After what seemed like an eternity to fans (a little less than a year for everyone else), Nintendo has finally broken its silence on the NX which is now officially called the Nintendo Switch. Gimmicky name aside, the showing was quite impressive and already has a lot of people talking. Of course, the question that will inevitably be brought up is how does it stack up against its big three peers, the PS4 and Xbox One?
While each definitely offers something worthwhile, it’s looking like the scales will become much more balanced in the near future. Of course, each console will have its own specific advantages, so we’re going to compare some key points that players look for when shopping for a console based on everything we know so far.
It may not be the most important aspect for everyone when purchasing a console, but the way a piece of hardware looks when sitting in an entertainment unit is often a checkbox on consumers’ lists. Thankfully, none of the current consoles are ugly or anything of that nature. The Xbox One’s biggest issue in the past was the fact that it was hilariously large, especially when sat next to a standard PS4, but that’s been rectified with the Xbox One S.
Yet there are still a few things to consider when purchasing a console and how they look next to all of your other devices and hardware. The Xbox One still has a blocky presence even if it is smaller, and that may not go with your design choice. The PS4 slim also lacks the form factor that the standard did, which can be a deal breaker depending on what you like. The standard of both the PS4 and Xbox One work well with most setups thanks to their solid coloration and pretty lights.
The Nintendo Switch actually, for lack of a better word, switches things up from what we had with the Wii U. The Wii U console looked fine, for the most part, but its appearance sort of screamed kid console. The Switch’s dock, on the other hand, has a nice, black and gray finish which doesn’t appear to take up much area on your counter and fits in with the environment. It’s not necessarily better than the competition, but it’s definitely a more mature presentation than what we’ve recently received from the company.
The Nintendo Switch Controller
The controller is your gateway to interacting with experiences on any console. Everyone knows that a bad input device can sour even the best game. The Ouya learned this the hard way, and even the Wii U struggled a bit since you could use only one of the cool tablets per console. With the Nintendo Switch, the company knew that it had to provide something that still allowed you to take the tablet abroad, but also didn’t limit multiplayer, comfort, or drastically change the home console experience. That’s where the Joy-Con comes in.
The Nintendo Switch’s gamepad is modular, allowing you to attach two pieces to a unit that allows you to use the device as you would a normal controller such as the DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller. However, its modular nature gives it a bit more versatility than its competition. As you already know, the Switch can be taken on the go, and you can attach the Joy-Con’s modules to the tablet to use actually buttons rather than tapping on a screen. On top of that, if you have friends around while you’re on the go, you can remove each module and use each one as a separate controller for a multiplayer experience. That’s an unparalleled level of versatility we’ve seen from a peripheral.
Of course, we don’t yet know how the buttons feel. Whether or not the triggers are springy, if there are deadzones on the thumbsticks, or are the buttons responsive, are all things we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the console to learn. But, for now, this is one of the more impressive controllers we’ve seen, especially from Nintendo.
One of the ways that Sony and Microsoft have managed to steamroll Nintendo and the Wii U was third-party support. It’s well known that Nintendo has a solid first-party stable, but the lack of major AAA releases was a big reason many passed up on the Switch’s predecessor. So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case for the upcoming console at launch. The company has shown only a “sampling” of partners for the new hardware and there are some heavy hitters in there such as Take-Two Interactive, EA, Activision, Bethesda, Square Enix, and Ubisoft.
While it’s true that the Wii U had some strong partners in the beginning that jumped ship when the console hit a rough patch, it wasn’t as strong as what was presented today for the newer machine. This puts the Nintendo Switch on the same level as the PS4 and Xbox One, especially since Take Two and Bethesda have steered clear of the company for some time. With the announcement of Read Dead Revolver 2, that Take-Two partnership is definitely eyebrow raising.
We’ll still have to see if companies will be developing multiplatform games that are on par, something that will most likely be revealed with the specs some time in the near future. But, it’s looking like the upcoming console will have its best foot forward and have a fair chance against the competition.
For a full list of partners, check out our post here.
One thing that each company has been trying desperately to tackle is remote play. A means of giving players the option to enjoy their console experiences in different ways, such as mobile, handheld gaming, or on PC. The closest we’ve gotten for PS4 and Xbox One as far as being actually worthwhile outside of home is laptop/PC play. Being able to stream your library or, as in the case of Xbox Play Anywhere, receive a copy in both places allows you some leeway of where and how you play. Yet it’s still a clunky option. The PS Vita tried to deliver the handheld experience, but the need to be on the same network as the PS4 meant it didn’t always work very well.
So far, from what we’ve seen in the trailer, the Nintendo Switch is handling this a lot better. The core of the console is a tablet that pretty much delivers the home experience on the road. You get to play the exact same game everywhere you go, and you can even use it as a miniature television to play multiplayer with your friends. If another friend has a Nintendo Switch, you can connect to enjoy multiplayer on your own screen. It’s a system that removes the leash of a network or some bulky computer to carry around. That certainly is an advantage for those looking for options, yet don’t want to purchase expensive new hardware on top of their console.
So Much We Don’t Know
Based on what little we know about the console so far, things are looking up for the company that helped to define so many childhoods. However, there is still a lot that has been left unsaid for the time being, and those bits of information can really determine if the Nintendo Switch can truly stand up to the PS4 and Xbox One.
Out of all of the things we don’t know, there are two tidbits that are incredibly important: price and specs. It’s clear that the tablet portion of the console is definitely capable, showing off The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim when on the go. However, it’s unclear if that was Skyrim’s Special Edition, or how much removing the tablet from the dock affects quality. Will this console even be able to support the next string of AAA releases? The price will be either a boon or a death sentence, as well. Yes, it’s a new piece of hardware which gives it some leeway, but if too high then it will fall to the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One S. Too low and potential consumers may think it’s a budget device.
Yet, even with these unanswered questions, it looks like the Nintendo Switch is poised to make a huge impact and not simply be trampled over.