If you watched Nintendo’s Switch stream expecting to come out knowing all the information you’d have been sadly disappointed. It seems Nintendo skimped on a large amount of detail, opting to tease us with the emergence of new titles and quick peeks at games – but not delivering the kind of details fans needed to know. It’s fair to say that we have a lot more questions than answers heading out of their unveil – and that’s kind of frustrating.
Perhaps the biggest annoyance was Nintendo’s decision to skip over vital launch details. For some odd reason, Nintendo made the decision to focus on a number of tent pole titles and didn’t offer any kind of clarity to what games you might be able to pickup at launch. Given that the console will be launching in two months, it’s an incredibly bold choice given that this was their major platform upon which they could talk about Nintendo Switch without interference.
Bizarrely I can count only 3-4 games that will make the launch of the console – which seems incredibly small. If they have over 80 games in development, why not show a few more of them off? Which games will gamers be able to buy at launch? How many will there be? It’s likely Nintendo will answer these questions in the coming days and weeks; but when you’ve been hyping up your big unveil as the center piece first point of contact – it’s hard to not feel let down.
This goes double if you’re a European gamer, who likely found Nintendo’s decision to skip over the price and finer details of the launch in the region all the more agonizing. Even the European focused segment at the end of the conference failed to shine any light on the situation, instead the company passing the ball over to its retail partners. Nice way to treat one of your biggest markets Nintendo.
Nintendo also made mention of a new Nintendo Online service, saying that it would feature friends lists of some kind. Sadly if you were expecting to know anything beyond this – then good luck. Nintendo failed to disclose how the service will work, if it will have advance party features like PSN and Xbox Live or even how much it will cost leaves a sad aftertaste. Given how underwhelming Nintendo’s previous online offerings have been in this area, it would have been nice for the company to elaborate and offer us a glimpse of what it is gamers can expect from the service. Will we be getting older Nintendo games free (Like on PSN/Xbox Live)?
Speaking of older titles, there was zero mention of the Virtual Console. Relegated to no-show, the disappearance of this service in the biggest showcase was another big head scratcher. If this device marks a break in the company’s long-held backwards compatibility policy – where were the classic games that many people will want to play on the device? As proven with the NES Miniature console late last year – there’s a huge market in the mainstream for retro games. Nostalgia sells, so why was Nintendo being so coy about it? Will we get those long desired but ever illusive Gamecube titles?
The problem with this approach to unveiling consoles is that it can damage hype quite badly. Without filling in the blanks, it throws gamers for a loop and pushes a feeling that everything’s being done last-minute over at Nintendo. By leaving key information out, it makes it harder to want to dive into the Nintendo Switch. I was there for the launch of the Nintendo Wii U. Nintendo’s lack of information then was seen as way to surprise us – but the big hitting announcements never really came along. Detail was always scarce, and after sitting through Nintendo’s conference, I wasn’t left feeling satisfied with the lack of hard facts about new services or changes being made.
I’m hoping Nintendo, in the coming days, will be more open about the details that we want to know about. We’re not looking to discover all the facts – but at the very least find out the things that help make the console a more attractive purchasing option. The announcement of Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and others is great – but showing us games like Mario Kart and then not offering detail is just unnecessary.
Let’s just hope that they get their act together. Because on this presentations showing, there was a lot more questions than answers. This was a chance to tell a worldwide audience, in detail, what their new direction was. And as of this second, it feels slightly lost in translation.