Nintendo just brought a Game Changer to the industry...at least for Switch
Words like "game changer" and "industry changing" are often thrown around too easily these days. They can be used as buzz words to catch an eye or gain a click; however, sometimes something happens that makes you pause in your tracks and truly reread what you just saw. This last Nintendo Direct announced many new things, clarity about many upcoming 3DS and Switch titles, Amiibos, and finalized names. I expected it to be just another update surrounding Super Mario Odyssey. The Nintendo Switch has had an interesting first few months of its life. It had by far the smallest launch lineup of any recent console in history, riding on the shoulder of a single Zelda game. Five months later, an explosion of lackluster mobile-like games overshadow a small handful of gems. Games are selling for at higher prices than PS4 and Xbox One, and often launching far later on switch. This has come to be known casually as the "Switch Tax" by gamers. Despite all these things that should be holding the Switch back, the console can't be kept in stock at retailers. GameStop has cited multiple broken records, and people are clamoring to buy this new console simply on the countless promises of new games. Despite feeling light on games, the console is fun and highly praised by many, but not by some. The biggest obvious missing thing is: We have still yet to see a true AAA Action title join the switch. For months after launch, I have read no less then two dozen articles quoting/interviewing developers of major triple AAA titles when they made their official announcement that they won't be supporting Switch with their upcoming game. Some were professional enough to simply say it wasn't planned at the moment but could be in the future. Some were bold enough to brag about how their game was so complex and so great that it couldn't even run on a Switch. Respawn Entertainment senior designer Mohammad Alavi told YouTube channel, Drunk Tech Review, ""No. F*** no. No you're not going to be able to fit Titanfall on it. That's the same Zelda from the Wii U [laughs]."
Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford has gone on record stating Borderlands 3 has no plans for Switch Support. At Bungie, Project Lead Mark Noseworthy initially said they have "...I think it's pretty unrealistic, given we're an online-only game, right? The Switch, because it's a portable..." As well, both EA and Activision have stated no plans for Mass Effect Andromeda and Call of Duty WWII respectively for Nintendo Switch. Everytime one of these articles, releases, or interviews appears, many Nintendo Naysayers were mocking with comments common to "You expected those games to be able to play on the Switch?" Even Nintendo fans would defend Nintendo with arguments such as "thats not the main focus of the switch." So far it seemed like we were seeing a repeat in history with Nintendo being a first party/indie machine. After reading all these articles and seeing these interviews, I had one problem with the underlying assumption. Everyone is implying and just accepting this idea that the Nintendo Switch is a weak underpowered console that CANT run these kinds of games. Lets just accept this given for a second that the Nintendo Switch is underpowered for a 2017 console. Lets take a second to realize how lazy developers are really being when they are trying to toss away what the Switch is. The Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls are two of the most visually beautiful games I have ever played. They are photorealistic and have gorgeous environments. They were Playstation 3 exclusives... 3. THREE. For those of you who forget, the Playstation 3 launched in 2006. That is an 11 year old computer! It has 256MB XDR Main RAM/256MB GDDR3 VRAM. It also had a custom processor that pails in comparison to current processors. To put this is in perspective this is less power than even most current smartphones. The Nintendo Switch has 4gb of RAM and a custom processor built by Nvidia. They are one of the best brands in the gaming component business. They built a powerful chip that could still be portable. This is why it is just an excuse to say that modern games can be built on a Switch. If games like the Last of Us could be build for a playstation 3, why can't they be made for a Switch? This is a common theme we see from many developers today. They use power as a crutch. Great Video games have been made for decades but all of sudden, a great game requires the most powerful specs money can buy. Josef Fares (developer behind A Way Out), while trying to brag about the Xbox One X, was quoted to say when asked about the PS4, "Do you want the honest truth? This machine, [the PS4], is not so strong as you think...This is like a five-year-old PC. If consoles were as powerful as PCs are today, you would see all different games. Most of the work developers put out there is to make them work on consoles.” Even the PS4 isn't "good enough for some developers. This is showing a trend of developers complaining about specs when not wanting to work hard to squeeze more out of a gaming machine. This brings us to the best thing that was announced during the Nintendo Direct. Wolfenstein 2 and DOOM 2016 have both been announced for Nintendo Switch for 2017/2018. This is truly "game changing". Both of these games are huge full-sized AAA FPS Action games no different than Titanfall, Destiny, Overwatch, Borderlands, Mass Effect, Battlefield, or Call of Duty. To put these games in perspective both DOOM and Titanfall 2 require about 45GB of install space. So much for "not fitting"... The fact that Bethesda can announce both these games on Switch means they are either coding wizards that have alien technology, or the Switch is far more powerful than developers have been trying to make us believe. For some reason, we've been told over and over that the switch will be capable of nothing other than cartoon games or super old AAA titles (Skyrim?) with developers complaining about power and specs and laughing. Perhaps they are being lazy, trying to only work with the most power out of some idea of "luxury". Perhaps this idea around specs is the third party's way of making excuse to see how sales would do because of the failed Wii U. Its easy to back away from development when people will accept that your game can't be ported. This announcement has put every major third party on notice. We DO NOT ACCEPT your answer that your game cannot be ported to Switch. You're game can run on a Switch. You just need to trust that gamers will buy it and put in the extra effort to work on a mobile console. Let us reward the developers that care enough about gamers and the industry to give us more options, even if it takes more work to develop for a third console. If you haven't played Doom 2016 or never played a Wolfenstein game, support Bethesda with these franchises (even on your console of choice) simply because they were brave enough to bet on gamers. They didn't lie to us to avoid porting to a scary new console. Cited Work: IGN.com, GameStop, Quoted Developers