle

The Nintendo Switch is the latest addition to the Nintendo gaming console lineup. Since the Game Cube released in 2001 Nintendo has taken a unique development route with their gaming consoles.

While other companies were focused on creating the most powerful gaming console around Nintendo decided to bow out of that race in order to provide the gaming world to unique gameplay experiences. The Wii console introduced the motion sensing dual controller experience. The Wii U built upon that with a unique two screen experience. But how does the Switch fit into this?

From game cube all the way to the Wii U Nintendo was building upon itself by introducing new experiences but making everything backwards compatible and user friendly. But that is not the case for the Switch.

The Switch is a Hybrid design combining the convenience of a handheld device with the power and playability of a home console. However, the community isn’t impressed. So what’s wrong with the Switch?

First, the on-the-go aspect of the Switch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Coming in at 4 inches by a whopping 9.4 inches the console is hardly a convenient to carry as a Nintendo 3DS or Sony PSP. It is more like gaming on your tablet.

Additionally, the console does a great job of bringing the console gaming experience to the tablet sized portable screen, yet the experience takes a toll on the battery life. The battery life is listed as 2.5—6.5 hours, but it depends on the game you play.

For a full functioning new Nintendo Switch game, such as Zelda Breath of the wild, the battery is going to give you about 3 hours. To add to this issue the Switch has no portable charging options. You must dock the system in order for it or the controllers to charge.

Many people look at this issue and say so what, I want to game at home anyway. Well let me fill you in on the next issue the gaming community is facing. The switch portable screen operates a 720p HD resolution. Which is very impressive for a portable gaming device. When hooked to the television, however, the console attempts to push out a 1080p experience.

nintendo switch flopIn theory this is wonderful. However, when playing a full game like Zelda, the NVIDIA custom graphics processor cannot continually push out enough processing power to fuel the 1080p experience. To top it all off. There is no way to dumb down the graphics to make it run smoother. It is fixed. If you’re in TV mode you run 1080, if you’re in portable mode you run 720. Many gamers, again, just said fine, I’ll play in portable mode. But, as we previously discussed. There is no way to charge your device and play in portable mode at the same time. 

The next frustrating feature of the Switch is the clunky controller design. One review tried to lead me to believe that the anti-ergonomic miniature excuses for a gaming controller was Nintendo’s way of turning the community back to party gaming. It said, “Experts believe [the Switch] re-embraces a games genre that fell by the wayside over the past few years, one that even Nintendo largely turned its back on: party and social gaming.” What? This claim is off on so many levels.

The Wii U was built on the idea of party gaming, as all of Nintendo’s console designs are. It added a second screen to the mix allowing for games to utilize a blind screen option. I, myself, have had wonderful experiences play 5 man Super Smash Bros. on the Wii you. I don’t think it is correct to say that Nintendo, pre Switch, turned its back on social and party gaming. In fact, I would say the Switch simply does its best to continue the tradition. But it seems to do a far worse job than any of its predecessors.

Since the release of the switch complaints have been rolling in about connectivity issues between the JoyCon controller design and the console itself. The purpose of the joy con is to be able to play using two of them, one on either side of the screen. Or, you could play multiplayer with the stock JoyCons by using one each. It’s like someone asked the chief designer of the project if they should give the players one or two controllers and the designer replied “both”. No wonder they have design issues. That is an idea that has never been tried before, and for good reason.

Staying true to their innovative nature, gamers found a work around for the JoyCon connectivity issues. Unfortunately, you have to open up the controller and solder in a new antenna, which… voids your warranty! According to one review, the connectivity issues is because the designers put the antenna in the middle of a bunch of other electrical components which hinders the direct connection you need to the console.

But this type of thing is what we expect from a Nintendo console release is it not? The majority of people I know didn’t waste their time and money on a Nintendo Switch. They saw that they could get Zelda: Breath of the Wild for their Wii U console and were happy to do it. I must say that I appreciate Nintendo trying to innovate console gaming in a different way, but the Switch is not my cup of tea.

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  • Mojo

    No, it’s not. Your blog is a flop, though.

    • James Alryck

      Well thanks for stopping by anyway :-)