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It's been just a little over two years since the Nintendo Switch launched back on March 3rd of 2017. Looking into the sales statistics to date, The Nintendo Switch has sold an astounding 32+ million units so far, and achieved the title of Best Selling Console of 2018's Thanksgiving weekend. So, why am I still a little upset with my purchase? Coming off the nostalgia that was the Nintendo 64, I've been mildly disappointed and uninterested in most of the consoles and the game lineup that Nintendo has released in the last decade or more. Needless to say, I wasn't totally shocked when I didn't fall completely head over heels in love with the Switch and what it has to offer shortly after my initial purchase; however, I was hoping it would have grasped my attention a little tighter than it has so far. Now, don't get me wrong here.. The Nintendo Switch IS NOT a "bad" console, especially now that it has had a chance to mature and grow over the last two years. With that being said, here is where I think it falls a little flat (for me): Cost: The Nintendo Switch IS NOT an affordable platform, in fact I feel like it is one of the most expensive options available right now outside of specialty platforms like the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X. At it's $399.99 Canadian price-point, it is currently more than both the PlayStation 4 ($379.99 off sale price brand new) and the Xbox One S (Also $379.99 off sale price), and does not include a free game like the before mentioned offerings. Other than the console, the controllers or "Joy-Cons" are also $99.99 for a set of two. Sure, you can play a select variety of games with the included pair of Joy-Cons that come with the console; however, there is a growing list of titles that either require a full set of controllers per player, or simply play better with a set vs using one Joy-Con each. Lastly, we have the games. We are constantly plagued with the "Nintendo Tax" across the entire platform. What is the "Nintendo Tax"? Well simply put, first party Nintendo games and accessories simply NEVER go on sale. Want Zelda Breath of the Wild? FULL PRICE. Mario Odyssey? FULL PRICE. Both of these titles, although good, are at this point very old titles when it comes to their release dates respectively. If you're into indie titles, be prepared to again pay that oh so sweet Nintendo Tax on those too as those titles tend to be unnecessarily more expensive on the Switch compared to PC and competing consoles. Outside of games, first party accessories like Joy-Cons, extra Switch Docks, Pro Controllers, and more are all exceedingly more expensive than offerings from competing console brands. Online experience: The Nintendo Switch now requires a subscription based service to play multiplayer games with friends and family online. Although it is the most inexpensive offering of all the consoles, it is also the most lacking in features and return on investment. Sure, you get to enjoy a couple of nostalgic NES originals for your $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year, but I need more than that. Both Sony and Microsoft offer 2 to 4 free titles PER MONTH, as well as offer an extensive back catalogue of high tier and quality titles from both first and third party developers. Their online experience is passable at best and typically results in a lag and/or delay filled experience on titles like Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and their online voice chat... It's non-existent. Nothing is worse than trying to play a Smash Bros tournament with friends and having all of our phones die one by one as we try to communicate over a third party service like Facebook Messenger or Discord. Performance: Now I have to admit, I am a snob when it comes to both image and sound quality. An immersive experience to me is one filled with 7.2 surround sound and amazing cutting edge visuals. These again are two things that are lacking on the Nintendo Switch. When it is off the dock, the Nintendo Switch offers a 720p experience with audio provided by its from facing stereo speakers. While docked, it can offer a maximum resolution of 1080p at 60fps; however, most titles never max that out (Zelda Breath of the Wild currently supports 900p at 30fps with frequent dips) with 5,1 surround sound (This honestly shocked me). There are a handful of services such as YouTube that will provide additional entertainment outside of gaming, but yet again we see a lot of popular services like Netflix missing from its current line-up. Game selection: Other than a handful of amazing titles like Mario Odyssey, Zelda Breath of the Wild, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate, there are not many titles that have really held my attention for a great deal of time... And trust me, I have spent a lot of money trying to find my next go-to game for the platform. Games like Mario Aces and Mario Kart are amazing to play with friends, but I could never sit for a great deal of time and play them on a continuous bases on my own as a constant source of entertainment. Thankfully we are seeing more indie titles and triple-A ports coming to the platform, but again we are also getting hit with the Nintendo Tax on games that are both aging in their release dates and simply play better on most other consoles at a fraction of the eShops asking prices. So, everything is sounded pretty negative to this point right? Well, ok... Maybe I have been a little hard on the console throughout this blog post. There are a couple of things the Nintendo Switch does exceptionally well that you simply cannot find anywhere else. Let's take a further look at a couple of these categories: Portability: No other console is currently doing what the Nintendo Switch is going when it comes to pick up and go playing. Some have tried by using either third party accessories or remote play; however, those all require a much larger investment that the base console itself and only work half as well as the Switches native pick up and go nature. Although flimsy, the built in kickstand is passable for vertical play, with handheld mode being a secondary option for mobile entertainment. Local Multiplayer: The Nintendo Switch does this SO MUCH better than any other console in recent years. Most titles offer a split screen or local play option for either 2 player fun or even larger group play. During a staff party, we had a Smash Bros tournament and I have to say that it was once of the most memorable local gaming experiences I have had since playing Golden Eye 64 in my younger years. Aside from same console fun, the Nintendo Switch also allows for remote connectivity between multiple consoles, meaning you can all play the same game on multiple screens while in the same room. Something that requires too much equipment to be a viable option on any other mainstream console. First party titles: Although they my not hold my attention for a long period of time, there really isn't anything better than some of the first party titles that the Nintendo Switch has to offer. Mario Kart, Mario Ace's (Tennis), Pokemon Let's Go, Zelda, and many more are exceptionally fun to play over the short term... I just wish they weren't so damn expensive! Do I regret my decision? No, not really. I have sunk ENDLESS hours into Zelda Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros Ultimate since I purchased my console in November of last year. My major issue is there is nothing to date that had captivated me to turn on my Nintendo Switch before my PC or PlayStation 4 Pro. I am a little shocked and upset that I've spent nearly $1,000 on the console, 2 full sets of Joy-Cons, over a dozen games, travel accessories, expandable memory options, and more... All to have my Nintendo Switch for the most part sit underneath my upper-livingroom TV collecting dust as I favour other consoles. I'm sure in the summer my Nintendo Switch will come into play more often, as we tend to travel frequently during our couple of months of nice Canadian weather. I am also looking forward to taking with me on my upcoming trip to Costa Rica to entertain me during the long flights and layovers at the airports. For me, I just don't think I am the key demographic of user for the platform; however, I can see the appeal for those who are on the go more often compared to myself. What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? Do you own one, and if you do, how do you like it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
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