I've been enamored with the Nintendo Switch since my dreams of a hyrbid console or a shared ecosystem began to align with leaks of its true nature leading up to its official reveal. Two years ago following Dragon Quest XI's announcement as the first Switch game, I wrote a blog about why I thought creating a hybrid console or a shared ecosystem made the most sense for Nintendo. Not only would it cut down on redundant releases, such as altered 3DS versions of Wii U games, but it would benefit Nintendo's less prominent franchises because Nintendo's console and handheld fans would be unified in one ecosystem. Following the big reveal event in January, I made sure to stay up late to secure early preorders for the Switch and Zelda. Today I wanted to talk about how I feel about the system since its been out for six months and what I want to see from the console going forward.

As I've said from the start, I love the core concept of the Switch. I thought there was a strong chance the Switch would be two devices, a handheld and a console that shared the same games, but a true hybrid console that just works is still incredible to me even after owning it for six months. The hardware itself is nice and sleek. It feels like a premium product and I love its versatility especially with its Joy-Cons that work well for Tablet mode and make it easy to start  two player multiplayer. When its power became evident, slightly more powerful than a Wii U, my expectations for what I wanted from Switch games solidified. I view the Switch as a successor to both 3DS and Wii U as well as the PlayStation Vita, though it currently comes up a bit lacking compared to any of them individually since the Switch's game library hasn't necessarily replaced any of those three consoles fully yet. While the Wii U is well and truly dead, the 3DS and Vita are both clinging to life for at least this holiday.

Beyond my launch game, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild which is currently my game of the year, I've acquired Puyo Puyo Tetris, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle for Switch. I've greatly enjoyed my small handful of games though only two of them, Splatoon 2 and Mario and Rabbids, are truly exclusive. The Switch already has a sizeable library of games well beyond what I have purchased, but a majority of them you can play elsewhere and more significantly did not launch day and date with those other versions. While portability is a strong incentive to double dip, it isn't something I do that often. If you haven't played them elsewhere, games like Shovel Knight, Minecraft, and Disgaea 5 are excellent additions to a Switch library, but they'd be redundant for me.

If I had to pick one area I'd most want to see improved on the Switch it is absolutely the games library. While the Switch had a fairly solid launch and launch window, the future of its library that we know about isn't quite as strong as I'd want it to be. No matter how successful Switch continues to be, I don't expect a significant amount of Western AAA support especially since the Switch largely lacks the power for today's most highly detailed opened worlds or the strong online suite necessary for shooters without a Switch version being highly tailored to the system. Bethesda's strong support with Skyrim, Doom, and Wolfenstein II is an intriguing outlier so far, but I wonder just how successful they will be and if support will continue beyond these games (I think Skyrim and Doom in particular each have high potential to do well). Since I'm on the subject, I do hope Nintendo's online features continue to improve. While the voice chat app has improved since its disastrous launch, it clearly remains an inconvenient alternative to traditional headsets and microphones.

Beyond Nintendo's first party games and indies (which I'll discuss later on) I think the biggest area Switch needs to develop is its Japanese support especially with mid-tier developers. While Japanese support has been fairly tepid so far with late ports like Disgaea 5, Fate/Extella, and the upcoming Switch versions of both Resident Evil Revelations and Revelations 2 we've recently seen a few encouraging announcements. Gust, a mostly PlayStation exclusive developer, is readying Switch versions of their upcoming games, Nights of Azure 2 and Atelier Liddy and Souer, day and date with their PS4, Vita, and PC versions. While obviously we won't know the quality of their Switch ports until they are released, if they compare favorably with the PS4 versions that would be ideal since RPGs especially benefit from portable play. While I still love my Vita and have nearly 100 games for it (including some digital PS1 and PSP games), it is obvious that it has been holding back mid-tier Japanese games. I want games to be as accessible as possible and not every game needs to be as ambitious as possible, but I'm looking forward to seeing how their designs evolve when they aren't chained to essentially a PlayStation 2.5. One game I'm very intrigued to see more of is Dragon Quest Builders II since it is ditching a Vita edition and will be exclusively on Switch and PS4. What more can that game be when it's least powerful system is capable of running a massive open world like Zelda Breath of the Wild?

Looking around, there are a handful of upcoming games that would do well to see Switch versions. One of my favorite developers, Arc System Works, has two fighters in development that would be perfect for Switch: Dragonball Fighter Z and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle. I've played a demo of Dragonball Fighter Z at Anime Expo this year and it plays as well as it looks; and it looks excellent. While Fighter Z is supremely flashy, I don't believe it would need to be toned down much if at all to run on the Switch and there is most certainly demand to play it on the go. As for BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, I do think it will inevitably have a Switch port as there is a BlazBlue game confirmed for Switch though it remains unclear if it will just be a port of Central Fiction.

While those two fighting games are at the top of my list there are many other games in development to look towards for potential ports. While I'm not always a big fan of license games, the upcoming Girls Und Panzer Dream Match and Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet both look very exciting and would each offer genres underrepresented on Switch so far. TGS will be interesting to watch this year for updates on these games and other anime games like them as it seems as great a time as any to announce Switch ports when the public can play hands on demos. Before I move on, one other Japanese developer I'd love to see start to make efforts on Switch is Falcom who are currently about to release Trails of Cold Steel III in Japan. I'd love to see ports of their most recent games like Ys VIII and the first two Trails of Cold Steel games and I'd hope if they are successful it would lead Falcom to put new projects on the Switch alongside their PS4 versions.

As for the rest of the Switch line up, first party and indie games are largely on track. Releasing one big first party game a month is a sound strategy because it always gives fans something to immediately look forward to which helps avoids the feeling of software droughts. As for indie games, the Nindies Showcase at PAX did a great job showcasing the range of indie content coming from big games like No More Heroes 3 and Super Meat Boy Forever to smaller games like Golf Story. Nintendo needs to keep courting indie devs and make sure high profile ones don't slip through the cracks. While Sony did a fairly good job attracting indies early in the PS4's life and for much of the Vita's, they have lately only been showcasing them at shows like PSX which gives Nintendo an opportunity. On a different note, I hope we start seeing more 3DS developers transition to Switch as well. It would be a shame if prominent DS franchises like Professor Layton, Ace Attorney, and Etrian Odyssey don't transition to Switch. Each franchise helped establish itself with the use of touch screens and the dual screen layout of the DS, but each can still work well on a portable console.

There are however some lacking fronts on Switch first party content. Virtual Console is sorely missed on the Switch as the Arcade Archive ports and impossible to find NES and SNES Classics do not even begin to cover the market for retro games. I'd also like to see Smash Bros and Mario Maker transition to Switch as they each built up strong communities on Wii U and it makes no sense to abandon either of them. Mario Maker is in a particularly dire state right now as it is about to be stripped of its Miiverse features in November which lets the community help comment and share levels. In general the Switch needs more long term prospects to look forward to beyond Metroid Prime 4, Pokemon, and Project Octopath Traveler and the next versions of Smash Bros and Mario Maker could help fill the void.

That more or less covers my main thoughts on the Nintendo Switch six months after launch. I love the hardware, especially its portability and how easily it supports two player games, but it desperately needs more games beyond its wealth of indie games and the strong first party suite it has been confidently building since launch. I'm hopeful that the Switch's early success is no fluke and that it continues to sell strong into the holidays and beyond so more support will arrive as soon as possible. I hope Nintendo continues to add more features to the Switch as well as it is currently very barebones beyond its gaming features. I think the Switch has a ton of untapped potential so I'm eager to see it evolve in the months and years ahead.

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Thanks for reading my latest blog! I hope you enjoyed it! If you have a Switch, how do you feel about it so far? What games have you enjoyed and what are you looking forward to? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below! I always enjoy reading and responding to your comments.