The first look from Nintendo at their new gaming platform, the Nintendo Switch, promises a chance for gamers to return to their couches and rediscover local multiplayer gaming.
It’s been a while since people consistently played the same videogame, in the same room, on the same TV, while sitting on the same piece of furniture! People could ruthlessly taunt each other and get away with it because ten seconds later someone else would sit down, totally pwn everyone and become the new king of the couch.
The Nintendo Switch could fix this problem in couch gaming. It has two removable controllers that connect to one device, but different friends can bring their own controllers and access the same console, which can be a portable handheld or be linked to a TV and played on the couch — hence the ability to “switch” between mobile and stationary devices. It would make couch gaming more spontaneous and more natural.
In the announcement video, Nintendo presents its own perceptions of how the device will be used, but the actual release of the Switch isn’t due until March of 2017. The short trailer illustrated some of the ways that they intend and expect their new product to be used, and much of their depiction reflects the more organic version of couch gaming. Playing pickup and some people want to take a break, Nintendo Switch is there to host an NBA 2K match. Hosting a party and looking for another activity to keep people entertained as they mingle, set up a casual “Mario Kart” race on the Switch. All of these examples possible without carrying around several autonomous controllers.
The greatest games that have brought people to participate in the kind of social interaction that couch gaming encompasses have come from a variety of genres: just look at the original “Halo” and “Call of Duty” releases, any of the “Mario Kart” games, the infinitely growing number of sports games like “Madden” and “NBA 2K,” the “Smash Bros” series and even Blizzard’s “Diablo” franchise. But now, the era of PC gaming combined with console’s moving much of their gaming content online has dominated, leaving the couches cold and the headphones warm.
Though the champion for couch gaming is making its way forward in the gaming industry, the Nintendo Switch isn’t necessarily going to re-conquer the same old couch, but instead revolutionize the idea of playing videogames with three or four other people in the same room.
While the conventional couch-gaming experience may be going obsolete, its future generation will be more compatible with a world filled with interruptions. One reason couch gaming yielded to the online world is because the latter offered a more convenient way to have fun with a video game and other people. The Nintendo Switch makes couch gaming natural, giving it a fighting chance in the gaming industry.