Sidetracked: Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

If you want a comprehensive, practical guide on what is the Switch, read this instead. I don’t own one (and if anyone is having difficulty figuring out what belated birthday gift would be suitable for me, that’s an easy answer now), and this is just some ramblings from a university student sidetracking from his essays.

This post will just be centered around one idea: the Nintendo Switch should have been a half-tablet, or at least, a tablet second after it’s primary gaming functions. 

The Switch one of the most innovative consoles ever. It is less about it’s technological specs and processing power (which is actually subpar), but rather how it overcomes the hard problem of integrating home console and handheld. You can play it on its own on the go as a handheld, plug it into a dock and TV as a home console, and go 2-player anywhere you want to. When I was 10 or so I had a small booklet with tons of blueprints for gaming devices where I imagine the best possible design for a console, the Nintendo Switch is like one of those child fantasies coming to fruition.

All that said, I cannot see why the developers did not implement basic Android OS support into the OS of Switch. It is after all designed like a tablet, which is effectively a multimedia entertainment hub that is ‘handheld’ and has a large enough display. The appeals of the Nintendo Switch described above still applies well to the idea of it being a entertainment-productivity tablet. So why not?  

Next point: it doesn’t have to compromise much on if it has enough power to run intensive games. If a device can have enough power to run Skyrim handheld, it can run social media, media streaming apps, good web browsers, reading ebooks, and basic productivity tools. Gaming as a whole has been dominated by PC users and its only a matter of time where mobile or tablets catch up on handheld consoles with cheaper accessories. Nintendo Switch could have been the very first generation of this type of device, which blurs the lines between a general purpose mobile PC and a powerful gaming handheld console, which will allow it to survive the PC era through integrating into it. Saying that the Nintendo Switch is a ‘game system, period’ is less desirable compared to making it ‘more then a game system, but a package of unending fun’. Also, it is unlikely to be much more expensive considering how ubiquitous the Android OS is.

In my opinion, they just missed the golden opportunity to ride the wave of PC master race into new heights. Now, Sony can probably just respond by combining the PSP line into the Xperia Android tablets and likely win the hardware-type market with better specifications.

Now this longtime Nintendo loyalist can’t be certain how successful the Switch will be. It certainly looked like Nintendo’s other success story when it first made Wii (which had lower specs then the competitors, but outright swept the console market), but ultimately it is down to the sales to speak for themselves. It could have easily built in functions of a basic tablet to be the ultimate entertainment/leisure device of the decade and dominate the console and tablet market, making Sony’s competition even more difficult. It could have been replacing a lot of the obsolete tablets that isn’t an iPad, Kindle, or a 2-1 hybrid. But well, that’s a shame. Hopefully future updates will bake the aforementioned features into the Switch.

ps: That being said, I will most certainly be getting one if it seems that promising Pokemon main series titles will be released for it and having older games remastered into the Nintendo Switch.

Featured picture taken from http://nerdist.com/tag/nintendo-switch/ .

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