It wasn’t that long ago when Nintendo announced the launch date for their new system, The Switch. March 3rd is just around the corner and many people were caught up in mass craze that Nintendo creates when they release a new product. As with the NES Classis, Nintendo will likely undercut supply even with the demand. It’s a strategy Nintendo has employed for some time now, going back to the days of the Wii, and it’s a strategy they show no signs of halting.
So, like many Mario-loving Americans, I went down to Best Buy the day of the launch and I placed my pre-order along with one for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was common sense to buy the game after the system. After all, what would I play if I didn’t? There are no included games this time around, which is a departure from their previous systems.
Why do so many people, myself included, buy Nintendo products when we know what they’re doing to consumers and we know that they rarely stick with a system for more than a couple years? It’s quite simple — I grew up with the product and it’s melted into the fiber of my very being. Of course, I know there is no good reason to buy the damn thing and I still did it.
I was one of the few people who opted to buy the WiiU. I was sucked in with a Zelda special edition console and was ultimately left disappointed when the library of games for the system ended up being limited and unsatisfying. Nintendo has, for some time now, opted for minimal releases on systems that have little to no shelf life. Did you want more Mario on your WiiU? Tough, Nintendo put out a side-scroller and a modest 3D adventure that left me wanting after the Galaxy series, which still goes down as one of Nintendo’s best offerings.
Did you want multiple Mario Kart games? Tough. You got the one and some DLC to go with it and now you get the same game again, only with a couple extra levels that you’ll likely get over in a day or two. The WiiU is notable for being the only system Nintendo has put out since the Virtual Boy not to have its own Zelda title. Instead, fans were treated to a pathetic upgrade of the Windwaker, they had to buy a 3DS if they wished to play Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
I’m honestly not sure how Nintendo keeps getting my money. I’ve never been able to explain the notion to friends or fellow gamers. I’ve moved beyond Nintendo being my primary system, I think the last time that happened was the N64, but it is a shame to see Nintendo releasing products that are basically a generation beyond. Sure, they look good. Sure, they play great, but how much better would they look and play if they were using current technology instead of that from the previous era.
My compatriot on this site, Kevin McGuire, also dropped his money on the product. His reasons weren’t too far from my own. We discussed this on one of our Hyrule Huddle podcasts. We knew what we were getting when we placed the order, we know what we’re getting when the system comes out. Both of us have the same apprehensions about rehashed titles and lack of stability within their organization. Will this time be any different?
My colleague has chosen to have faith. I think the Switch will be a waste of money solely on the basis that I do not believe they will deliver multiple iterations of our favorite games. Once sales for the system die down, third party players will realize what they’ve always known about Nintendo and that is the company is not developer friendly. This is a policy Nintendo has had going back to the NES. If you don’t believe me, pick up a book on video game history and read about some of the things Nintendo forced publisher to agree to if they wanted to put out a product on their system.
Maybe we will get lucky and Nintendo will really put some effort and muscle behind this new system. It seems unlikely with the controls, they do not lend themselves to a number of third party games and it seems highly doubtful that these companies are going to beg consumers to buy a pro controller for the system just to enjoy its full capabilities. Yet that’s where we are with the company and their products.
Nintendo got my money this time, but it’s going to be the last if they fail to deliver like they did with the WiiU. (Okay, it likely won’t even be close to the last time, but isn’t it fun to pretend?)