Outstanding Questions for Nintendo and the Nintendo Switch
I’ve talked a lot about the Nintendo Switch in the past year or so, and most recently after the official Switch presentation (here and here). While a lot of questions were answered, several more remain outstanding. Here’s a summary of the key questions that we’ll hopefully see answers to prior to the March 3, 2017 release date:
Question 1 – Digital Purchases
Will Nintendo finally tie game purchases to accounts rather than systems? That would give them parity with Sony and Microsoft in this regard and would make people like me buy a lot more digital games on a Nintendo system than we have in the past. That would also make it easier and more logical to own multiple Switch systems.
Question 2 – Resolution and Performance
We know that 720/30 (i.e., a resolution of 1280×720 at 30 frames per second) is the norm when in handheld mode, but will 1080/60 (1920×1200 at 60 fps) be the norm when docked? We’re already getting reports of potentially 1080/30 and even resolutions of 900p (1600×900). Obviously 4K support is out, but having some assurance of what the minimum docked resolution and frame rate is expected to be would be a nice technical detail to know.
Question 3 – Value-add for Online Subscription
Since Nintendo is now going to charge for a “premium” online system, what exactly will the value-adds be? Both Sony and Microsoft offer several “free” games for multiple of their platforms a month that you get to keep as long as you maintain a subscription. It seems that Nintendo’s current answer is that you get to rent a single Virtual Console game (NES and SNES have been mentioned) with added online functionality for the month, but you don’t get to keep it after that, even if you maintain your subscription (you do of course have the option to purchase it outright). Unless the associated discounts are significant, I’m really searching for a value-add here, particularly since there’s every reason to be skeptical that Nintendo will be able to pull off the same type of network/ecosystem as the competition.
Question 4 – Software Support
It’s a question that has dogged Nintendo for generations now, but are there any significant third party titles in the works for the Switch? It seems that Nintendo’s first announced AAA title (outside of the launch Zelda game that is also being released on Wii U) is going to be Super Mario Odyssey, but that doesn’t come out until later this year. What third party titles will be filling the first party gaps? NBA 2K18 is a quality annual sports title and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a durable, if oversaturated, modern day classic, but is anything really new and significant on the horizon? Right now, that answer is no, with no present indication from major third parties that anything might be on the way. This could turn out to be a real problem for the Switch, just like it was for its Wii U predecessor.
Do you have more questions for Nintendo and the Switch? Let me know in the comments.