We are just days away from a total news blowout on Nintendo’s next home console, the Switch. It has been no secret that Nintendo has been working on a new console for quite some time. Codenamed “NX,” this new device has been the carrot at the end of Nintendo’s stick for months.
Nearly three months ago, Nintendo published “First Look at Nintendo Switch.” This three and a half minute concept trailer confirmed rumors of a hybrid system and provided palpable hype for Nintendo’s future. This on-the-go home system that can run The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has sparked a fire in Nintendo fans unseen for what feels like years. Shortly after the reveal, Nintendo announced a Switch focused event would happen on January 12, 2017.
Nintendo went silent on the Switch for the remainder of 2016. Focusing their efforts on Super Mario Run and the NES Classic, Nintendo went mum on the Switch yet again. The new system has only popped its head out on Dec. 7 when it made a hands-on debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
January 12 is nearly upon us and the excitement is electrifying. The ship that is the Switch has been leaking rumors for nearly the entire journey of the vessel. While leaks are fun and help stir the pot (especially when the captain of the ship remains silent), it is important to take them all with a grain of salt.
In the interest of documenting my thoughts and feelings before we know all about Nintendo’s next big thing, I wanted to share my predictions and thoughts on what Nintendo needs to say and do for the Switch to hit the ground running. Below are my five predictions for the Switch event being held this Thrusday, January 12, 2017. Check out this post to read my thoughts on what Nintendo needs to do to have Switch’s launch lead to a successful life cycle for the system.
Nintendo has people’s interest, but now they need to lock in their commitment. We are the bass gazing at the dancing worm in the water. We have taken a bite, now Nintendo needs to sink the hook in.
Here are my five predictions for the Nintendo Switch event. I followed my gut and tried to keep rumors out of it. These are what I think will happen for the Switch on January 12. Some are more fleshed out than others and some may even include a pie-in-the-sky angle. Here we go!
If you would like watch or listen to my predictions, check out Episode 75 of Millennial Gaming Speak, a podcast I co-host.
1) Launches on March 24, 2017 at $249.99 with 128GB of Storage
Nintendo has said in the past that the Switch will launch in March 2017. That is a major component to why the hype is so feverish. The system will be in consumer hands within two months. Knowledge about the system may have been leaking into news and pop culture slowly throughout the past 18 months, but now, the dam is going to burst. I think the final Friday of the month makes sense. Gives them the most time to produce units, while meeting their promised deadline. Friday is also a great day to launch a system, since day one adopters can play all weekend long.
The price of Switch is also a hot topic. Nintendo’s last system, the Wii U, was priced significantly high for the technology. The 3DS was also insanely priced. The technology inside the Switch is reportedly impressive with a custom Nvida Tegra chipset. Fitting that kind of power into a portable device is no small, or cheap, feat. I think the sweet spot is $250-300. I am predicting on the low side of my scale. Nintendo is going to want this device everywhere.
The pipe dream element to this prediction is the storage capacity. For the longest time, Nintendo hardware has relied on low onboard storage with expansion through SD cards or external HDD. I imagine SD cards will be an option for the Switch (no one wants to lug an external HDD around for a portable game system). Games will be cartridge based, which will allow for speedy load times for large games.
The digital ecosystem is a growing giant within the industry though. I think Nintendo is acutely aware of the growing market for digital gaming. Putting sizable storage capacity onboard the Switch would be a huge win.
2) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Switch are launch titles
Arguably the most talked about Nintendo game in their pipeline is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Right behind that ambitious title is the next 3D Mario game. These are two titans in both the industry and Nintendo’s portfolio. Both of these games will come to the Switch, but I believe they are both launch games.
Breath of the Wild‘s development and launch brings me back to the release of Twilight Princess. Both games are made for two different generational systems: Twilight Princess launched on the GameCube and the Wii, while Breath of the Wild will launch on Wii U and Switch. Twilight Princess was also a launch game for the Wii. Outside of the Wii Sports pack-in, Twilight Princess was a must-have launch title on the Wii.
Is it the smartest business move to launch two marquee games on the same day? Probably not. I’m no business major, but spreading out the portfolio seems to make sense. But, I can also see the mass appeal of having two must have games at launch. They are two entirely different types of games, and while the Venn Diagram of Zelda and Mario fans has quite the overlap, they do serve two different audiences of casual and hardcore. In the end, this is a gut prediction and one I hope I am right about.
3) Virtual Console renamed, supports importing purchases, launches with GC games and Mother 3
This is probably the densest prediction on my list. It involves more moving parts and expectations from Nintendo than the others.
The Virtual Console was introduced on the Wii. It was this portal to years past of sitting on the floor in front of your TV and playing classic games.
The service has had its ups and downs. When looking at Nintendo’s recent marketing and business moves, I think they are gearing up to reintroduce the Virtual Console. New slogans such as “There’s No Play Like It” or switching back to the classic red branding indicate a look back toward the past. The NES Classic is a clear calling card of this nostalgic marketing.
A rebranding of the shop combined with the ability to import previous purchases made on the Wii U or 3DS brings the Virtual Console back into the public eye while extending an olive branch to loyal customers. The technical infrastructure involved with importing purchases may be too much, depending on how the back end of the current shops works, but it would certainly be a nice touch.
A notable absence from Nintendo’s retro shop is the GameCube. 15 years old now, the GameCube and its iconic games are reaching a perfect point to cash in on nostalgia. If Nintendo can master the emulation (something the Wii did well at and the Wii U failed), taking GameCube games on the go, along with the rest of Nintendo’s library would be fantastic.
To round out this Virtual Console prediction, I want to talk about Mother 3. The infamous sequel never left Japan and has its own struggling development cycle. It moved from the Nintendo 64 to the Gameboy Advance. Announcing that an official translated version is coming to the Switch would amp the excitement for fans of the Mother (Earthbound, in the states) series.
4) Switch is Region Free
A notably lighter prediction, I believe it is time for Nintendo to end its region locking within its systems. All other major console manufacturers have opted for region free devices. Nintendo has always engaged in region locking their systems, but I think they will tear down the proverbial walls and just let people play games from any nation on their device.
5) Brand New Metroid Game Announcement
To cap my Switch predictions, a brand new, honest-to-God Metroid game will be announced. A true Metroid game. It has been seven years of silence on the next true Metroid game. To make this incredibly unlikely prediction even more crazy, I say that Retro, known for Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, is developing it as a 2D Metroid game. This is a mashing of Retro’s knowledge of Metroid and the lessons of 2D design from Donkey Kong into one game.
If any of this does come true, I think Retro’s new game will be announced. They have been quietly working on their next game since 2014, if not before that as Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze wrapped up production. It is certainly time to see what they are working on now. I imagine their game will come out in late 2017 or early 2018.
That wraps up my Switch predictions. Some may be on the safe side while others are way out there. We will find out how right (or wrong) I was this Thursday, January 12 at 11:00 PM EST.
What do you think Nintendo will do and say Switch event on January 12? Sound off in the comments below or tweet at me @MaxTheWhite.