Nintendo Switch Review – 2 Years On

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch recently celebrated its second birthday on March 3rd, 2019. In just two years, the console has achieved a lot, surpassing its competitors, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in terms of popularity, innovation, and accessibility. Let’s take a closer look at the Nintendo Switch’s journey.

The Beginning

The Nintendo Switch was released worldwide on March 3rd, 2017, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a launch title. The console flew off shelves. If you hadn’t pre-ordered the Nintendo Switch before its release date, it was unlikely you’d find a store that hadn’t already sold all their stock. This led to places like eBay being the main provider for those who wanted the Switch, with people selling their pre-order receipts at certain stores, as well as the console itself (with the price inflated due to high demand, of course!). In around two weeks, the Nintendo Switch managed to sell 1.5 million units, and this was mainly from its first week.

The Beginning

The Nintendo Switch became the fastest selling console in US history. The previous record holder had been the Wii. The Wii was every kid’s most desired birthday or Christmas present back in 2009. The majority of Christmas mornings in 2009 were spent hooking up the new Wii and getting stuck into a game of virtual tennis and golf with Wii Sports, which came free with the console. The Switch seemed to follow its predecessor in popularity.

However, the Switch wasn’t only highly wanted by kids, but just about everyone else. The Switch was hyped up tremendously when it was announced, and even more so when it was released. This brought in a whole new wave of fans and sales, not limited to game lovers. As of April 2019, the Nintendo Switch has sold 34.47 million units. A staggering 187.52 million (March 2019) games have been sold.

Let’s Get Technical

Now for the technical side of the Nintendo Switch! Taken from the official Nintendo website, these are the specs for the console.

Size
4 inches high, 9.4 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep (when Joy-Cons are attached)
Weight 0.66 pounds (or 0.88 pounds with Joy-Cons)
Screen Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 6.2-inch LCD Screen / 1280×720
CPU/GPU NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Storage 32 GB of internal storage (some of this is needed for the system, such as updates), but can be expanded with microSDHC or micro SDXC cards of up to 2TB
Wireless Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)

Bluetooth 4.1

Video output Up to 1080p via HDMI in TV mode

Up to 720p via built-in screen in tabletop mode and handheld mode

Audio output Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output Output via HDMI connector in TV mode
Speakers Stereo
Buttons Power button / Volume button
MicroSD card slot Compatible with microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC memory cards
Sensor Accelerometer, gyroscope, and brightness sensor
Game card slot Nintendo Switch game cards
Headphone/mic jack 3.5mm audio jack
Operating environment 41-95 degrees F / 20-80% humidity
Internal battery 2.5 – 6.5 hours (depending on which games you play)
Charging time 3 hours (when the console is in sleep mode)

 

The Highlights of The Switch

A few of the most interesting and best features of the Switch.

A Switch For All

Nintendo has always been known as the “family-friendly console”. With charming and colourful faces like Mario, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong behind the company, it would be difficult to find anyone who doesn’t know these characters. The Switch is no different in terms of how accessible it is to people of all ages. Characters like Mario and Yoshi are beloved by both younger and older audiences. Games like Yoshi’s Crafted World, Mario Odyssey, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are child-friendly and arguably targeted at younger audiences, but that doesn’t mean anyone else can’t enjoy them. These titles may look vibrant, charming, and have a childlike quality about them, but that doesn’t mean they are easy or just for kids. On the contrary, Nintendo titles can be extremely challenging in gameplay.

A Switch For All

Although you won’t find bloody violence, gore, swear words, or explicit sex scenes in Nintendo games, you will find strangely difficult or frustrating gameplay that makes you wonder how kids, or even anyone, are able to finish them. These sweet aesthetics are deviously disguised under challenging and hard gameplay, which means anyone can have fun a Nintendo game. It’s great hat Nintendo is capable of making content that is universally loved by all types of people, no matter their age. The Switch could be seen as the “baby” console by some, but it’s really not. It’s just user friendly.

Exclusivity Done Right

In addition to being family-friendly, the Switch also has a lot of exclusive titles that you won’t find on other consoles. Timed exclusivity is a popular trend these days, in which a game is only available on a console for a certain amount of time. After that period is up, the game becomes available to other consoles. For example, the MMORPG Black Desert Online is a timed exclusive on the Xbox One, but the game will eventually branch out to the PlayStation 4. Nintendo games are only available on Nintendo and it’s likely to stay that way. Titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and Mario Odyssey are exclusive to the Switch and you probably won’t see them on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in the future.

Exclusivity Done Right

This makes the Switch stand out from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The Switch can’t be placed in a different version the “PlayStation 4 versus Xbox One” debate as it’s wholly different from those two consoles. People don’t often have both a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One, but they do tend to have a Nintendo Switch in addition to a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. This might be due to the huge number of games that are only available on the Switch. There are more titles exclusive to the Switch than exclusives on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Two Controllers For The Price Of One

One of the most interesting features of The Nintendo Switch is it comes with two Joy-Cons that makes it an instant two-player machine. A lot of Switch games are party orientated and can be played with two players or more, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Party 9, and Yoshi’s Crafted World. Controllers are expensive on any console, with prices usually coming close to the cost of a brand new game. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One do not come with two controllers, but there also isn’t a whole lot of couch co-op titles on these systems. Although Joy-Cons are tiny, it is nice that the Switch comes with two of them. This allows users to play games with a friend without having to hand over money for a second controller.

Two Controllers For The Price Of One

More Pros

Some other great features of the Nintendo Switch include:

  • Portability.

Although the Wii U and PS Vita were also portable, the Switch improves hugely on this feature. The Wii U gamepad and PS Vita could not be taken outside of the house as they needed to be close to their respective consoles. The Switch, in contrast, is the perfect accompaniment for train rides and break times at work. The dock for the Switch is only needed to charge the console and for TV mode. The Switch’s hardware is all inside the screen, making it the perfect portable system.

  • Tough and well-built.

The Switch is a hardy and durable console that’s difficult to break or scratch. Due to its portability, it’s inevitable the console will be dropped a lot, so it’s great it was built with clumsiness in mind.

Limitations

Despite the large number of highpoints of the Switch, the console also has its drawbacks. The Switch is not as powerful as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. This is clear when you play games like Fortnite, LA. Noire, and Stardew Valley. The framerates are reduced and the graphics have been adjusted to better match the Switch’s capabilities.

Due to its portability, the Switch has a poor battery life at just 2.5-6.5 hours (usually the lower end if you’re playing a game like Breath of the Wild). This is not very long, especially considering the console takes around three hours to charge to full. It also means you have to keep the Switch docked all the time when it’s not in use as you run the risk of it dying on you.

Limitations

The Switch also offers no app support. You are unable to access apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or even an internet browser, meaning the console cannot be used for anything other than games. This is a strange feature to not include on the Switch as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 allow audiences to download and use apps and the internet.

Additionally, the Switch also has poor online connectivity and the console does not support voice chat. This means that if you want to play online with friends and chat the night away, then you will have to download the Nintendo Switch app to do so, or apps like Discord.

The Best-Selling Games on The Nintendo Switch

Here are five of the most popular and best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch.

  1. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Evee!

Units sold: 10.63 million

Pokémon

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Units sold: 12.77 million

The Legend of Zelda

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Units sold: 13.81 million

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  1. Super Mario Odyssey

Units sold: 14.44 million

Super Mario Odyssey

  1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Units sold: 16.69 million

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Final Thoughts

The Nintendo Switch has achieved a huge amount in the two years it has been around. Nintendo had been a bit stale and stagnant before the Switch, notably with the Wii U, which sold only 13.45 units (March 2017) in its short five-year lifespan. This may have been due to the poor reasoning behind the console’s name, as people could have mistaken the Wii U to be a more enhanced version of the Wii instead of a standalone console. However, Nintendo have more than made up for this slight slip with the Nintendo Switch and are back on everyone’s radar.

The Switch is a fantastic console that’s enjoyed by fans of all ages. It may very well take the Wii’s place as the most popular console in the future. Based on how well the console is doing and its popularity, it’s clear there are even more great things to expect from the Switch. Nintendo are clearly not making the same mistakes they did with the Wii U by constantly bringing new innovative and exiting ideas to the Switch (and the games industry overall). The competition used to be solely between PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, but now there’s a new kid on the block who could very well take all the winnings.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the UK and is a huge fan of Night in the Woods, Life is Strange and the Witcher series. If she’s not playing one of those games on a loop, she’s watching The Simpsons, at the pub, or coaxing her dogs to play Overwatch with her.
Charlotte Silcock
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