Our First Introduction to the Nintendo Switch
It’s Not a Portable Console, It’s a Console That’s Portable
The veil has dropped, folks. Today, Nintendo released an introductory video to the gaming system formerly known as the NX – a home console/handheld hybrid called the Nintendo Switch.
What the Hell is It?
It’s a new platform that’s essentially a tablet with modular controllers. The tablet can be docked within a base that attaches to your TV so that you can enjoy an old fashioned home console experience.
Your two “Joy-Con” controllers – the two pieces up there featuring one joystick and four buttons each – can be attached to the “Joy-Con Grip” for more traditional play, used decoupled (sort of like the Wii’s Nunchuks), or shared independently for some quick (and rather basic) multiplayer. If the Joy-Con setup isn’t working out, or if you’re simply embarrassed having to call the damn things “Joy-Cons,” Nintendo’s making a new Pro Controller option available. Oh, joy.
But you’re on the go, and your Splatoon addiction can no longer be confined in the cage that is your home. Here’s where it gets interesting: undock the Switch tablet and take your console game on the move. The Joy-Cons can mount to each side of the tablet for optimal handheld play. The system even has a kickstand on the back so that you can kick back and play with the Joy-Cons wirelessly.
Microsoft to Sell Kinect-less Xbox One Units in June (!)
The genesis of Microsoft’s policy on the Xbox One/Kinect 2.0 pairing began with the company announcing the console wouldn’t even function without the peripheral. Fan feedback – vehement feedback – had MS back down from that divisive decision.
But Microsoft would not relent completely, stating that the Kinect was such an integral part of their Xbox strategy, they would never sell Xbox One units without bundling the extraneous motion sensor. Well, folks, never say never, huh?
The new chief of Xbox, Phil Spencer, says that while the Kinect remains locked into their vision for the future of Xbox (“It’s an important differentiator for us”), Microsoft is responding to fans who wish to experience Xbox One only through a wireless controller.
Thusly, beginning June 9th, you’ll be able to find Xbox One units minus the Kinect on store shelves in North America and Europe, priced at $399 (or £349/399 Euros).
For me, this has been the make-or-break factor keeping me from jumping on Xbox’s next-generation. I haven’t the slightest interest in Kinect; it has potential, but we haven’t really gotten past the “swatting at air” phase of the technology. Until then, I’d like my primary form of interaction to be what’s worked since the NES: a controller.
How about you kindly gamers out there? Will you finally jump on the Xbone bandwagon now that Kinect is separate?
Wii U Drops Its Price and the 3DS Drops a Whole Damn Dimension
All right. Where to begin? I suppose I’ll start with the news that doesn’t scramble my brains like Iwata himself stabbed a whisk through my head.
First up, the Wii U is officially seeing a price drop. In a ploy to divert your attention from Sony and Microsoft’s Hell in a Cell, next-gen warring this Holiday, Nintendo has slashed $50 from the Wii U Deluxe Set’s tag. The 32GB model’s newly minted price of $299 will kick in for North American retailers on September 20th.
Personal bite: I can’t complain about a console price drop. A more affordable system pushes me closer to inviting it into my home. Though, the fact the drop had to happen at all tells a distressing tale in regards to the system’s performance – keep in mind we’re not even a year out from the console’s November 2012 release date and a price drop is already happening. Not fantastic.
And a discounted tag ain’t enough to catch the public’s attention by itself. Any software not adorned with a Nintendo mascot holds up like a drop of fresh water in the ocean. You hear a story every other day about a third-party publisher ducking out of releasing a Wii U version of their hot title or, at best, releasing a watered down version. Once more, not fantastic.Nintendo also announced a new model of the 3DS minus the 3D part. "Isn’t that just a DS, though?“ No, simpleton. This plays 3DS games. But not in 3D. Also, it doesn’t have a hinge, ridding you of the frustration of being able to close the machine and protect the screen from the elements – an innovation Nintendo foolishly invested into back with the Game Boy Advance SP.
I introduce to you the Nintendo 2DS. Soak it in, friends. Nintendo is billing the new handheld as an entry-level portable for youngsters…which makes the damage susceptible design even more boggling. Reduced functionality – and, seemingly, reduced versatility – means the handheld can be yours for just $129.99. The 2DS is locked in to debut in the states alongside the release of the world’s first 3D Pokemon titles, X and Y – it just gets better and better as we go along, huh? – on October 12th.
Nintendo’s much needed intervention has not yet been scheduled.
Microsoft Reverses Xbox One’s Shit-tastic DRM Policies
By Zeus, you’ve done it. We’ve done it. Our collective bitching has effectively moved mountains. We made Microsoft budge. Hell, that’s the metaphorical equivalent to knocking the Earth off of its axis…Which would likely kill us, but as we hurtle through space to our unknown doom, hold onto the peace of mind that we can at least lend our Xbox One games to a friend before we die.
Forgive my nonsense and dig this: Micro’s president of interactive entertainment, Don Mattrick – ‘member him? – issued a cordial update on the Xbox One’s used games and online policies in a post titled “Your Feedback Matters” (That alone deserves a tip of the hat). The Xbox One’s DRM-like policies have, up until now, been met with “passionate” responses from the gaming community (you’re free to replace “passionate” with whichever venomous word of your choosing; all are correct).
But it would appear Microsoft, in the first expert display of damage control since the console’s reveal, has completely reassessed their stance on connectivity limitations (i.e. the “always-online” debate):
An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
Similarly, disc-based games, which were originally to be tethered to individual profiles, thus preventing friends from using the same disc on their own consoles, has seen all potential restrictions revoked:
Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.
Mattrick goes on to state that it is his and his company’s belief that while consumers will continue to support the system’s online features, including the cloud, for playing and downloading games (a steadfast march into an all-digital age that many argue is already here), Microsoft still wants to provide the “choice of both physical and digital content.”
Practically all of my criticisms toward the Xbox One were rallied against Microsoft’s policies and contorted, arrogant ideologies in regards to the future of gaming. There is no denying that this was a good fucking move on their part. This is exactly the compromise needed to change a lot of minds about the Xbox One’s threading within the next generation’s tapestry.
I feel much of Sony’s thunder from E3 could be muffled by this policy assessment, but policy should have never played a part in the purchasing decision to begin with. It should have always been a battle between games and features. We’re back to that level, yes, but the skirmish is now also pit on the dollar – our dollar, to be precise – and the PlayStation 4 still rests at a hundred bones cheaper than the competition.
Still, MS has definitely won some good graces today. We’ll see how far that carries them when both systems launch.
The veil has lifted, the seas have parted, and the goats have been sacrificed. You know what that must mean; Microsoft has officially revealed their next-gen successor to the Xbox 360. Everyone, I want you to meet the Xbox One.
Isn’t she a marvel of modern engineering? Just look at how sleek and…VCR-like it is. What says “The Future” better than a device that gives me the overwhelming urge to shove my VHS copy of Short Circuit into it? Check it out, it floats, too:
Ha, lookit that shit just hovering there. Technology’s wild, man. But there’s way more to Microsoft’s newest console than its totally not made up ability to float a couple of inches off the ground. Read on and we’ll tear open the system’s specs, learn about its leg up over the 360, and hopefully figure out a means to destroy these things before they’re floating a few inches over our children’s mangled corpses.