March 14, 2017 by Donna Kwon
Gamers have been patiently anticipating the release of Nintendo’s newest gaming console, the Nintendo Switch, and the wait is now over — the Switch was released March 3.
The Nintendo Switch, true to its name, is a gaming console that can be used both as a home console and as a portable console. In other words, there are three main ways to use the Switch. Firstly, it can be be used with a docking station for play on a television. Secondly, it can be used as a tablet-like console on a tabletop. Lastly, the Switch can be used as a handheld device. Players use two wireless controllers, called the Joy-Con controllers, which can either remain attached to the console or detach like a Wii Remote.
As the latest gaming console released by Nintendo, the Switch carried high hopes with it. Nintendo’s Wii, released in 2006, was one of the biggests successes in gaming console history. In contrast, the Wii U, released in 2012, was an unfortunate flop, with significantly fewer sales than had been expected. The Nintendo Switch is predicted to easily surpass the Wii U in terms of sales with an estimated 40 million sales by 2020, according to DFC Intelligence, a game industry research corporation.
So far, it’s looking up for Nintendo. Although it’s true we only have four days’ worth of data to go off of, it’s already clear that the Switch is Nintendo’s fastest-selling gaming console yet, at least in North America. With more sales during the opening weekend than the Wii, Nintendo Switch has definitely grabbed the attention of gamers everywhere. This is especially impressive considering the Wii was released right before the winter holidays while the Switch was released in March.
However, it may be difficult for Nintendo to keep up its sales. The release of the console has revealed some technical issues.
The Nintendo Switch, according to some users, loses sync very easily and often. It is such a common issue that there has already been a homemade fix created specifically for the Switch. YouTube user Spawn Wave created an antenna to help boost the Bluetooth signal. According to him, not only did the connection issues cease, but the Switch even increased its signaling range.
Another issue that gamers may face is a problem that has plagued gaming console users since the beginning of time — dead screen pixels. For those who haven’t yet experienced the agony of a console with dead pixels (a moment of silence for my raging jealousy), I’ll explain: a dead pixel is a defective pixel that appears as a dot that is stuck as a particular color. It can be incredibly irritating to have to play a game with one area of the screen never actually working. Like a bug you can never swat or an itch you can never quite scratch, a dead pixel can ruin a gaming experience.
Nintendo itself has stated that they do not consider dead pixels to be an actual defect that should cause concern. “Small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens,” Nintendo said on their support page for the Nintendo Switch.
While this may be true, it is also undeniable that these dead pixels can be very distracting for players. It remains to be seen whether players will be more or less likely to return a Nintendo Switch with these “normal” defective pixels.
Aside technical issues, the Nintendo Switch also has some other downsides. Players are unable to transfer saved games, vinyl skins can cause damage to the Switch casing, and there are only twenty one playable games for the Switch so far.
Despite all of this, the Switch’s great launch weekend provides a good indication that people are interested in Nintendo’s newest product. And where there’s a demand, there will inevitably be a supply. If Nintendo knows what’s good for them (and I’m sure they do), then they’ll invest resources into closing up the gaps in their gaming console. Gaming fans can look forward to new releases for the Switch on a weekly basis, which will erase at least one of the Switch’s current weaknesses, and hopefully the technical issues will follow suit.