It's been a long time since the gaming world has seen a formidable console war. For this generation, Nintendo's now-halted home console, the Wii U, while boasting an exemplary array of titles, was clearly no match for heavyweights Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.
The Switch Could Start The Next True Console War
The lukewarm competitive atmosphere may soon change when the Switch, Nintendo's forthcoming home and handheld console, arrives in March. If the company plays its cards right, it could very well trigger a thirst for hybrid consoles.
Revealed late October, the Switch looks to be essentially what the Wii U wasn't and should have been: a true, take-it-and-go-anywhere console that "switches" seamlessly between docked and undocked gaming modes. The Wii U managed to introduce this very idea, but the console's GamePad seems to be lackluster now that people can compare it with the Switch.
Rumors gird the Switch at present, some more legitimate than others. Recent FCC filings have revealed essential metrics such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a non-removable battery, and other trivial information. But so far, only speculation has tried to verse the console's power.
Can Nintendo bring back its verve in the home console field? That remains to be seen. Nintendo has never been one to trumpet itself as a console maker in the way that it competes with its contemporaries. It's great with spewing out excellent first-party titles, which is chiefly the reason why its cohorts buy into its systems, and the gimmick that goes hand-in-hand with those systems. For the DS, it was dual screens; for the Wii, it was motion control; for the 3DS, it was glasses-free 3D gaming.
Nintendo has nearly always belonged in the periphery, as Sony and Microsoft — regarded as the "adults" — continuously released "true" games for "true" gamers. It's a hotly contested detriment, and Nintendo's staunch loyalists will surely treat such an analogy with generous revulsion. But with the Switch, that detriment could transform into a merit; things could change for Nintendo.
The Switch could aid Nintendo in surpassing the need to belong to this group of "adults," thereby creating a new audience for itself altogether. In fact, this is what Nintendo is best known for: always the one to introduce a new way to play.
Microsoft's Project Scorpio
At the same time, Microsoft is also gearing up for Project Scorpio, the true Xbox One successor. The company is placing all bets on this forthcoming machine, even going as far as issuing it a glowing regard, calling it "the most powerful console ever made."
Power, as it stands, contributes largely to the sell value of a console, an aspect Nintendo has had very little to boast about in the past. But that was fine. Its true trump card was its games anyway, and these are games that people not just love, but actively worship. Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Metroid, Star Fox, Pikmin, and so on. Surely, more than one of these rings a bell.
Microsoft has hinted very little about Project Scorpio, but people can safely assume that it's going to be a powerhouse in terms of graphics. But the mention of graphics, a word heavily thrown here and there this past year, has caused a lot of fatigue, according to Forbes, citing the 4K-capable PS4 Pro's lukewarm reception as evidence. Just how far can the graphics department be pushed to?
If the gaming community at present still opts to pour out utmost sympathy for graphical sheen, then the Switch, which is already the recipient of pessimism because of leaked performance metrics, is poised to lose this forthcoming console war.
There's still a huge curtain of enigma covering Project Scorpio. There are some speculated features such as a 4K Blu-ray drive, possible VR support, and Xbox One backward compatibility, but not much else. In terms of power, Microsoft promises that Project Scorpio will offer true 4K gaming, 6 teraflops of power, 320 GBps memory bandwidth, and eight CPU cores.
Trying to determine which console you should buy is a bit of a tall order, given the measly amount of information available. Both consoles offer something the other can't — portable gaming for the Switch, and insane graphical performance for Project Scorpio. The Switch's portability gimmick signals a very attractive selling point, but only if third-party developers flock to the Switch and develop games for it, too. If it's once again left with first-party titles, then it's hard to see strong success for it down the line.
Which one do you want to get? Tell us in the comments!