The Wii was a runaway hit for Nintendo. A deserved one too, considering the company hadn’t “won” a console war since the Super Nintendo beat the Sega Genesis back in the fourth generation of video game systems. Sony creamed the competition in the fifth and sixth generations, which made victory even sweeter when the Wii did win. Now, with the Nintendo Switch, we could see a scenario where Nintendo is yet again coming from behind for the win.
The Switch and Wii have a lot in common. Both consoles are relying on a gimmick. With the Wii, it was motion controls. No other system got people up and moving before. It offered revolutionary input options. The Switch is all about mobility. It’s allowing us to cut cords and take console-quality games with us where ever we go, while still allowing us to savor them on the big screens in our home. In each case, we’re seeing a sort of technology that could cause innovations within the industry.
It’s all about the freedom the Switch will provide. Yes, it does the typical console thing where you can enjoy all the games you love on the big screen. But, the portability is the critical factor. Being able to play games on your own with a tablet is a big deal. Especially since these are actual AAA games, not those mobile ones that “claim” to be as good as their console counterparts. Even bigger is the opportunity to set the Switch up so more than one person can play away from a TV. Being able to easily remove controllers, pass one to the person next to you, and begin playing locally is huge, as is local LAN play options for games like Splatoon 2. It’s something that has never been done before.
Remember the effect the Wii had on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360? Once Sony and Microsoft saw how well motion controls worked, they began working on their own versions for their devices. The PlayStation 3 ended up getting the PlayStation Move, while the Xbox 360 ended up with the Kinect. While neither really struck gold, the fact that they worked so hard to emulate and build on Nintendo’s success shows how important the concepts were. Especially since the PlayStation Move has springboarded into the VR realm, becoming part of the PlayStation VR control scheme.
The Switch could do the same. This might be the system that really forces every other manufacturer to get in on mobile play. Sony has toyed with it. The PlayStation 4 supports Remote Play with the Vita for some games. But then, it is only for some games and the Vita is no substitute for everything the PlayStation 4 has to offer. Microsoft has Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 and other mobile devices, but it isn’t as comprehensive as it could or should be. Nintendo making this jump could force the other companies’ hands.
The Switch is a system with potential. We’d all like to see it succeed. Especially since this is a console that could revolutionize the industry. Much like the Wii inspired the PlayStation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect, Nintendo’s actions could force Sony and Microsoft to step up Remote Play and streaming support. This can only benefit the rest of us, since it means we’ll have more options when it comes for ways to play our favorite games.