With its latest system, Nintendo wants to put both hardcore gamers and hip millennials under its spell. If you’re neither of those, you’re in luck, too
Nintendo’s new console, the Switch, promises to make gaming fun again.
THE AVERAGE GAMER IS NOW 35 YEARS OLD — a demographic with jammed schedules and short bursts of free time. It’s no coincidence mobile gaming revenues surpassed those of consoles for the first time last year. The generation that grew up with the Nintendo Entertainment System never stopped playing — we just got older, busier, and more impatient. Nintendo understands. After the firm’s lusterless Wiiu console failed to compete with the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, they hit paydirt last year with their first smartphone game: Super Mario Run, the fastest-selling IOS title ever. It was a hit with casual users, but left Nintendo’s veteran fanbase unfulfilled — they want full, epic experiences you just can’t have on an iphone. Hence, the Switch: console-quality gaming you can take on a five-hour flight.
Tuck the Switch’s tablet-like body into its dock, and the gameplay automatically jumps to your TV; remove it, and it flits back to the 720p touchscreen. Slide the two controllers onto its edges, and it’s ready for the road. Slide them off, and they can be used as Wii-like motion-sensing remotes. For the diehards, it’s got plenty of nostalgia-baiting, fan service-y titles (Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Xenoblade Chronicles 2). For the rest of us, it offers wacky party games (1,2 Switch), including one that lets you milk a virtual cow. (Really.) Graphics-wise, the Switch is weaker than the PS4 or Xbox One, but its games are infinitely more expansive than Candy Crush Saga.
So should you — a grown, adult man — buy one? Actually, yes.