Now that we’ve gone over the recent history of Nintendo, I can explain why I think the Nintendo Switch is meant to serve as Nintendo’s final console. But first, we need to establish what the Nintendo Switch does that makes it different from the Wii U. First, it intends to make itself the first “portable” console by allowing you to play on a screen not unlike the Wii U and attach the two controllers or “joycons” to either side of the screen. At first this sounds cool, and to a degree it is, but the problem with the console lies in the fine print.
First off, Nintendo is no longer offering the ability to play online for free. Instead, come Fall 2017 users will have to pay an unspecified amount if they want to access online multiplayer. Nintendo will offer a game a month to download and play for free similar to PS Plus, however once the month is up, you’ll have to pay for the game if you want to play it again. A paid online service isn’t anything new (Microsoft and Sony have had their own for quite awhile) but this seems to be the worst of the bunch by far. Not only is Nintendo refusing to explain why they would force customers to use a paid online service after years of offering it for free is anyone’s guess. However it seems like an extremely poor decision to offer one free game as opposed to Playstation or Xbox’s two, and one you can only keep until the end of the month.
There’s also the small matter of the games themselves. As of this writing, there are only five games confirmed for Nintendo Switch’s launch on march 3rd: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 1-2 Switch, Just Dance 2017, Skylanders Imaginators, and Super Bomberman R. It’s my personal opinion that the first two are the only ones that look like they’re going to be any fun (we’ll get back to that in a second) but the Switch doesn’t have any other notable titles releasing until this Summer.
Bottom line, there isn’t any real incentives to buy a Switch, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change. However, there might be a good reason behind all of this, and it revolves around Nintendo’s first party titles. You’ll remember in Part 1 of this post I wrote about how Nintendo has an incredible track record with it’s first party titles, and to be fair they’re the only reason that anyone would buy a Nintendo console. What if Nintendo is purposely trying to pull itself away from the console market? At this point, Nintendo would be foolish not to see that as far as the Wii U is concerned (and possibly the Switch) there’s very little when it comes to a R.O.I. Nintendo’s success lies in its games, not in its consoles. But stopping production on consoles altogether and without warning would be seen as a bad business move. But proving that you can’t make a successful console anymore and would be better off focusing on games is a smart way to make more money by not spending countless hours and resources on consoles that are, to be frank, are inferior to the Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Now I could be wrong about all of this. In fact, Nintendo could end up making a great console that is a financial success and is well-loved by many. But with only a handful of online games and mediocre online service it seems destined to be as much of a wash as the Wii U. I want my crazy conspiracy theory to be right, because if it isn’t, then Nintendo may have positioned itself to take a very big fall.