I would have to say on behalf of all Nintendo fans in 2016, that it was one of the most disappointing years for Nintendo in recent years, when it came to a broken Star Fox Zero, to delayed Zelda Breath of the Wild game to 2017 (initially meant to be a 2015 release) and the infamous NES Classic stock drought.
Nintendo did recently announce the Nintendo Switch and you can click here to read about my initial thoughts from when this was announced over a month ago.
In this blog post, I am going to go over the Top 10 things I expect to see from Nintendo in 2017, all in no particular order, so let’s get started.
1. Solid January Switch Presentation
Nintendo is doing a live presentation via the internet from Tokyo Japan (Nintendo’s headquarters) on the 13th of January in Australia, with more details announced closer to the time. This event will include financial analysts and invited media only in the crowd, which means this event will be the next closest thing to Nintendo doing an E3 like presentation since it stopped doing it in 2013 onwards.
All we know about the Switch from the trailer above is:
- What it looks like.
- It is a single screen experience.
- Primarily a handheld device that can be docked for TV experience.
- Controllers are detachable.
- Controllers can introduce a 2 player experience anywhere anytime.
- Ad-hoc ability between Switch’s (Basketball example in trailer)
- Mario Kart (8 Port??), Zelda Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, 3D Mario are all guaranteed games for the Switch.
- The device uses cartridges like the 3DS, but different shape of cartridge so no backwards 3DS compatiblity.
- Device has a kickstand so it can stand up as a portable screen.
- Device has a headphone jack (you hear that Apple???).
- Storage can be expanded via microSD card slot.
- Switching between tablet and TV mode is almost instant.
- TV Docking station will likely have more processing power for better graphics.
What we do not know about the Switch is almost everything, including:
- Price and if more than 1 bundle available, what they contain.
- Release Date (within March 2017)
- Launch Games (and details about them)
- Games released in first year
- Nintendo’s approach to online community for this device.
- Will the Switch use Miis or leave that to the Wii and 3DS era.
- And so much more.
This presentation needs to be solid to get people really hyped about the launch of the system and it would not surprise me if the presentation goes for 1.5-2hrs just to cover all of the details about the system and it’s games.
2. 3D Mario game that’s more like Super Mario 64
It has been rumoured recently that the 3D Mario showed in the Switch trailer is footage of the launch title and that the game will be more of an open world type game like Super Mario 64 and Galaxy 1 and less like Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World.
I personally liked 3D World but never got incredibly immersed with it like I did with Super Mario 64 and Galaxy 1 & 2 and if they go back to the older style of 3D Mario games, this will only help them out both financially but also as respect to their fanbase.
Super Mario 64 has less than a dozen worlds that all of the game is completed in but has multiple stars in each world and I prefered this approach to the game. Nintendo is far better off making less worlds, that are incredibly stunning and large in size then lots of little barely thought through worlds like 3D World.
3. Nintendo Switch SKUs & Pricing
One of the reasons the Wii U did not sell well was because of the 2 different SKUs (stock keeping units). You had the white 8GB model and the black 32GB model that came with extra accessories and Nintendo Land bundled in.
Over the past few years I had a couple of people asking me whether or not to get the 8GB model, and I said it wasn’t worth it since it has no space to download anything from the internet.
Latest rumours suggest that a Switch version of Splatoon will be bundled in a separate SKU from the base model, so with this I expect to see:
- US$250 or AU$350
- Black Model
- 32GB Storage
- US$300 or AU$400
- Black Model
- 32GB Storage
- Splatoon Game Included
- Possibly an extra accessory such as the Switch Pro Controller for hardcore gamers.
To me, this would be the best way to sell the Switch because if you don’t want Splatoon, you’d just get SKU 1 but if you do, you’re better off getting SKU 2. Simple as that!
4. Switch OS being based off Android
Nintendo has ditched AMD for GPUs to NVIDIA Tegra processors, of which can be found in the NVIDIA Shield, which runs the Android operating system.
Nintendo should do like what Samsung and most other smartphone manufacturers do with their phones, which is take the Android Operating System provided by Google and customize the interface on top of it so it gives it a custom Nintendo feel to it. Think of it as an Android device that plays Nintendo games with a Wii U or 3DS like or updated interface.
To me if this turns out to be real and the Switch can also be used as a regular Android tablet for web browsing, Google Play Apps and for app development testing, then the Switch will be almost an instant Day 1 purchase for me.
This will also make it easier for people to play the mobile apps that they want but also play the Nintendo games they want on the same device but Nintendo could then release a development kit for Android developers to add support for the Joycon controllers to their apps, if it runs on the Switch.
5. Give Wii U owners discounts on ports of Wii U games on the Switch
It is expected for the Switch to get a lot of ports of games from the Wii U such as Mario Kart with what looks like Mario Kart 8 with extra characters, support for 2 items at once and based off rumours an improved battle mode.
This is all well for the Switch for people who have never played the game before, but what about those who have bought and played it on the Wii U, including all the DLC.
For scenarios like this, if Nintendo gives you an incentive such as a free upgrade or just US$10 to get the Switch version, it could entice a lot of Wii U owners to stick with Nintendo and continue playing video games.
6. Zelda Breath of the Wild at Switch Launch or shortly after
One of the reasons Zelda helped sell the Wii at it’s launch was Zelda Twilight Princess being available at launch and I reckon it will be similar if Zelda Breath of the Wild was available at launch or a month or two afterwards and not 6 or more months after the Switch’s launch.
Zelda is a system seller for a lot of people and having this at or close to the Switch’s launch will get people into the Switch era of games from the start so they keep investing more money into all the games that will come out for it over the next few years.
7. Increase push in Mobile Apps space
Nintendo has had a moderate start to the mobile apps division of their company and this includes having Miitomo and the soon to be released Super Mario Run coming out.
Nintendo launching Super Mario Run at the Apple September 2016 keynote was a very smart decision for the company to get people interested in Mario again in the hope to get people to invest in the Switch when that gets released.
That being said Super Mario Run being US$10 at launch in mid December, has a lot of mixed opinions. I briefly think this is fair from the view that you already own a smartphone and do not need to go and buy a $300 system + a $50 game to be able to play Mario, but instead it’s just one US$10 app.
With US$10 being the price, I don’t think as many people would convert from the free to the paid version of the app but it I reckon it will still be a success in some form and I’ll likely get it myself, even at that price but if it does not work out in the long run or sales start to slow down, I hope Nintendo lowers the price to maybe US$5 or US$7.
8. Give Wii U owners an incentive to get the Switch after disappointing experience
Wii U owners never got that good of an experience when it came to the lack of sales which resulted in less people to play against online, lots of slow loading issues at launch and long game droughts.
That being said the games were really great and obviously good enough to sell 12 million Wii U units, but how many of these people will convert to getting a Nintendo Switch when too be honest, seems to be a Wii U 2?
To help ease to the transition, I reckon Nintendo should either give Wii U owners a discount on any SKUs they offer or a couple of additional games. This may cost Nintendo US$100~ million but it may also help to create a lot more sales long term and re-energize their fanbase.
9. If Switch has bad battery life, be able to sell a solution to the problem
Lots of rumours suggest that the Switch when acting as a handheld may only get 3hrs of battery life which is very weak for a handheld device.
To help prevent this being an issue, I hone that Nintendo at least sells some form of a battery pack solution to this, which even if you had to connect it to the handheld via microUSB or USB-C would make one of the biggest weaknesses with the hardware, even less of an issue.
It is also vital while on topic, that Nintendo moves away from a proprietary connector on their handhelds. For New 3DS owners who did not already own a 3DS like myself, we had to go and buy a separate power adapter, for a connector that could of very easily been a microUSB connection and be charged with your Android smartphone cable.
Also with USB-C being the future of USB and being reversible like Apple’s Lightning Adapter, it would make a lot more technological sense to go down this route and not look dated when people are hopefully still using this system 4-5 years down the line.
And if the connector is USB-C or microUSB, it’ll be easier for anyone to get any battery pack and the compatible cord to charge their device, making it less of a pain.
10. Introduce concept of custom Joycon Controllers for Switch
About a day or so after the Switch was announced, people over Twitter were exposed to an idea that someone drew together an idea of custom Joycon Controllers with different button layouts etc.
Nintendo could approach this by going to developers directly or accessory makers to make unique versions of the Joycon remotes that will work with certain games.
Their could be a unique one for Yo-Kai-Watch and one with 4 coloured buttons for a Guitar Hero like game.
I honestly reckon Nintendo has the ability to rebound from the failure of the Wii U and make the Switch a success, but I will say that it’s success has to all happen at the launch because if it doesn’t, it’ll just die down and be a thing of the past.
I reckon this concept is somewhat unique and has the potential to succeed it’s just a matter of if Nintendo:
- Can make great games for it.
- Get their marketing right.
- Know who their target audience is (which seems to be young adults).
- Convince 3rd party developers to support it.
Out of 10, I am sitting currently at an 8.5 for being hyped for the January presentation and am likely going to wait for the console to have been out for a bit before I get it as I did the opposite at the Wii U launch and that did not work out well, but time will tell.
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