Let’s be real-the Wii U was a failure of a console.With the Switch, Nintendo has a chance to save themselves, but only if they want it to.
Don’t get me wrong, I was totally sold on the concept when it was originally announced! I poured enough hours into the Nintendo DS to know that dual-screen gaming is great. Moving this innovation to the home console space had real possibilities. Those possibilities were not followed through on, not even by Nintendo themselves, who never really got around to showing us many full games that used the Wii U Gamepad in an innovative way. I’m not talking about using it as a map, and I’m not talking about making it a convenient way to access menus. I’m talking about using it creatively, like in ZombiU or with Super Mario Maker.
But with all this in mind, I think the Wii U could have survived if it was at least properly supported by Nintendo. It wasn’t. If Nintendo isn’t going to support their own console by going all out on a new, ambitious game, why should third parties do it? Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3 were good, but they weren’t ambitious. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U was pretty ambitious, but they shot themselves in the foot by giving people the option to purchase it on their 3DS, which has a vastly superior library. I commend Nintendo for trying, but a bunch of niche games like Xenoblade Chronicles X and Bayonetta 2 aren’t going to carry a console. Neither are a couple of HD Zelda ports that don’t really improve much on the games they ported. Bad marketing or lack of casual gamer support didn’t kill the Wii U. It was lack of support from Nintendo themselves.
So, that brings us to the Nintendo Switch. It’s an absolutely fantastic concept for a device with real potential. But Nintendo has to learn from their mistakes with the Wii U or they will inevitably fall into the same hole. Here are some thoughts:
1. Great Games HAVE To Be There Out of the Gate
The Switch has to have a compelling selection of games out of the gate. A port of Skyrim isn’t going to cut it. Neither is a Nintendo Land-esque demo. We need a real, new meaty game to convince people to take the dive into this system. Now, Nintendo is in a fantastic position for this. Like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess before it, Breath of the Wild‘s dual Wii U/Switch release could convince a lot of core gamers to get this system. If Breath of the Wild isn’t ready for the Switch’s launch, then we need something else. Another side-scrolling platformer or party game is not going to cut it. The casual market is not what it used to be, and Nintendo needs to stop clinging to it.
2. Nintendo Needs To Embrace New Technology
The Switch is an inventive piece of hardware, but let’s be real-if Nintendo wants third party support, this machine has to pack a punch. Of course, this doesn’t have to leave the PS4 behind in the dust, or even surpass it at all. Nintendo’s just got to throw developers a bone here. New technologies like VR are a way to attract developers who are looking for new, innovative technologies to incorporate into their games. Luckily, the Switch already packs some awesome features, like its detachable controls and portable mode.
3. Make The Virtual Console Good
One of the biggest crimes committed by Nintendo is the Wii U Virtual Console. A company with such a rich library of games has no business doing an agonizingly slow drip feed of games like they did on the Wii U. The Switch has to have a strong Virtual Console library right out of the gate. We can’t wait a year to get essential titles like Ocarina of Time or Super Mario World. These essential games have to be there from the start, or shortly following release. Like it or not, this awesome back library of games is one of the biggest selling points of a Nintendo console, and Nintendo has to seize this market, or lose it once more to crappy emulators on a PC.
As a huge Nintendo fan, I’m buying the Switch at launch. I want Nintendo to succeed, so I hope they will learn from their mistakes and work to make the Nintendo Switch a success.