Friday, January 13, 2017

Yep, Nintendo has just launched the Vita 2!

Well, that has a familiar look to it. The Nintendo Switch overnight news includes a third-party line up with FIFA and Rayman Legends. And, oh look, here come some gimmicky Nintendo games (ARMS, 1,2 Switch, Snipperclips), just like the Vita had. Add in a bunch of quirky Japanese games heading west in Puyo Puyo Tetris from Sega and Square's Project Setsuna (both Japanese Vita titles) and a new Shin Megami Tensei title to appeal to the otaku. More game news and posts on the Microconsoles Roundup blog.

Déjà vu anyone? Throw in some retro Sonic games, a return for Bomberman plus Nintendo's regular staples and its hard to be super, super excited. But clearly Switch will be home to lots of Japanese games that didn't quite make it west for Vita - looking at you Square Enix! With no sign of CoD or obvious sci-fi heavy hitters, at least the Switch contines to offer a wider, all-encompassing range of games.

The £279.99 ($299.99) Switch, plus more for extra controllers, natch, is a 720p HD mobile or 900p TV machine (for complex games like Zelda), presumably 1080p for simpler titles. Internals are unspecified, but it is powerful enough to run a custom Skyrim game. And, just like the Vita, it has one crippling pricing flaw, $80 for extra controllers, which will nix most of those cheery images of family gaming!

Looking at the game list, Switch actually has a far worse release line up than the Vita managed, although quite a few digital titles (Binding of Issac, Shovel Knight and others) will be added to the eShop by launch day, 3rd March, to bulk things out - but little new stuff.

It is also over-priced compared to the PS4/X1 competition, and big launch hitter Zelda will hit Wii U too, diluting the appeal. On the plus side, microSD storage support - showing Sony how it should be done! Then again, Nintendo's PSN-style subscription services sounds typically Nintendo-clueless!

Nintendo also risks a Sony-style backlash dragging developers up and promising games that aren't even in development yet like a Suda-51 No More Heroes project. Also there was no mention of Monster Hunter - at all! Has the Capcom bubble finally burst?

That said, after an inevitable autumn price cut, I'll be picking one up, when Mario Odyssey arrives, as I can see lots of smaller Japanese and indie developers considering it a natural successor to the Vita. If it sells enough it should be viable through 2018-2020, just enough time for Sony to fart out a proper Vita 2.

Quick and blatantly obvious predictions:

Major western publishers treat Switch exactly like they did the Vita.
Many promised games never show up if Switch sales are poor.
Japanese and western indie devs migrate Vita titles to Switch at a growing rate.
Switch has its best year in 2018, then fades fast.

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