In less than two months, Nintendo will release the Switch, its follow-up to the troubled Nintendo Wii U console. The new hardware certainly looks more promising than its predecessor’s did. The Switch’s hybrid console/portable concept promises a future in which players race in Mario Kart 8 and battle in Splatoon 2 whenever and wherever they like. But on March 3rd, it remains unclear which games will be available.
The only two games promised for launch during the January 12 press event were The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch. The former was meant to be a Wii U game, but after many delays, the title was tweaked so it could also release on the Switch. The latter is a motion game without graphics. So at Nintendo’s press event, the company only showed one launch video game with actual video.
This seems to be the North American launch lineup for Switch.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 13, 2017
I mean Zelda is cool but overall it seems a bit weak. pic.twitter.com/RIabzxi9LA
Shortly after the event, an unofficial list of launch games (above) circulated on Twitter. The list largely consists of the Ubisoft games that seem to appear at every console launch. Rayman Legends, Just Dance 2017, and Steep are accompanied by Disgaea 5, I Am Setsuna, and a handful of other games.
But the tweet may be incorrect. Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners, appears to be pulling info from this store page, buried a few links into the the Nintendo Switch site. Many of the listed games are marked TBD, and only Zelda and 1-2-Switch are clearly marked for March 3rd, 2016.
What is clear, however, is a disappointing lack of depth. Many of the games on this page are already available elsewhere. Skyrim has been available for years and on numerous consoles, but won’t hit the Switch until Fall 2017. Mario Kart 8 is currently available on the Wii U, but won’t be released until April. Perhaps you’ve been waiting decades to play Street Fighter II. You’ll need to wait a little longer, because it’s TBD. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s mascot Mario won’t appear in a new adventure until Super Mario Odyssey’s release in “holiday” 2017.
Nintendo itself hasn’t yet provided a clear launch list. But unless it’s hiding some big surprise announcements, the Nintendo Switch’s launch will be the Legend of Zelda show, with a slow drip of games following deep into 2017. For fans, that may be enough. But for newcomers, it’s a confusing, unpromising strategy.