It's that time again for another Shack Ten, our bi-weekly breakdown of the ten most somethings in video games. This week, fresh off the announcement of the Nintendo Switch, we dream of what could be. As always, we forced the Shacknews staff to listen to a very passionate gluten-free food enthusiast until they could agree on the ten most wanted features for the upcoming hardware. This week, though, we aren't ordering them, because all of these are tied for first place.
As always, we had a little help with suggestions from the Chatty, so check out their suggestions for these and many more ideas.
Nintendo launched the Virtual Console in 2006. It's added a number of golden oldies to its eShop over the last decade, from coin-op games and Sega Genesis to Nintendo 64 and DS games. The problem is that buying a classic title from one platform's eShop doesn't give you the option to play it on all the others—a feature Xbox and PlayStation platforms have been doing for years.
In the Switch, Nintendo has the opportunity to unify its eShops by collecting all your digital purchases under a single account. I should only have to buy Super Mario World once between my Wii U, New 3DS XL, and Switch, not once for each system I want to play it on.
Perhaps more than anything, the success or failure of the Nintendo Switch will rely on hitting a pricing sweet spot. As derelict515 put it, the system needs to either be powerful enough to serve as a primary console, or priced low enough to be a secondary one. The former seems unlikely–we don't know the power level yet but we're speculating that at best it will match the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One models–so that makes it vital to fulfill the latter goal. Ideally it would undercut the higher-priced consoles by $50 or so, putting it easily into impulse-buy territory for enthusiasts and striking a middle-ground for parents looking for the next 3DS to buy their kids.
Priced like a secondary gaming system or else powerful enough and compatible enough to be a primary one. -derelict515
No Nintendo fan worth his or her amiibo collection will turn down a new installment in the Super Mario Bros. or Legend of Zelda series, but Nintendo's got a Disney Vault's worth of other properties it could tap. Exhume long-buried franchises like F-Zero and Golden Sun, and put a new spin on familiar series like Mario Kart with outside-the-box options like Mario Kart Maker.
Honestly, just lots and lots of high quality games. -atom519
Remember it's the games that matter, not the hardware. -watcherxp
Robust Online and Friends Lists
Nintendo hasn't always had the best track record for seamless online functionality. Thankfully, the Switch marks a new beginning and an opportunity to amend their past mistakes. Things like a more centralized friend system across platforms, purchase transfers, and even social media and streaming integration could go a long way toward making the Switch a more well-rounded and connected console.
Simple Cross-Platform Development
I'll put Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and Pikmin 3 up against the biggest and best exclusives on PS4 and Xbox One. In terms of third-party support, though, Wii U came in dead last. There's a reason for that: third-parties like Ubisoft and Capcom didn't give the Wii U its due because the hardware was outdated long before it launched in 2012. The Switch's launch trailer teases games like NBA 2K17 and Skyrim Remastered, which gives me hope that Nintendo has simplified cross-platform development between the Switch and its peers.
The easier it is for developers to bring past and future titles to Switch, the more options players will have to choose from. More players will buy the Switch, which means third-party support will only get stronger as hardware adoption grows. Everybody wins.
Something simple to develop cross platform titles for, so more third party developers get on board. This means drop the odd controllers. -whippedcracker
Mobile Phone Connectivity
The Nintendo Switch is obviously meant to be taken with you and used while you're out and about, but if it wants to truly flourish it should have some way to connect with smartphones and other mobile devices. With games like Super Mario Run coming in the near future and Nintendo's push in the mobile gaming space, it would make sense to see this sort of interactivity between console and mobile phone.
Despite the fact that the Switch will be using cartridges, it would be a boon for users who previously sprung for the Wii U and Wii to be able to bring the games they already own to the system, or at the very least an analogue of the game in digital format. One of the reasons some consumers shy away from adopting a new console is the lack of games for it, plus the fact that their games aren't playable on the new equipment. It's probably a pipe dream, but it would make a lot of fans happy.
Remasters of some Wii U games. It has some of their best games ever, certainly the best first party games of this current gen, but way too many people missed out of them because they didn't buy a Wii U. -Serpico74
The Wii U's GamePad is an absolute treasure, but it has one of the most abysmal examples of battery life in the whole of video game consoles. You get to play for a few hours, but then the controller, which feels great in your hands and looks fantastic, by the way, dies a horrible death. You've got to sit tethered to a wall charger while finishing up Bayonetta 2. That's no fun. With the Switch meant for true on-the-go play, it's almost a guarantee that it will have better battery life, because, well, it has to.
Virtual Console Subscription
When the Virtual Console launched on Wii, it was a great idea. Like Apple and iTunes, it appeared Nintendo would give us a simple, low-cost option to buy older games instead of pirating them. Like music, we hoped the adage would prove true that the public would rather pay a nominal fee for a convenient option than get something for free in a more morally dubious way.
Since then, though, the Virtual Console hasn't really kept competitively priced, and it's become of minor concern to Nintendo. It could revitailize the service by following the PlayStation Now model and offering VC games as all-you-can-eat for a monthly fee, again similar to the current direction of the music market.
The brief Switch trailer showed a dizzying array of control options, from controllers docked to the screen to individual handheld controls to attached to the "Grip" accessory to flipping sideways for two-player control. That looks great, but how much do we have to drop to have all those options at our fingertips? If Nintendo wants the Switch to have all the get-up-and-go utility it needs to fulfill the concept, it needs to make sure the various controller parts and accompanying accessories are affordable and readily available.
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Ten: Nintendo Switch Wish List
I want one Nintender, please.