10 Predictions For Nintendo Switch
After a tight-lipped reveal in October of last year, Nintendo has remained quiet on its upcoming platform, the Switch. Shortly after releasing a three-and-a-half-minute trailer that showed off several features and teased a few more, Nintendo announced that more would be revealed - including the price tag and release date - in mid-January 2016.
That time is now upon us, so as Nintendo gears up to tell us more about its system it is supposedly launching in two months, we look at what we anticipate will be announced. Check out our predictions for the Nintendo Switch and let us know your predictions in the comments below.
Release Date Stays In March
This might be the closest to a surefire prediction on this list, but with so little time between the full reveal of the console and the supposed release to market, some have speculated that the platform would be delayed until later in the year. However, Nintendo cannot afford to let this happen. The Wii U is already all but dead in the water, and the 3DS release schedule has slowed significantly from its glory days. Expect for Nintendo to double down on the March release when the reveal event rolls around this week.
Price Tag at $300 or Lower
The past few generations, Nintendo's consoles have been the cheaper option. While the Switch has innovative mobile capabilities, we don't anticipate the price tag will eclipse that of Sony and Microsoft's consoles. In fact, if we had to guess, we'd put the price tag at somewhere around $250 to entice some of the players who have skipped the past couple of Nintendo consoles. After the underwhelming Wii U console cycle, it would be unwise for Nintendo to try to mount its comeback as the pricier option.
Zelda is a Launch Title
It's been a long road to release for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but we predict that long road comes to an end alongside the release of the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo needs a heavy hitter for its Switch launch lineup, and Breath of the Wild is not only one of the biggest titles Nintendo has released in years, but also the game we've seen the most of running on the Switch. Add into the mix the fact that Breath of the Wild was delayed in part to release simultaneously on Switch and Wii U, and it would be strange if it didn't see the Switch to launch.
3D Mario Game Announced For Later Release
During the reveal trailer in October, we caught a quick glimpse of a new 3D Mario adventure before the woman in the scene was coerced to joining her friends on a rooftop party (which she also brought the Switch to). We bet we'll learn more about the Mario game featured in that video, but it would be a big surprise if it launches with the Switch. If Zelda: Breath of the Wild ends up anchoring the Switch launch lineup, we expect Nintendo to space out its other big first-party launches over subsequent months.
Specs That Underwhelm
Nintendo has never been one to tout its tech specs, and with good reason. For many generations, its hardware has been underpowered when compared to its direct competition. However, that has mattered very little to fans as long as the software has been there. Though the Switch is scheduled to hit store shelves more than three years after the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it would be a surprise if it outperforms either of those two machines from a technical standpoint (particularly with the more powerful Pro model of the PS4, and the upcoming Scorpio from Xbox One).
Beyond Good & Evil 2 Foregoes Exclusivity
Rumors have been swirling that Ubisoft's Beyond Good & Evil 2 is finally having its coming out party exclusively on Nintendo Switch, but we are betting that doesn't happen. A title like that would likely want to capture as much of an audience as possible to be sustainable, and risking it on a platform that hasn't demonstrated it has a big player base isn't likely. If Beyond Good & Evil 2 does get announced at the reveal event, expect it to be a timed exclusive on Switch at most. To double down on that, it's entirely likely that we won't see Beyond Good & Evil 2 released any time soon.
Wii U and 3DS Games of the Past Make The Leap
Regardless of if you played them or not, a lot of strong games called the Wii U home over the past three years. Unfortunately, the sales of that system demonstrate that many people missed out on those games, meaning that Switch is another chance for players to get a crack at them. While rumors have us believing that the most likely titles to make the leap are Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon (it was even featured in the reveal trailer in October), it would be great to see games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Mario 3D World make the jump as well. It's also an opportunity to give fans something they've been clamoring for over the past 20 years: a console Pokémon game. If rumors are to be believed, Nintendo might be doing just that by bringing an enhanced edition of Pokémon Sun & Moon over to the Switch. But why stop there with the 3DS games? Nintendo should bring other big games like Monster Hunter Generations, Fire Emblem Fates, and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to Switch as well. Personally, I'd love to have the remastered "3D" versions of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask pop up on Switch as well, but that might be a bit more of a pipe dream.
Virtual Console Lets Players Bring Forward Purchases
The Wii U and 3DS ushered in a new age for Nintendo's popular Virtual Console and the rest of its eShop capabilities, thanks to the advent of the Nintendo Network ID. The ID unifies your purchases across multiple platforms, much in the way that Sony and Microsoft had done for years prior. Though players could transfer their purchases forward from Wii to Wii U through a separate menu, players needed to re-purchase the Virtual Console games they owned (albeit at a discounted price) in order to play them outside of the built-in Wii emulator. With a few years and a presumably deeper understanding of how its Nintendo Network ID works, it would be a great move for Nintendo to allow players to not only bring their prior purchases forward to the Switch, but to play them natively on the Switch for no additional fee.
Nintendo Brings a Dormant Series Back
While we aren't exactly holding our breaths for a new 2D Metroid game, it's entirely likely that Nintendo uses the launch of a new platform to thrust an underutilized series back into the spotlight. We saw that with Kid Icarus and Pilotwings on 3DS, as well as Pikmin to an extent on the Wii U. The Switch might herald an announcement of a new game from a dormant franchise that still holds a spot in the hearts of Nintendo fans. A series like F-Zero would be perfect given Captain Falcon's enduring popularity thanks to the Smash Bros. series, but we'd be just fine if it ends up being something like Advance Wars. Whatever title is announced might not make it in the launch lineup, but it would be nice to see one of these long-dormant franchises get a refreshed take.
StreetPass Makes the Leap to Consoles
Throughout the lifecycle of the 3DS, Nintendo has continued to expand on its popular StreetPass functionality. As recently as 2016, Nintendo was releasing major updates to the service, including increasing the capacity of Miis that could queue up in your StreetPass Plaza. With continued bolstering, it could stand to reason that the Switch, with its mobile capabilities, might incorporate some form of StreetPass. Since one of the major selling points is the ability to carry the system with you, it isn't too outlandish to imagine the system integrating the StreetPass minigames, or even functionality within certain games. As an added bonus, Nintendo could even make it so the Switch can communicate with 3DS to increase the number of StreetPasses players can pick up on a given trip.
Be sure to return for more features on the Nintendo Switch in advance of Thursday's event, as well as extensive coverage of everything Nintendo shows off.