For a while now, the Playstation Vita was the console for me. Not only it’s almost as powerful as a Playstation 3, but it has a lot of good Japanese role playing games. It also sold well in Japan.
Now, there is another contender. You guessed it! It’s the Nintendo Switch.
Outside the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo haven’t been doing so well. The Wii U is a big flop due to lack of third party support. Also, the name makes people believe that the Wii U is merely an accessory for the Wii console.
However, Nintendo finally realized their mistakes of region locking their consoles among other things. Nintendo decided to combine the home console and portable console into a hybrid console with the Nintendo Switch. This is not surprising since in Japan, portable consoles reign supreme with Playstation Vita and 3DS sales outselling the Playstation 4.
The Switch allows you to take your games anywhere since it’s a portable and a home console. When you at home, you simply put it in the dock and take the Joycon out of the system. When you want it portable, you take it out of the dock and slide the Joycons back. This means that you can take your full console experiences anywhere. This is big, especially if one travels a lot since hotel TVs might not allow HDMI input. This means you don’t have to rely on a low-latency capture card to play games on a Switch. You can simply use the built-in screen.
Compared to the Vita, you do not need to mod your console to capture gameplay. You can simply use any capture card, like the Elgato Cam Link which I now use. There are also portable dock adapters that allow you to output video to a television without using the included dock.
As for the graphics, it’s definitely more powerful than a Playstation Vita. In comparison to a Playstation 4 and Xbox One, it’s still less powerful. This time, Nintendo decided to use a nVidia system on a chip for the Switch. It features graphics from nVidia’s Maxwell architecture. This architecture is used in popular video cards like the Geforce GTX 970.
To me, the graphics looks very good despite being less powerful. I have played a few hours of Yoru no Nai Kuni 2 and the graphics looks better than the Vita version. Of course, with Switch ports, it will always look better than the Vita port. On the other hand, it won’t have the extra eye-candy seen in the Playstation 4 versions. Still, it’s impressive given how much graphics power put into a small package. Obviously, they can’t put a GTX 1080 GPU in it. Still, I think games will run good thanks to the optimizations made in software.
As for the controllers, I think they are good. It’s nice how you can take them out and put them into a controller holder that comes bundled. While the controller using the Joycon holder isn’t as good compared to a traditional one, you can also buy a Pro controller if that is your thing. Still, it’s somewhat disappointing that they do not bundle the Joycon holder that have a charger, but instead sell it separately. So, if you use the holder, you will eventually have to put them back on the Switch to charge them.
While there is a lot of good things about the Switch, there are some flaws. Unlike the Playstation Vita, there is no streaming capabilities, web browser or even video playback. This may change in the future as the console matures. Also, the console has limited storage with only 32 GB of internal memory. It’s a far cry to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One with hard drives. Thankfully, the Switch uses standard micro SD cards so you don’t have to buy proprietary memory cards like on the Vita. While the kickstand is a nice feature, it’s not as good compared to the one on a Surface Pro. This means that you can prop the Switch up only on a flat surface.
Regardless of the flaws, there is a good thing many people are waiting for. Yes, there is no region lock, which is one of my gripes with Nintendo consoles. In the past, there were games that are only available in Japan on the 3DS. To play these games, you must buy a Japanese Nintendo 3DS. Of course, none of the games from other regions will work on it.
However, with the Switch, you can import games from any region and they will still play. Not only that, you can create and use Nintendo accounts from other regions. In addition, you can buy games from the eShop as well. In most cases, you can simply buy credit using the credit card without going through a third-party service. I have bought credit on a Japanese 3DS in the past and I had no problem.
In short, I think the Nintendo Switch will become a worthy successor of the Playstation Vita. It’s not surprising since it’s selling out and even beating Wii U sales. So far, the Switch gained a lot of third-party support, even from triple-A developers. Hopefully, we will see more Japanese video game companies will jump on the Switch.