Nintendo Switch Concerns and Enthusiasm

We are one week away from the Switch and the coverage is being unleashed into the public. I am fortunate enough to have gotten several hands-on with the Switch. I am super excited for the release of the Switch but I still have some concerns that still haven’t been addressed and we are just one week away.

Concerns

Third Party Games

The lack of games at launch is not a good sign. I understand wanting to make Zelda the must have game at launch but Nintendo needs to get third parties on board. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, they have gone a whole generation with lackluster third party support and have to prove to those developers that the Switch is a console worth investing the resources in.

Nintendo has always taken their time to release games because they care about creating high-quality games which to their credit they deliver on. I have no doubt this will continue but Nintendo can’t be the only ones making successful games on the console and will need other games to fill in the gap between those big Nintendo releases.  

Though let’s be clear Nintendo shouldn’t be chasing after all 3rd party games that are on other consoles like Call of Duty or Destiny. They need to be going after games that take advantage of the hardware of the Switch, games that are great on the go and with friends next to you.

Online Functionality

Nintendo has never had a history of showing gamers that they understand how to do online ever. The fact there are still so many questions about what the online services will be able to do does not have me encouraged. Many basic things that we expect from playing online Nintendo hasn’t able to implement even during the Wii U.

I understand that Nintendo wants to be careful with online since they do have a segment of their audience that is extremely young. They want to be a family friendly console and that's totally fine but there are a better ways of doing it. Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app was an absolutely ingenious and perfect example of a unique Nintendo solution. 

Granted much of the concerns are over issues that Nintendo is probably working on right now. It just seems that the system is being released before it is ready. Consoles get released before all the features are done all the time but many of the online features we are expecting from the Switch were done on other consoles two generations ago. 

Enthusiasm

With all that said I want to end on a more optimistic thought. Honestly, I am totally excited for the release of the Switch as someone that grew up with NES and SNES. Even if the business side of me is worried for Nintendo, I know all the fanboys like me will be getting a Switch just so we can play our favorite games. With that let’s talk a little about why the Switch at launch will be amazing.

First Party Games

While the current lack of third party games might worry some most of us are getting the Switch to play Nintendo games and we already start the gate with Zelda. I have played Zelda for a bit already and know everyone that loved Zelda will love this game too without a doubt.

I am not holding Nintendo on their word that their games will be released when they say it will because delays are all too common with all developers. No problem though since Nintendo is known for their high polished games and they should take as much time as they need. Just look at how many of their older games are still great today.  

Mario looks amazing too and will no doubt meet if not exceed expectations. Nintendo has always had an amazing line-up of first party titles and nothing gives me a reason to suspect otherwise given their spectacular track record.  Nintendo has rightfully earned their reputation to deliver on exclusive first party games.

Power

The power of the Nintendo Switch is powerful enough to play all the games we would want out of Nintendo. They have never been known for having the most powerful console and the Switch isn’t going to change that. As long as games with great design can look beautiful like Zelda Breath of the Wild then it is as powerful as it needs to be.

While the details of the specs aren’t fully known what we do know is that Skyrim is being developed to function on the Switch. That means that any game that should be on the Switch can be on the Switch. The question is will developers spend the resources to make a proper port to the system is to 

There will be many developers that will be waiting to see if the system is worth the investment but many will love to develop for the Switch because of its unique feature that no other gaming platform has. Many games out there would be great to play on the go and at home with friends.  

Portability

The ability to play the games as you normally would at home and on the go is going to be the defining feature of this system. So many games are great both at home and on the go. The Switch was designed from the ground up so those games that have a place wherever you are. 

It's not just gaming anywhere but gaming anywhere with friends as to why this system will be an amazing. So many times we want to show our friends an amazing local multiplayer game but can’t because transporting a console and especially a PC is such a pain in the ass. With the Switch, so many games that we love to share the fun with friends will be possible all the time. 

Switching from Handheld Mode to TV Mode is extremely intuitive and simple. Nintendo has again brought simplicity to a relatively new concept for games. This dock itself is a simple design that encourages one to switch between the different modes. One can only hope that great game franchise from other handheld systems makes it to the Switch.    

Final Thought

I am excited about the Switch but also really want my concerns with the system to be addressed for all fans like me. Nintendo has produced some of the best game franchises the world has ever known and they deserve to be on gaming platforms that are worthy of them.   

E3 Open to the Public

E3 will be open to the public this year so they can adapt to thrive in a changing reality. The industry has changed and a need for what E3 used to be when it first started has changed with it.  There are many legitimate concerns about opening E3 to the public and if this is the right direction for the ESA.

My first E3 was in 2015 so I am not bothered by the public joining. I will still be able to meet with who I need to see. Lines to some of the games that I want to play for my personal enjoyment will be much longer but they were already bad. I could tell a lot of non-industry folks were getting into E3 anyways.

Professional veterans in the industry will continue to have to make appointments and meet in private secluded areas. I can’t imagine much business is done in the public areas these days. Most people have most of their week already planned out with who they have to meet so I can’t imagine it changing too much for them even with more of the public in attendance.

My biggest concern I have is for all the people that have to work the show floor. The show floor is the one area that is going to be most impacted by this decision. For anyone that has to work E3 organizing all the small moving pieces will no doubt be even more stressed out when you have to account for all those extra people.

Influencers and media that are still growing will probably be hurt too since the limited business that could be done will be even more difficult. Especially if they need to get time with the publishers and developers that have smaller booths since they themselves could never fit many appointments. Going into E3 not knowing anyone in the industry beforehand will be an unproductive time.  

The value of bringing passionate fans shouldn’t be dismissed. There is a reason why so many video games companies find events such as PAX and Gamescom a rewarding investment. While I am not saying E3 should become more public like them I do see merit in bringing in more of the public to E3.

I don’t know what E3 needs to do to adapt to this changing industry. So many publishers have so many different reasons for choosing not to attend. The ESA will be going through some growing pains as they figure out what they need to do but as long as gamers continue to be excited about all the announcements during E3 and those working it can spread that excitement then everything will be fine.

What I do know is that I love going to E3 and I want everyone that has something to amazing to show to be rewarded for their efforts.  Whatever E3 has to do to make it a valuable experience for everyone I am all for.

Trying Out The Nintendo Switch

I was fortunate enough to try the Nintendo Switch at the Genesis 4 tournament in San Jose. Thank you Nintendo America for hosting Arms at G4, it was a great fun playing the Switch at one of the biggest Super Smash Bros Esports events in the world.

The game I got to try was Arms which used the motion control of the joy con. This game was very fun and easy to pick up. It reminded me of the Wii sports boxing but with a lot more depth. Precise motions could create various actions which translated to deep gameplay. Blocking, dodging, and unleashing special moves all felt very natural.

While Joy-Con motion control was cool it was not a game breaking experience. As much fun as I had with Arms I don’t think enough games will take advantage of the motion control to justify the added cost for the Switch. Only a few first party games will probably take advantage of it and even fewer third party. Adding motion control when gamers and developers didn’t care for it is why Xbox One is so behind.

The Switch itself has a great price for its ability to provide an exciting home and portable console experience. This is a very capable machine by all measures that many games will be great on but it's the price of the accessories which I think is pricey right now. Though the Switch is great out of the box some accessories are almost necessary for hardcore gamers and those costs are adding up.

Nintendo Switch is looking like it will be a fine console even with this small shortcoming. I am sure many great games will be made exclusively for the Switch I just doubt many will take advantage of the unique features of the Joy-Con.

 

Nintendo Switch Presentation

The Nintendo Switch has finally been officially announced with a release date and it is less than 2 months away. Nintendo organized a very well two-day event packed with announces and information for their new console. I thought the presentation had for fans many great reasons to be excited about the Switch and several legitimate causes for concern.

Hardware wise, I am very impressed by the what the Nintendo Switch has to offer to gaming as both a home and portable gaming console. I am no expert in hard manufacturing cost, but I am skeptical on their focus with motion control. If motion control prevented a lower price point or features to improve its portability then I believe Nintendo made a huge mistake.

My major concern is that they went after the wrong third-party developers. I can think of 4 games right now that are already out that people would love to play on the Switch. Rocket League, Overcooked, Gang Beasts, Towerfall, and Videoball would all be great games that you can play on the go with friends. They already have the audience and credibility to make them succeed on the Switch and are games still being played.  

I understand and respect the hardware limitations, I am not asking for games like Mass Effect Andromeda on the Switch. That won’t be a problem since that isn’t its true strength. As long as there is a steady stream of great games being released they will be fine, but Nintendo can’t do this alone. Indie developers are best positioned to take advantage of the hard limitations and portable functionality of the Switch


I truly believe in the Switch’s ability to be a portable high-quality gaming experience is an extremely compelling reason for all types of gamers to get this console. All gamers would benefit from being able to let their friends enjoy the games they play at home anywhere. I truly hope the Switch is successful but I think the launch window is currently a major missed opportunity.  

Games Most Excited For In 2017

I haven’t seen a game this stacked with amazing games in a long time. I will actually be keeping many weekends to myself so I can play at least some of these games when they come out. While I know I won’t get to play them all this year doesn’t change the fact that I am super excited for them this year.

Persona 5

Unfortunately, this game has been a game I have been looking forward to way too long. I had it on my list as the game I was most excited for last year but the English version got delayed.  I probably would have gotten the Japanese version if it had English subs. No problem though since I am patient and want Atlus to get this right. Now since we have an official date here is hoping to no more delays.

Red Dead Redemption 2

I actually never played Red Dead Redemption last generation (Nor can I right now thanks to PS4 lack of backward compatibility) but I do know that this game was one of the best to come out that console cycle. Hopefully, I can get to play the first before playing this game but I have no intention of missing Red Dead Redemption 2 this console generation so who knows.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn just looks gorgeous but also mysterious. The world in this game is asking to explored and the mysteries to be solved. I got to play this game at E3 and left me with even more questions. Though since this game is a new IP I am making sure not to hype it up too much but I am very much keeping it on my radar and can’t wait to hear about it when it gets released very soon.

Mass Effect Andromeda

Another game series I never actually got to finish last console generation. Though what I did play I absolutely loved but alas college had much more pressing issues to attend to. (Common EA HD remake of the original trilogy) I am actually surprised this game hasn’t been spoiled for me. I can’t wait to hear more about this game when it comes out soon though hopefully nothing gets spoiled for me.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I got in line 2 hours before E3 was open made sure this was the 1st game I played this year. I knew this game was going to be something special and that E3 demo sealed the deal.  I will be buying a Nintendo Switch this year just to play this game. Going around in that open world as Link was absolutely breathtaking. There are 2 games I will for sure complete this year and that is Persona 5 (I seriously waited a long time) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

My Top 5 Games of 2016

My Top Games of 2016

What a year for gaming for me was it for 2016. I actually got to play a good amount of games ranging from alright to amazing. Some were let downs and others were complete surprises. So let’s jump right into it in no particular order. 

Pokemon Sun/Moon

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I haven’t played a Pokemon game since generation Sapphire and Ruby. It’s been a while and a lot has changed but many for the better. Many of the systems added are greatly appreciated, in fact, the only thing I miss is the Gym Leaders. Overall this Pokemon game is extremely fun and something I enjoy playing when I am traveling.

Pokemon GO

This game surprised me in every single way. I did not expect this game to be something I would get into or something that the entire world would go crazy over. While the game itself isn’t that great it didn’t matter because of the social phenomenon it created. So many times going on errands or hanging with friends would me and my friends bust out our phones to try and catch Pokemon and see random strangers do the same exact thing. 

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End 

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I love the Uncharted series and this game didn’t disappoint. This game delivered everything you would expect for the finale of Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series. (No spoilers it’s in the title) Can’t really talk too much about it though because it is the journey to that finale that makes the game so rewarding. If you love this series you owe it to yourself to play this game.

The Witness

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I am absolutely horrible at puzzle games yet The Witness was able to grab me and keep my attention. I got so into this game I went out and bought graphing paper to help me solve the puzzles in this game. The puzzles can get very difficult but are never unfair which makes them extremely satisfying when you complete one. No matter how stuck I get I can’t help but solve it even it means taking a break and letting my mind just think about it.

Overwatch

Whenever I am stressed out I jump on Overwatch and play a couple of games which can turn into many hours. I am terrible at shooters and have no desire to play them in today's online environment which makes Overwatch perfect for me. I can contribute greatly to my team by playing as a support and tank and it is still incredibly fun for me.  This is my go-to game when I have a couple minutes of free time.

Other Notable Mentions

Job Simulator

If I want to show my gamer friends what VR is like this is the game I show to them on my PlayStation VR. 

That Dragon, Cancer

This game made me cry but it was beautiful.

INSIDE

What a special game but some parts were just too scary for my coward ass. 

Firewatch

Talking with Delilah was brilliant and made exploring the forest serene.

Riot Games and MLB Media Partnership

Riot Games and MLB Advanced Media have announced a partnership to help monetize and commercialize League of Legends. This is huge news for League of Legends which has one of the largest player bases in the Esports scene. While the details of this deal will not fully see fruition for fans until years from now if a better viewing experience is created then everyone wins.

John Skipper, ESPN President famously said that he didn’t believe Esports was a sport and he was only interested in covering real sports. Years later he has now changed his tune and admitted that he still learning at his age with ESPN taking a much more active role in Esports.  This isn’t an uncommon way of thinking especially among older professional sports veterans.  

Improvement in relations between traditional sports and Esports has been a positive turn of events. While Esports and traditional sports are different they also share a lot of similarities. Many veteran sports organizations can provide the experience and infrastructure to expand and monetize while Esports can teach traditional sports a few things about this new generation of digital consumers.

The average Esports consumer has grown up in the digital world. They love to consume their content digitally whether it be streaming shows or playing games online. It is because of this so many young people tend to gravitate towards Esports when it comes to competitive entertainment. This doesn’t mean they don’t love to watch traditional sports, just like to watch games they also play.

Video games are becoming as common as watching movies. There are many different types of gamers who play casually just on their phones or on a dedicated gaming hardware. It is just natural for people who consume video games to also enjoy watching professionals playing at the highest level. Though with that also comes growing up being used to getting your content for much cheaper.

This audience of the young digital age is used to their content being extremely accessible with a low barrier to entry. It is hard to monetize if your viewership is largely online using free services like Twitch and YouTube. The average Esports fan spends far less than the average traditional sports fan.

Broadcasting Esports is very expensive and if the industry wants to be sustainable it will need to figure out more sources of revenue. There are many challenges that need to be addressed such as creating a better environment for teams and players but none of that can be solved until Esports becomes profitable for everyone that invests in it.  

If Riot and MLB Advanced Media can create a product that users will want to spend money on without alienating those used to getting it for free on sites like Twitch and YouTube then this will be great for the Esports industry.

Showing My Family Virtual Reality

VR is here and I got myself a PlayStation VR. For all the hype surrounding VR now that it is the public it is going to very interesting to see how the public reacts to it. For the general public, this is the first real experience they will have with VR and I hope that it is great for many people because this will set the tone and future for this medium.

I got to finally set up my PS VR this holiday break and I can say that is going to be an issue. The amount of effort and space it takes for me to set up means I will only be using it to show off to family and friends or when I get a bigger place. Nothing against the PS VR but even as revolutionary as it VR doesn't change the fact that I play games to relax.

 

I got to show PS VR to my family and this was their 1st experience. My brother who is a gamer got Job Simulator very well. My parents who aren’t at all gamers couldn’t handle any interactive controls but they loved PlayStation VR Worlds. Ocean Descent was super easy for them to understand and they were mind blown by how immersed they felt.

We all had that scary movie moment where we mentally believed even if it was just for a brief moment that could happen to us. There are times in drama where we emotionally feel attached and sad when a character we like dies. Some games can make pressing a button even if it a simple decision intense. VR has the ability to do all of that but also make you forget that you are physically not in a real world.

It is that experience when you physically forget that you are in a fake world that only VR has the capability to do. My mom, dad, and uncle all tried to grab hold of the bars in Ocean Descent only to realize nothing was there. The fact that their brains were so easy to trick on the first generation of objectively the weakest VR platform speaks volumes to the future.

All the possibilities outside of gaming are so thrilling to envision. As a gamer, VR is the obvious relevant application to be excited about but that isn’t going to be the most significant function in the future. There is a reason why Facebook bought Oculus, they saw a future where this technology can be used for so much more.

The technology for VR is very impressive but this is just the beginning. It will be interesting to see how the gaming industry adapts to the launch of VR. Shue Yoshida said it best by saying this is just the first generation of VR and it going to take generations to see all the potential of what VR can bring.

Bethesda New Review Policy

Recently there has been a lot of talk about Bethesda announcing their new review policy about not giving early review copies to journalists. Many people are understandably upset on all sides. Let’s be clear Bethesda decision does not benefit their consumers, but it is totally their right to not give out early copies of the game for game media. I am just not sure if this is the right choice.  

Bethesda is one of the few companies that can get away with doing this for their games. Many of the smaller game companies would not be able to get away with this for the simple fact that those game journalists would just not review the game. Journalists have a lot of games to play and need the time to properly review games. Being given time before the game releases allow them to make the best review for their viewers which benefits everyone.

There are going to be games that aren’t even going to benefit from a review since they wouldn’t make sense like Pokemon GO. Sometimes the experience of the game can only objectively be critiqued when it is released into a public and the social aspect of it is truly realized. By then it might be too late to even review the game.

There are many topics that need to be discussed such as when game reviews actually make sense for a game in the age of ever updated games from when they are released to when the media should be given the game early to review.  I just want to briefly talk about what I think is the most important of all of them which is the relationship between the media and developers.

In the end of the day, what matters most is those game companies and the game media have a functioning and positive relationship with each other. When it comes to reviews, game companies need to trust that the media will to the best of their ability review the game in a way that their audience expects them to. The media needs ample time to research a game to give their best review.  

Video games are unlike many other forms of entertainment. Many games are relatively more expensive, time intensive, and requires more of your attention. Books, films, and music are all much less expensive and easier to consume which is why it is so popular. With the resources required for the average consumer it is important they have trusted sources they can turn to so they are getting the most out of all games.

When consumers can get trusted information to make sure they are playing the games that are best for them, the industry benefits. No one wins when a consumer is turned off of games forever because of one horrible experience. In this changing world how consumers get that information is ever changing and adapting, but that is ok as long as the core source of trust is kept.

Worlds At Staples Center

I got to attend my first Worlds and it was everything I dreamed of. I have to give a special shout out to my buddy Erika for getting me such amazing seats. I have been playing and watching League of Legends since beta and it has become one of the most important games to me. Lucky for me it has also become one of the most important games in the industry.

I got to attend the group stages in San Francisco and watched all the matches and I can say this game has become more entertaining to watch with every passing year from gameplay to production.  It was best highlighted by the amazing grand finals between SKT and Samsung. I honestly thought the series was over until the amazing close comeback that put the game 1 away from being a complete route.

It is awesome to see how much League has grown over the years. As a support player, I have gone from seeing professional supports from being a sole ward carrier to variety pool of champions with a diverse set of skills. From being able to focus on a tank champion to being a purely disruptive character meant to disable enemy champions at the worst time.

I am a Lakers fan so it was cool that Worlds was at Staples Center again. I have been before but actually never for a Lakers game because I was always broke as a kid and could never afford it. Since I had VIP tickets I was able to check out the VIP section in Staples Center which is something I would never be able to do for a Lakers game.  

League of Legends, it is great to see you still going strong and I can’t wait to see what you will be doing next season. League is current at the top Esports in the market for a reason and I know it will be like that for years to come. With Riot Games leadership, I only know good things will happen to the entire Esports industry.