With the launch of the Nintendo Switch less than one week away I have been debating whether or not I should buy one at launch on Friday. I didn’t pre-order a Switch after the livestream event that Nintendo put on because I didn’t know enough about the launch titles to make a commitment. I’m generally a fan of the games that Nintendo puts out, but after reviewing the software launch line-up I’ve decided not to camp out and buy a Switch on day one. This got me thinking, who should buy a Nintendo Switch at launch?
You would think that the Switch would be an obvious day 1 purchase for Nintendo fans. For better or worse, Nintendo is not a traditional company and their games have earned them some die-hard fans. My favorite thing about Nintendo is their dedication to delivering unique gaming experiences. Games like Paper Mario, Animal Crossing, Smash Bros, Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, and Splatoon are some of my all time favorite franchises. These games are the reason that I’ve purchased Nintendo hardware in the past, and they will be the reason I buy Nintendo hardware in the future. Unfortunately the only heavy hitting title dropping with the Switch at launch is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it is also going to be available on the WiiU.
Based on what I’ve seen there are only three games exclusive to the Switch when it launches on March 3rd. These games are 1-2-Switch, Snipperlcips, and Fast RMX. 1-2-Switch is a multiplayer party game which looks interesting to me, but not nearly as interesting as Wii Sports or Nintendoland appeared to be when the Wii and WiiU launched. Snipperclips looks like a fun multiplayer puzzle game and I’m pretty sure it’s something I will pick up when I eventually buy a Switch. Fast RMX is a sequel to Fast Racing Neo, a fast paced anti-grav racer, which was released on the WiiU. I really enjoy playing Fast Racing Neo, and Fast RMX is a game I could see myself picking up in the future despite competition from other anti-grav racers.
The problem I’ve encountered is that none of the three exclusive launch titles are enough to make me drop $300 on the Switch. If there was an Animal Crossing, or Paper Mario available it would be a different story. That’s not to say I’m uninterested in some of the non-exclusive games like I Am Setsuna and Super Bomberman R, but there are other ways for me to play these games on different platforms right now. As for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I can pick it up on WiiU, a console which most hardcore Nintendo fans probably already own (or maybe even regret owning.)
So avid gamers probably already have access to a lot of the Switch’s launch library, and avid Nintendo fans (people who bought a WiiU) already have access to a platform that will play the new Zelda. So if the Switch isn’t for gaming enthusiasts or Nintendo fans then maybe it’s actually for new customers who don’t don’t own any gaming systems. At first I thought this was a stupid idea, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense in my mind. In a way, the Switch is the perfect piece of gaming hardware for someone who doesn’t already own a console/PC/3DS. Since they don’t have a way to play Shovel Knight, why not buy the console that lets you play Shovel Knight at home or on the go? As hit indies like The Binding Isaac and Stardew Valley start to drop, and 1st party giants like Mario Kart and Super Mario Odyssey give players something to sink their teeth into, the Switch will offer a wide range of games with the added bonus of being portable. This is something that was previously only available on +$1,000 laptops.
This raises some interesting questions. Did Nintendo actually intend to create a product that targeted the first-time console buyer? Will Nintendo fans who don’t own a WiiU pick up a Switch just so they can play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Will the Switch be panned by hardcore “gamers” and reviewers because of a poor launch lineup, and would critical reviews impact the general population’s interest in the Switch? Will we get a new 2D Metroid? Will Nintendo ever figure out their supply chain issues? Some of these questions and more will probably get answered later, but no, Nintendo won’t give us a new 2D Metroid.