Nintendo Shares New Licensed Accessories for the Nintendo Switch

A lot of people have begun to voice concern about the tactile nature of the Joy-Con for the Nintendo Switch as the come directly out of the box. In fact, several have even expressed desire to have more ergonomically sound covers for the Joy-Con to supplement the straps that come with the system. Fear not, Nintendo has shared some officially licensed materials (from Japan, currently).

A lot of color variety is seen immediately, and the accessories are not solely for the Joy-Con, there are several different cases, and covers on display, as well.

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Personally, I am excited about these accessories, as the portable nature of the system sets off the “extra careful sensors” inside me. That definitely makes me want to ensure I am able to care for it constantly, especially if I am taking advantage of the multiplayer functionality. Something about other people handling your equipment that raises your sense…am I right?!

Which of these accessories appeal to you most? Do you expect to pick up any of these (whether they are offered in your region or not)? What else would you want Nintendo to make available?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!


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So What Is The Point of It All?!

There often comes a time when silence is just as much the enemy of progress as direct opposition. In the consumer electronics industry, there has virtually always been a steady push for progressive movement. The times of being satisfied with what is currently “state of the art” are already obsolete. It’s about keeping it moving!

So, as you may or may not be aware, Nintendo is a video game company that has always prided themselves on creating unique and exceptional experiences for their customers. Whether it was finding new ways to ensure patrons were able to have satisfying and fun experiences on their arcade machines, or giving people the closest thing to arcade experiences in the home, or innovating the ways in which we interact with our games, Nintendo has always striven to do the next new thing to make video games fun for every player.

a_1That very desire has driven the company to their current position, on the verge of releasing their seventh mainline dedicated home console device, the Nintendo Switch. October 2016 finally saw the reveal trailer hit the mainstream, and it certainly served its purpose immensely, giving a highly sufficient understanding of what the console would be bringing to the market. January 12, 2017 saw the full Nintendo Switch Presentation, which delivered a deluge of information, from hardware-specific details that we did not yet know, to brand-new game titles that will soon be available for us to get our hands on. Much of what the company needed to share in order for people to make an informed decision on whether to purchase the console, and when was delivered, plus some!

So that leads us to the question at hand: What is the point of it all? What is the point of much of the current discussion going around the gaming community? Youtubers making videos with the leading question, “Is the Nintendo Switch ‘worth it’?” or just generally trying to “anticipate” the “biggest problems” with the console! Gaming “journalists” freely jumping at the chance to play devil’s advocate! Gaming industry financial analysts watching the Japanese stock market more than the pre-orders selling out at retail and online! On a couple occasions now, I have somewhat addressed some things close to this, but this particular post is dedicated to this entire topic, so enjoy…

So, as it goes, for the last several years, Nintendo Switch Preview Eventthe President of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime, has stated on many occasions when asked about competing against Sony and Microsoft, that Nintendo is not “trying to compete” with those two companies. However, even though many of the outlets that report on every single interview that Reggie gives, and have printed that same quote on many occasions, they still do podcasts or write articles that constantly espouse the comparisons, and cite their dismay that Nintendo can’t possibly “compete” against Sony and Microsoft with this particular hardware because…reasons! Spinning that constant narrative serves a purpose (and I’ll get to that soon)!

Some time back (likely during the Wii/DS era) the chic thing to talk about was “more power” in consoles; at least that was the case for many of the new-type gamers that didn’t grow up playing games on the Atari 2600, and in the arcades. The ones that feel it is necessary to justify their desire to play games as they get older. One funny thing about certain personalities is their inherent desire to become defensive, prematurely. Long before they are offended, they find a reason to be defensive about it. So, back to the power argument. On the surface it seems that that argument is legitimate, until you really look at the impact of an arms race just for the sake of it. The video game industry is an entity that has been around more than 40 years, first in arcades then in the home and beyond. As with most any industry, video games have seen ebbs and flows in their viability, and even showing signs of volatility at times. Historians and lay observers, alike, have varying reasons for the volatile periods, but one such reason that many fail to acknowledge is the arms race that is often orchestrated and pushed by interests that do not see beyond the financial numbers.

“Not surprisingly, the success of our industry, and the profit-margin for hit games, has again drawn big attention from larger entertainment companies. But, we may not be compatible.”
~Satoru Iwata
Keynote, Game Developers Conference
March, 2005

The above quote from Iwata-san speaks volumes when you understand what happens in this scenario. Here is what happens. We as gamers ultimately want the same thing, no matter which company holds your most allegiance, we all want to enjoy great game experiences. Bottom line! So, we are clear, however, the scenario that Iwata-san mentions (which he says is happening “again”–so it’s happened before, mind you) offers different voices; voices that ultimately do not represent those of the consumers/fans. Here is what I mean, publicly traded companies have their retail customers to satisfy, but they also have another primary level of “customers” to satisfy called share holders, and ultimately, they b_1are the more powerful, vocal minority. So, as gamers are clamoring for new iterations of their most beloved franchise to come around again, shareholders are looking for their next BIG payday. Sometimes those interests can coincide, but they usually do not. Who wins there, the powerful, vocal minority, of course. So, back to the “power argument”. As these vocal interests push the video game companies to do what will make the most money for them, you find developers saying we need these hardware devices to be more powerful because we want to be able to realize our vision. You have console manufacturers saying we need to make our device the most powerful, so that it can not only be the most attractive to consumers, but will also be the most future-proof. We also have the segment of the gamers who believe they have to have the most powerful device on the market, because it will ultimately yield the best experiences.

Hole-punch time!

As the game developers have clamored for more power, they have gotten it almost exponentially from Sony and Microsoft. Optimization is the clearest measure of whether these developers are utilizing that power. However, full optimization of a console and all it has to offer, especially power, takes considerable time, and that means several years. Those years certainly have not passed on the current cycle for Sony or Microsoft, yet there seems to be a consensus effort to move on already. If games have not yet been optimized (not even close), then the current push for more power is not necessary, after all.

Console manufacturers have pushed the idea that power increase is the major key to advancing to a new generation. However, pushing for more power simply bottlenecks progress into one set parameter, thus oversimplifying what progress is/should be. So, as Sony and Microsoft are trying to out-power each other, who is left to truly advance what it means to play video games? Nintendo is, of course!

Now, for these gamers, many of whom have bought into the argument given by the above-mentioned developers, believe that power is the meaning of moving gaming to the next level, and that’s not entirely true. The argument has been posed by several people who believe that Nintendo is “doing it again with an ‘under-powered’ console” in the Nintendo Switch. The problem with that sentiment is the question, “under-powered according to whom?” Do you mean “under-powered” compared to the PS4 (Pro) or XBox One (“Scorpio”)? Those systems are not being optimized as is, so is the amount of “power” in them even necessary currently? The developers bringing games to those systems are having far too much difficulty taking meaningful advantage of either of those systems for me to take their word as gospel, at this point. I am not saying there aren’t any good games there, but the amount of “power” they feel is lacking but necessary in the Nintendo Switch (which, by the way, because of different architecture, cannot be viewed through the same lens as the other two console for comparison to determine viability) is truly a fallacy, in my view. How do they knowgslm319v-f1p6vj9_u9lhmddmtflprzs they can’t do something that they have not tried, honestly? So, for gamers to react simply based on the bias of a few ill-informed developers, is a disservice to them as gamers. But beyond getting their ideas from developers, there are yet other gamers who look to seize upon the opportunity to express their displeasure with Nintendo’s newest console solely based on their own dislike of the company. No matter what they do, it’s always wrong. The thing is, if the Nintendo Switch just does not appeal to you, there is a simpler solution to that issue than the one that many are choosing to employ…just don’t buy it! There is no reason for you as an independent-thinking individual to spend your (I assume) hard-earned money on a console that just does not appeal to you. If you are, in actuality, not really a fan of Nintendo games, it is completely not necessary for you to purchase a Nintendo Switch, at launch, or any other time. Thing is, it’s also equally unnecessary to rail against the console for what you perceive to be slights, when you were not even getting the system in the first place.

Just as there are games that are made that are not for everyone, there are game systems that fall into that category, as well. That’s why it strikes me as odd and disingenuous when some people feel it’s necessary to justify their counter-productive behavior toward Nintendo hardware (Nintendo Switch and earlier), yet profess to be fans of Nintendo, at the same time. “Nintendo needs to do this to get me back,” or “Nintendo just abandoned me; I grew up, but Nintendo never did.” And the most egregious of offenses by this type of gamer is the one that somehow feels that Nintendo “needs” all of these 3rd Party Developers to support the Nintendo Switch (in this instance). The thing is, Nintendo has a good number of 3rd Party Developer partners supporting the console, already, and others keeping a close eye on it. What many of the critics mean, though, is they want to see more Western 3rd Party Dev support, which is, quite honestly, a bit over-rated.Would it be nice to have a healthy amount of variety with those games, sure, but Western 3rd Party Developers have a lot of bad habits that don’t always translate well on Nintendo platforms. In other words, porting older games to a new system is not the best strategy if you are serious about the sales numbers. Also, treating the games you do bring to Nintendo systems as if you don’t truly care about them, by stripping content, and features…but still charging full-prices, doesn’t quite work well, either.

“Core gamers have a huge appetite for challenge. Casual gamers want less difficulty. At Nintendo, we believe it is our responsibility to make games for all skill levels, and most definitely that includes people who are not playing our games now.”
~Satoru Iwata
Keynote, Game Developers Conference
March, 2005

So, as Nintendo has done many times over the years, they have pivoted their focus slightly with their target demographic on several key franchises for the Nintendo Switch. In generations past, titles such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda have taken on different roles in regards to attracting player, old and new. It is plain to see that the desire by the dev teams behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey have not only readdressed the conventions of the series, but have also focused the game play on mechanics that will lend themselves to more “core gamers”. Sure, there are some confirmed games that will offer easier entry levels for less experience gamers who may just be finding their way into gaming, but even with those, as always, Nintendo will still offer deeper, richer experiences for the gamers looking for that.

Bottom line, the Nintendo Switch is going to be an amazing new console for the people who are looking for that type of experience, and specs will not dictate that, neither will graphics. Power certainly won’t be the answer! It will all come down to the gaming experiences that player have that will determine the console’s viability in the marketplace! One of the silliest things that I see constantly in the community is the hollow competition between gamers, in which they believe they have to defeat other gamers on different consoles to have the “best” one. Like what you like, and will absolutely do the same!

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!

Nintendo Presents the Nintendo Switch to the World

Thursday evening, January 12, Nintendo streamed their Nintendo Switch Presentation, which finally took the cover off the next dedicated home console, and that presentation was overflowing with information. Finally able to move away from rumors and conjecture, we can now see exactly what the console is able to do, as well as quite a few games that will be coming to the system. I do plan to go more in-depth on my thoughts and impressions regarding the overall unveiling, which includes the Nintendo Switch Presentation and the Treehouse Live event, but for now, we will simply take a look at what was actually shown during the presentation.

Right away the company answered two of the most burning questions regarding the console, and that was price and launch date. The Nintendo Switch will be launching on March 3, 2017 globally and the price (for North America) will be $299.99.

The system will include the main console, Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R) controllers, a Joy-Con grip (to which two Joy-Con are attached and used as one controller), a set of Joy-Con wrist straps, a Nintendo Switch dock (which holds the main console and connects it to a TV), an HDMI cable and an AC adapter. Two stylish versions of the system will be released: a version with a set of gray Joy-Con, and a version with one neon blue and one neon red Joy-Con. Both versions will be the same price.

As we learned back in October when Nintendo revealed the console through a 3:30 trailer, the heart of the console is the tablet that can actually be taken on-the-go. Now, we have confirmation that the tablet is indeed a 6.2-inch screen, with 720p resolution, displaying beautiful images for amazing game play.

Nintendo Switch is a breakthrough home video game system. It not only connects to a TV at home, but it also instantly transforms into an on-the-go handheld using its 6.2-inch screen. For the first time, players can enjoy a full home-console experience anytime, anywhere. The screen includes capacitive multi-touch capabilities for compatible games. Battery life can last for more than six hours, but will vary depending on the software and usage conditions. For example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played for roughly three hours on a single charge. While away from home, Nintendo Switch can be charged by plugging the AC adapter into the console’s USB Type-C connector.

What seemed to be inconsequential accessories to the Nintendo Switch gaming experience to some, however, turned out to be the hidden pieces to the puzzle that many people expected to find out from Nintendo. The removable controllers on either side of the console when in portable mode, the Joy-Con, are the keys to several hidden features and surprises.

The versatile Joy-Con offer multiple surprising new ways for players to have fun. Two Joy-Con can be used independently in each hand, or together as one game controller when attached to the Joy-Con grip. They can also attach to the main console for use in handheld mode, or be shared with friends to enjoy two-player action in supported games. Each Joy-Con has a full set of buttons and can act as a standalone controller, and each includes an accelerometer and gyro-sensor, making independent left and right motion control possible.

Nintendo Switch also contains a number of built-in features that make it more interactive. The left Joy-Con has a Capture Button that players can press to take instant screenshots of gameplay to share with friends on social media. The right Joy-Con includes an NFC touchpoint for interaction with amiibo figures, as well as an IR Motion Camera that can detect the distance, shape and motion of nearby objects in specially designed games. For example, it can tell how far away a player’s hand is, and even if the hand is forming a rock, paper or scissors shape. Both Joy-Con include advanced HD Rumble, which can provide compatible games with subtle vibrations that are much more realistic than before. The effect is so detailed that a player could, for example, feel the sensation of individual ice cubes colliding inside a glass when shaking a Joy-Con. With HD Rumble players can experience a level of realism not possible through sights and sounds alone.

It is incredible finally getting to see the next step in Nintendo evolution, as the Nintendo Switch marks a new phase in the company’s life cycle. With so many different initiatives and projects being implemented by the company, making sure the Nintendo Switch gets off to a glorious start. Among those changes, Nintendo has also been working to improve their online experience with the Nintendo Switch, as well.

Nintendo Switch makes it easy for players to stay connected. Up to eight systems can be connected for local wireless play. The player can place the system upright anywhere by using the built-in stand, then easily share Joy-Con for multiplayer fun away from the TV. The system will support online Wi-Fi multiplayer gaming. Nintendo also unveiled a new online subscription service that will begin with a free trial at launch. The service includes a smart-device application available in Summer 2017 that will let users invite friends to play online, set play appointments and chat with one another as they play compatible games. The fully featured paid service will be available in the fall.

Nintendo has taken a unique approach to Parental Controls with their new system, as well. It appears they are fully embracing the use of mobile app integration. Along with the Parental Controls, their online features will be similarly using a mobile app, too.

Take a look at the breakdown of the company’s new online services available with the Nintendo Switch.

nintendo-switch-online-services

A good majority of my impressions were made by the software that was shown off. It will be amazing to dive even further into the new games that will soon be available. I look forward to getting into the games that were shown (and not shown), so be on the lookout for that post soon. For now, I will leave this post on this note: Nintendo has finally given us the details we have wanted to know ever since late President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, shared the fact that Nintendo was indeed hard at work creating their next dedicated gaming system, code-named “NX”. Now, the Nintendo Switch is about a month and a half away from launch, and the excitement is real! Some of the most amazing gaming experiences are only weeks away from mass existence, and the time cannot pass quickly enough, before it’s time to play.

How excited are you to experience the Nintendo Switch? Will you be pre-ordering the system? What did you like best about the Nintendo Switch Presentation?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!


Credits:

Can Your Teraflops Play My Teraflops, Tho?!

As the year 2016 wound down and the anticipation of the New Year 2017 built up, the excitement of what will be new in gaming was palpable. The Nintendo Switch is soon to have its live presentation within days, then will be available for fans to enjoy just a couple months later. It will be amazing for Nintendo fans beginning in just half a week.

NX Secrets for a ReasonWith the coming of the newest system from Nintendo, the environment has seen the ushering in of more and more rumor mill occupants and worse yet so many spec-heads who focus more on new system specs than new games. As the Nintendo Switch was revealed and we were finally able to cease calling it the ‘NX’, the excitement was nearly unimaginable, especially seeing how the community seemed to be nearing exhaustion on anything ‘NX’, specifically, and Nintendo, in general. The reveal video, though, saw a complete uptick in excitement for what Nintendo would be bringing to the market in March 2017.

For game fans, the launch of a new console is an exciting time, especially when it’s from your favorite company. So the current environment is electric for me. There are countless new games and experiences ready to be had with Nintendo’s new console. The possibilities are endless, for sure!

One unfortunate side effect that comes along with the launch of new and unknown contemporary hardware is the race to figure out what is “under the hood”. There is this burning desire for some to pick apart and decipher what the console’s specifications are. In my earlier days of gaming the most concern we had for specifications were 8-bit, 16-bit, and an eye-popping 64-bits. Somewhere after that, though, gamers bought into the “arms race”, and many publishers began to talk more about hardware specs than the much more difficult to measure “fun factor”. How much fun is this game? Forget that, how many shaders? What’s the processor speed? Our new engine, this; how scalable, that? So, now, instead of selling gamers on how fun their new gaming system is, they’ve trained the gamers to worry more about how many teraflops are on-board, and how the game is going to “take advantage” of them. It’s difficult to reconcile that paradigm for me, though. I can’t quite accept that mindset, because I don’t play games to watch them play themselves, or to minimally participate in the activity. Pretty pictures are fine, but if I’m not able to do much more than watch cinematics, then press a single button to get to the next one for the majority of a game’s play-through, I am not very interested in that. Some people find that okay, and I’m not here to judge because I know, “to each their own”, but I also know that is not for me.

With the coming Nintendo Switch, there nx_hardwareare quite a few outlets, “analysts” and on-lookers who are claiming to not only have the final specs of the Nintendo Switch, but they are also breaking down what those numbers mean in comparison to the other consoles on the market. Obviously, there are quite a few flaws in that approach as first, no specs have been confirmed as final by the company who created the system from scratch; second, the way in which systems use hardware in their processes is not universal; and third, have we not seen a single game developer optimize this new hardware (obviously), let alone the other consoles of comparison.

So, why the rush to be disappointed months in advance? I will tell you my theory on that now! In many cases it’s called disingenuous indignation. People are feigning upset, but in actuality are not upset, at all! In fact, many of them are only acting, just as many of them only pretended to be excited initially when the console was announced/revealed. Think of this, since Nintendo shared the reveal trailer and a few interviews afterward, then later said they would not be sharing anymore information until January 12, what have they shared that was different information than earlier? Nothing at all! Reggie Fils-Aime has been seen, Shigeru Miyamoto has spoken here and there, and even Tatsumi Kimishima has given a few interviews and an Investor Briefing, but again Nintendo has remained steadfast in what they said initially. So as nothing else has changed, why the change of heart? I say, there wasn’t one at all. The company didn’t do anything to suddenly disappoint these people, it’s simply negativity buy-in. It is much easier to buy into a preconceived negative image than to embrace what could (and likely will) be another great console from Nintendo.

img_0410Bottom line though, why does it even matter what the company is putting into the console, when we already know that the games will be, by and large, the most enjoyable experiences over these next several years? We will soon be able to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on both the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch, and that game has been nominated as the most anticipated game of 2015, 2016 and now 2017! People want to play the game, and anyone who is honest with themselves will say it doesn’t matter what kind of system the game is on; if it is playable, enjoyable and well worth the wait, it will be welcomed! So why does it matter how many teraflops my system has versus your system? Can your teraflops play mine? If the answer is no and I’m over here having fun, then it is of no consequence to you! If my teraflops are being used fully and yours are not, then I’m obviously getting much more value of my teraflops than you with yours! Now if all things are equal and my experiences are incredible and so are yours, then what is there to argue about, anyway?

How will you be gaming when the Nintendo Switch comes out? Do you anticipate picking up one early? Will you get one, at all? Do you believe console prowess is as important as many profess it to be?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!

This is It…Nintendo Finally Let’s Us See the Nintendo Switch!

So there we have it, the Nintendo NX is no longer the moniker to remember for Nintendo’s next home gaming system. The Nintendo Switch is the new way to play! Now, the speculation can conclude, and we can get into the business of real deal facts, and genuine excitement!

All of these months of anticipation, speculation, and even frustration culminated in a 3:37 minute video reveal of the Nintendo Switch that absolutely delivered. Nintendo unveiled their new console and it appears that most (if not all) of the predictions/rumors that some outlets  were sharing were, in fact, accurate, yet the reveal video was still highly gratifying and satisfying. Just over 24 hours prior to my writing this, many people were finding it difficult to believe that Nintendo’s wait for transparency was anything more than detrimental at this point. However, last night the internet went crazy over the confirmed revelation of the long-awaited Nintendo (NX) Switch! The timing has been questioned by many, but the truth is, Nintendo has allowed the community to sufficiently generate enough (and to some, exhaustive) hype about the NX, and now we can revel in the incredible new Nintendo Switch.

By now, you may have already see the video, but it is provided here for your viewing pleasure, again, and if you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy!

As, you may have noticed in the trailer, there are a lot of new and exciting things to glean, and I will be going into more details in the next (and subsequent) post. For now, the Nintendo Switch is the new piece of hardware that we can truly get behind, and be excited for its release.

In my opinion, Nintendo did an amazing job of relaying the simplicity of what the Nintendo Switch is, its functionality, how fun it is to play, and the many different control options…all without a single word needing to be spoken until the end when a simple voice says, “Nintendo Switch!” I am flat-out excited about this new console, and the more I look at it, the more excited I become. I do anticipate watching that video repeatedly over the next several days and weeks…and I don’t expect to tire of it any time soon. For now, though, I will leave you with your thoughts.

What did you like best about the Nintendo Switch reveal video? Is it what you want in your next Nintendo console? Do you think Nintendo relayed their message well enough to the masses to truly understand what this console is/will be?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!