The trailer for the Nintendo Switch dropped this morning, and while there are certainly unannounced features still to come, a few details were conspicuous by their absence. The Switch could be the first Nintendo hardware in 12 years to launch without dual screen functions, a touch screen, or motion control. While the Handheld, Console hybrid looks like a slimmed down gamepad, touch and dual screen features do not appear in the clip. Neither do motion or gyroscopic controls. While it’s possible Nintendo is choosing simply to downplay the features, excluding them completely is out of character for the company which likes to emphasise the interrelation of its hardware functions.
Take a look at my breakdown of the Switch trailer here:
The company first shook up their hardware with the DS in 2004. It launched with two screens in a clamshell design, and a touch screen operated by stylus. Since then, they continue to be experimental. The Wii kicked off the motion control boom, and the 3DS added some basic gyroscopic motion control’s to the DS’s features. Their last home console release, the WiiU, combined those elements into a twin screen, touch and motion control gamepad. It hasn’t been a success, and critics have grown louder in their calls for Nintendo to return to plain and simple hardware.
The Switch isn’t quite that. It has some new neat tricks of its own, however the approach is more conservative than Nintendo has been in years. While the console features detachable controllers and a unit that can connect to a TV via hub or be carried around like a handheld, the emphasis is very clearly on traditional controls and buttons when it comes to playing the games. Nintendo is possibly hoping to capture that “what you always wanted but never realised” feeling that made the DS and Wii such successes.
The removal of these features suggests disappointing news on the horizon for anyone hoping for backwards compatibility with WiiU or 3DS games, but overall Nintendo’s appears confident. Only time will tell if they can pull it off.