Nintendo’s grand unveiling of the Switch’s software line-up and hardware specifics is almost upon us. While we covered most of the more solid predictions in another article yesterday, some members of our team have banded together to share some slightly smaller wishes and predictions.
- The triumphant return of motion controls!
Okay, okay… you can stop rolling your eyes now. I know that the when the dust cleared the Wii only had a handful of truly exceptional justifications for the motion control revolution that it started; but those few ideas were so great that I, for one, don’t want to see them die with the Wii name.
I have a sneaking suspicion that both of Switch’s JoyCon controllers house gyroscopic sensors, allowing them to emulate the precise, movement-based input of the Wii Motion Plus. The most obvious application will be an updated (and probably rebranded) successor to Wii Sports. Impromptu bowling sessions and multiplayer tennis matches at home or on the go would be an amazing addition to the new portable’s offerings. Not to mention a new two-handed Punch Out!! game, precision aiming for games like Breath of the Wild and Splatoon, and a fully functional HD remaster of the Super Mario Galaxy games. Okay, those last few ideas were more like dreams than predictions; but with the incorporation of motion controls, it’s all possible.
- A reward for the faithful fans
For those of us that have been enjoying our Wii Us for the past four years, the system’s library of fantastic games has more than justified ownership. But it’s hard to deny that with its infrequent releases and the short lifespan of the console, some of us might have felt justifiably short-changed by Nintendo this generation. I think that Nintendo, recognizing this, will offer Wii U owners with registered products some kind of incentive to jump back on board with Switch. Whether that means discounted upgrades to the new versions of Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon, or the opportunity to carry past digital purchases forward to the new hardware; anything would be a welcome olive branch to the fans that have supported Nintendo through its most turbulent home console cycle yet.
- Linking things together, better late than never
It’s no secret that Nintendo’s steps in the world of online connectivity and user access have been a little slower than its contemporaries. It’s my own fault for buying Kirby Super Star about six or so times in my life so far, but Nintendo’s engineered the situations that keep me doing so. Similarly, My Nintendo has been a rather tepid start when compared to Club Nintendo as far as rewards and integration go but it at least stands as a hopeful guide towards a unified account system.
Let the Switch be the start of greater presence of My Nintendo, hopefully with full access to previous Virtual Console purchases. While previously I could even see the argument of buying a game a second time on the 3DS in order to access portability and all of the conveniences that provides, the Switch allows players to take their game with them outside of the home by design. I bought EarthBound on cartridge, on Wii U, and on 3DS; how about just letting me have this one on Switch?
While the above stands as more of a wish than a prediction, regardless of if it comes to pass I think we can count on an emphasis of online connectivity at least from player to player. With the likes of Smash and Splatoon standing as viable eSports titles and Mario Kart occupying a comfortable casual niche, Nintendo’s grown considerably when it comes to online connectivity on the Wii U. Showing out the gate that this is only getting better for players would be a welcome announcement. While that ties into the software I’m expecting (including representation for the three examples given), I think we’ll also see better communication features such as online parties for ease of communication and maybe even announcements of dedicated events or leagues for these games. That last bit might need to wait until players are actually digging into these titles to seem appealing, but if the talk of a third version of Pokémon coming to Switch turns out to be true you can bet a Pokémon League will follow.
- Breaking down Borders
For a while region-locking was something of a non-issue on Nintendo platforms. Sure, all of their home systems have had it in some form across the years, but it was relatively simple to buy converters that bypassed the locks. With the advent of the update-able Wii those simple days were over – Nintendo simply patched out the ability for third party software to work. Nintendo’s handhelds had a similar trajectory; up until the release of DSi exclusives and the 3DS, all of the company’s portable systems played games from any region, no questions asked.
While Nintendo and third parties have started shortening the gap when it comes to international release dates, it’s infuriating to see region-locking is still in place all the same. Thankfully, however, the Switch seems poised to change things. Back in 2014 the late, great Iwata hinted at its removal, and pretty much every rumor to date has supported the idea. Here’s hoping Nintendo follows through and the consumer has the choice to play what they want, when they want.
- A Third-Party Strategy
Nintendo likely knows at this point that the majority of gamers don’t want simple ports – why should someone with a gaming-ready PC or PS4 bother picking up a scaled down version of, say, The Witcher 3? Outside of the portable aspect which could definitely be appealing in some cases, it’s a pretty niche market.
This is why I think the Japanese company will look to its previous successes with games like Bayonetta 2 and Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario for inspiration. After all, it’s a much bigger incentive for third parties to support the Switch if Nintendo throws financial backing or even its own IP into the equation. Sure, we’re more than likely to see a few straight ports this March, but if Nintendo wants to compete it has to offer something a little different, both to developers and consumers.
So that is what we expect to see! We’ll be covering the Switch presentation this evening as it happens at 8pm Pacific. Be sure to check back to see if we were right!Leave a Comment