Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 13, 2017

More and more the Switch seems aimed at Former Gamers

There are some scary things about the Switch.

-The Online Payment Service is scary.

-The $300 price tag is scary as is the $70 pro controller and $90 Joy-Cons. If you buy a Switch, you will want to play a game, yes? So the actual beginning price of Switch is $360, not $300. Expensive up front costs!

There are some really cool things about Switch that I think are awesome.

-Cool hybrid design

-Carts!!!!!

The price tags are nasty, but I don’t see losing one’s shit over a $10 price difference. Ultimately, it is about the games.

If you were a Wii U owner, I don’t think there is any scenario how the Switch can be appealing. At least you don’t have to buy a Switch to play Zelda.

I’m finding the software to be strongly compelling. First few months and I get Zelda, Bomberman, and Mario Kart 8 (with all DLC) all on carts? The RPG ports I find interesting. The JRPG ones seem to be ones from the SNES era which is right up my alley. I have Skyrim too on PC, but I wouldn’t mind having a portable Skyrim on a cart. The F-zero looking game of Reddout seems interesting. Where I’m coming from, the software is compelling.

But people are in different markets. If you were a non-gamer, none of this stuff looks interesting except maybe 2-1-Switch. If you are a hardcore gamer, you also don’t have much to like.

The Wii U was designed for the hardcore gamer. And it was a miserable failure.

I am not convinced that Nintendo has forgone going towards the non-gamer market yet. Those joycons are expensive and seem packed with stuff. Nintendo may do a more concerted effort on such non-gamer expansion later in the Switch lifecycle.

I think Nintendo is SPECIFICALLY targeting former gamers such as myself. Here are indications:

-Online service gives 8-bit and 16-bit retro games you can play online. WHO IS THIS FOR? Not non-gamers. Not hardcore gamers. Only FORMER GAMERS care about those 8-bit and 16-bit games.

-Zelda: Breath of the Wild is designed to be a celebration of Zelda 1’s open world. It is geared for those 8-bit gamers as well as those that love Skyrim. And hell, Skyrim is coming to the console as well.

-Super Bomberman R is an EXCLUSIVE game to the Switch. Nintendo pushed Konami to make this. It seems to be a remake of Super Bomberman from the SNES complete with the bad Bomberman henchmen (and henchwoman). Who would Super Bomberman appeal to? To the former gamers.

-Is it a coincidence that the Nintendo console, which never has any RPGs, suddenly has half a dozen in the launch window with many of them being JRPG throwbacks of the 16-bit era? This would only appeal to former gamers who love their Chrono Trigger.

-Street Fighter 2 makes an appearance on Switch. Coincidence?

Nintendo has been stuck in a hard place. If Nintendo appealed to hardcore gamers, they enter the red ocean with Microsoft and Sony. If Nintendo appeals to the non-gamers, they alienate third party developers. What if there was a third way? What if Nintendo began appealing to former gamers. After all, there are more former Nintendo gamers than current Nintendo gamers… especially in the age of 3DS and Wii U.

Former gamers have significant money since they are older and are not playing much in gaming (no one makes games for them anymore!). What if Switch is being aimed at them to establish a foothold before going for the other markets?

There also raises the question of value. We haven’t used the Switch. Will our perception of value change once we use it? The Wii was actually underpriced as it was sold out in the US for three years. People were paying $600 to get their hands on the Wii at Christmas time.

When I see the image of the above, suddenly the value of the Switch becomes more clear. The Joycons would fit very well with that game.

Local multiplayer has always been Nintendo’s strongest value. But the problem with home consoles is that you need a TV to surround yourself around. The problem with handhelds is that everyone needs a handheld. The Switch eliminates those issues as the Switch doesn’t need a TV and can be played multiplayer with just one device. With that picture above, if I had a Switch in my office, I wouldn’t get any work done. Anyone who walked in would be playing Bomberman with me. The arcade like multiplayer, very quick games, that can be started in a snap is extremely compelling.

No one imagined how the Wii could create house parties until it actually did. The Switch’s unique value could be in transforming our lunches as it would be easy to get games going.

“Why are you defending Nintendo?” I am not. I am responding as a consumer and considering Nintendo’s direction in all this.

We may not understand the Switch’s full value yet. Playing is believing. The Switch could be the Local Multiplayer Console Champion of All Time.

The Wii felt like a NES. The Wii-mote was a NES type controller.

The Wii U felt like Gamecube’s connectivity tied together.

So far, the Switch seems to be treading into SNES territory. Think about it. The compelling experiences you had on the SNES are already present on the Switch. (JRPGs, Street Fighter 2, Super Bomberman, Mario Kart, open world Zelda, etc.) This is going to be an interesting console that will defy the hardcore/casual dichotomy.

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