1. Nintendo’s paid online service seems like a joke.
During this morning’s broadcast, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that the Switch will be getting a paid online service starting this fall. It’s hard to fault Nintendo for doing this, as both Microsoft and Sony offer their own online subscription services, but what was announced today seems to be decidedly lacking.
“With Nintendo Switch, you will of course be able to enjoy online multiplayer gaming,” President Kimishima said while announcing the service during the broadcast. “And when you use a smart device application that will connect to Nintendo Switch, you will be able to invite friends to play online, set play appointments and chat with friends while enjoying online matches in compatible games, all from your smart device.”
These are bare-bones functions that should frankly be baked into the hardware itself. Having to manage these functions over a smart device needlessly convoluted. Nintendo also announced that subscribers will be eligible to receive a free NES or Super Nintendo game each month when subscribing to the service, but these games will disappear from your library at the end of the month. Considering both Sony and Microsoft offer free games each month (games that aren’t 20 or 30 years old, even!) which are yours for the duration of your subscription to their online services, it’s hard not to see Nintendo’s gesture as little more than a slap in the face to their consumers, and that’s a real shame.
2. The Joy-Con controllers are tiny and look incredibly uncomfortable.
Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers may pack more vibration functions than a space-age vibrator, but that’s certainly not enough to make me want to wrap my fingers around them. These nubby little input devices feature four face buttons, along with a single analog stick and a pair of oddly inset shoulder buttons on top of each controller.
They pack a lot of the functions found in the Wii’s cumbersome wagglesticks, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and an IR sensor. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they are seemingly designed to fit comfortably in the hand of a small child, and not a 30-something gamer.
And if you don’t plan on using them and would prefer a more traditional controller setup, I’ve got some bad news for you…
3. Nintendo’s Switch peripheral pricing strategy is insane.
So, about that more traditional controller we were talking about. If you plan on adding a pair of Pro Controllers to your setup, be prepared to spend a whopping $140. Each Pro controller is priced at $69.99, an exorbitant sum if there ever was one.
And those Joy-Con controllers we were talking about earlier? You can buy individual left or right halves for each controller, but they’ll set you back a cool $50 per piece. However, Nintendo is kind enough to let you buy them as a set for a mere $80.
Even the console’s dock is priced at just shy of a $100. Yes, a simple dock to allow you to hook your Switch to the television is nearly a third of the price of the Nintendo Switch itself.
What the actual fuck?
It’s as if Nintendo saw the blockback that resulted from Sony’s exorbitant Vita memory card pricing and said, “hold my drink, I got this.”
How Nintendo can justify such a disgusting pricing model for their peripherals is beyond me.
4. 32GB of built-in storage is unacceptable.
As both an owner of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to purge software from my pair of 500GB hard drives to make space for new games that we review here at Hey Poor Player. It’s virtually become a ritual to delete a game from my HDD each and every time a new game rolls in. It’s par for the course, really. Games are massive these days. They’re beasts that gobble storage space like insatiable Langoliers.
That said, why in the hell does Nintendo think it’s acceptable to ship the Switch with an anemic 32GB of storage space? This wasn’t remotely enough on the higher SKU Wii U when it released in 2012, and it’s certainly nowhere near enough now.
That said, it’s not hard to imagine players needing to upgrade to a more efficient storage solution shortly after the release of the Switch. If these upgraded drives are proprietary and priced anything like the rest of the Switch’s stable of peripherals, god help us all.
5. The Switch’s apparently lo-fi visuals could seriously limit its appeal.
Of all the games we witnessed this morning, nothing that was showcased looked like a noticeable improvement from what we’ve seen since the Wii U released over four years ago. In fact, Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart look like pixel-perfect ports of their last-gen brethren rather than meaningful updates to the games that inspired them.
Of course, visuals aren’t everything. However, once games begin to release that really take advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro (like Horizon: Zero Dawn next month) and Project Scorpio, the Switch’s lack of horsepower is going to be very apparent. And if the Switch can’t keep up with the competition in terms of performance, it’s not hard to imagine third parties will begin to pack up shop and move to greener, more polygon-friendly pastures. After all, it’s telling that Bethesda’s Todd Howard left out the “Remaster” nomenclature when discussing Skyrim’s jump to the Switch this morning. It seems that even this year’s port of a half-decade old RPG might be asking too much of the Switch. And that’s a problem.
So, let us know what you thought of Nintendo’s Switch presentation. Have they done enough to get you to pull the trigger on a pre-order? Or are you waiting it out until more software is announced? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.