I know it hasn't been long since it was announced, but I am extremely excited for the Nintendo Switch. I have been waiting for Nintendo reveal the Switch for so long that I was beginning to believe the rumors and speculations, but now that that is all done and over with, will the hype and anticipation last until the console's release in March of 2017? Or will it completely die when more information is revealed this January? Nintendo really needs to brainstorm if they're going to ensure the success of the Switch within the first few months of its launch, and here are 10 things I think that they should do that might achieve that feat.
#1: Free Online Play
While this is something that Nintendo has already been doing, it is also something that they need to continue to do. I have personally seen a few friends of mine abandon XBox Live and PlayStation Plus/Now because the subscription costs were starting to drain their wallet dry, and guess where they migrated to as a result? PC, in which they were already paying for internet; and/or Nintendo which has free online as standard. Nintendo, don't let this feature die.
#2: Continued Amiibo Support
This is kind of an obvious one that they should continue as well. With all the amiibo figures that Nintendo has invested gobs of money on for their production, it would be counter-productive for Nintendo to make the Switch incompatible with them. Plus it would make the Switch port of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have less content on it as a result. There is no reason for the Switch to not be amiibo enabled, but I wouldn't completely put it past Nintendo to start from scratch with this system. Keep supporting amiibo, Nintendo.
#3: Joy-Con Mods
Now this is where things get interesting. I think the Joy-Con controllers are fairly decent in design; a bit like having 2 SNES controllers locked sideways onto the sides of a screen. But not too long ago, an interesting piece of concept art made by a rather imaginative fan surfaced in which he suggests that some games could come packaged with unique Joy-Con replacements specific to that game. While Nintendo shouldn't make it so the game can't be played without the custom Joy-Con, it would certainly be one helluva way to reinvent the console gaming scene and I really hope that that concept is more than just a piece of fan-art.
#4: Fair Pricing/Bundling
Now, I understand that a console like this would likely be a bit pricey; Nintendo themselves even said that they weren't going to be selling the system at a loss this time. So how can Nintendo make it appealing enough without reducing the price? I propose that the system's standard pack should come not only with the 2 Joy-Cons, cables, and the dock like Nintendo had already confirmed, but also the Joy-Con Grip accessory and possibly some cheap pre-loaded games and software to show off what the Switch can do. Sell this pack for no more than $419.99 and I wouldn't complain.
#5: No Region Lock
This NEEDS to stop, Nintendo. There is absolutely no reason why your systems have to be region locked and the fact that you keep doing this just makes it harder to enjoy games. Just about anyone can buy a plane ticket so they can go on vacation in another country, but they should not have to pay for another system from said country just so they can play their souvenirs. This makes buying games that they want less enticing because they can't afford the "whole package."
#6: Expandable Data Storage
It has been rumored that the Switch will only have 32GB of storage space. While I'm not pleased about this, Nintendo has been pretty good at allowing their systems to have some kind of expandable storage capacity. Now they did say that it wouldn't be compatible with any kind of usb hard-drive, but micro SD cards are always an option. As far as I know, SDXC cards can go up to 256GB, but I think the 128GB cards are probably the more widely available option. Make it happen, Nintendo.
#7: Enhanced Ports/Compilations
While Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim Remastered is a good start on this, it is nowhere near good enough. If the Switch is to succeed, it also needs ports of games with all of their DLC pre-installed on the cartridge, and compilations of older games that could benefit from portability or an HD remastering. I would suggest enhanced and/or complete ports of Hyrule Warriors, Super Smash Bros 4, Doom (2016), and both of the 3DS Senran Kagura games; and compilations featuring games that were originally on the Game Cube or Wii.
#8: Better Virtual Console Features
Nintendo obviously wants to keep their classic games alive, otherwise they wouldn't have made Virtual Console. But with the reveal of the NES Classic Edition, people have started to notice that the emulator on it is far superior than what is currently available on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS. So what needs to be done is Nintendo needs to make emulators that are of equal quality and have the same features and use them for the Switch. And while they're on that, they need to stop making their consumers repurchase all of the games they have already bought. Microsoft and Sony don't do this, so why does Nintendo? I think that if you already have the virtual console games on both Wii U and 3DS, then you should be able to get it for free on the Switch; and if you only have one, discount it. Also, bring back Master System, Mega Drive, Turbografx-16, Commodore 64, and Neo Geo games. Many of those games are awesome and aren't getting the appreciation that they deserve.
#9: Better Marketing
The Wii U's marketing campaign was awful; we all can agree on that. Although, while Nintendo has smartly showed off that the Switch is VERY different in design and feel from the Wii U, there is still that possibility that it could be a repeat of past mistakes. I think a catchy slogan could help boost sales like "Will you make the Switch?" or something like that. The current slogan of "There's no play like it" is good, but I don't think it'll be good enough to sell the Switch. I understand that this is not my area of expertise, but you get the idea. Nintendo needs to advertise the Switch better than the Wii U or otherwise there is the chance that Nintendo could leave the console market altogether.
Connectivity to Wi-Fi and wireless multiplayer are kind of obvious as one is standard in all current gaming systems and the other was shown off in the reveal trailer, but what about the other two systems in Nintendo's arsenal: the Wii U and 3DS? If the Switch is to successfully intermingle with the other two systems that Nintendo has produced, then it needs to be able to talk to them in some way. If Nintendo neglects to implement this feature, then I can expect to see poor long-term system adoption in the future.
The Switch is definitely promising. It obviously needs a strong start, good third party support and good battery life, but I strongly believe that if Nintendo were to implement these suggestions then there might be a better chance at the device's survival. From my experience, hybrid systems need convenience and accessibility in addition to horsepower if they are going to survive long term. Sometimes gimmicks just aren't enough. So until next time, I'll be seeing you.