Parents: The “Nintendo Switch” Console Could Actually Be Good for Your Family

Image of the Nintendo Switch logo (Copyright Nintendo 2016)

A Nintendo property is blowing up the Internet… again. Even though it isn’t Pokemon-related, it looks like it could be another game changer. What I’m talking about is the announcement of the Nintendo Switch, which Nintendo hopes will be its comeback in the Sony-and-Microsoft-dominated video game market after the lackluster performance of the Wii U.

Why is the Nintendo Switch causing such a stir, you ask? What is it about a video game console that would pique so many people’s interest?

We’ll tell you: the Nintendo Switch will be a console to plug into your TV and a portable, handheld gaming device that can go on the road with you.

That means, in theory, you could be playing a game while lounging on your couch and then pause the game, attach your controller onto your console, unplug it from the dock that connects it to your TV, and then continue playing the game—right where you left off—as your dog tears up the dog park. Or take it with you and make a party game out of it because you can turn the one controller into two controllers.

Still confused? Don’t worry. Nintendo released a video today that shows us all exactly how they want this thing to work… and it’s pretty fascinating. See for yourself:

Pretty crazy, right? For a whole host of reasons.

When we first cued this video up just scant hours ago, it garnered some polar opposite reactions from our gang. One was concerned about the potential it holds for isolating gamers who would suddenly be enabled to never put down their games ever again—which can be seen in the video. Someone else saw the potential for gaming to become more communal again—which can also be seen in the video. Two very different reactions sparked by the same device.

So which is it? Or is it both/and?

Image of the Nintendo Switch video game console (Copyright Nintendo 2016.)

Tension between reality and virtual reality is nothing new to conversations about video games. The blurry line between gaming at home and gaming on the go is also not really new. But the promise of adding depth to the mobile gaming experience is intriguing … and, if we’re honest with ourselves, potentially problematic.

But, on the flip side, one of my biggest complaints with modern home consoles is the lack of solid, family-friendly games that encourage playing together as a group while sitting on the same couch. The list of my favorite video game experiences is top heavy with games I played together with friends and family. When the original Wii came out, my whole fam played together for hours and howled with laughter—kids, parents, and grandparents alike.

So when you hear about a console like this new Nintendo Switch, what is your reaction? Are you intrigued by the potential it has to make gaming less isolated and more communal? Or are you nervous about it isolating us all even further?

Inquiring minds want to know …

Who wrote this?

Jake Roberson is Plugged In’s social media manager and strategist. He’s the father of four children and husband of one wife, and he quite likes life that way. He also likes writing about entertainment, pop culture, dadhood … and food. He’s also a former Guinness World Record holder for participating in the largest hacky sack circle. Catch up with him on Twitter @jake_roberson

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Posted by First Comment Guy

Wow, this is a HUGE step up for Nintendo. They've struggled with the portable gaming world (the failure of the Wii U is evidence of that), but now they look like they have a very big fighting chance.

I only own a Wii, and I have considered buying a Wii U; but at the same time, that was going to go outdated, thus making me want to buy a PS4. But the downside is that most of the console exclusive games for the PS4 are rated M. I've been torn between buying a Wii U or a PS4, but starting today, those two consoles no longer have my attention.

I like videogames best when I can play them with someone else, and since the Nintendo Switch is portable, playing with a friend won't be a problem any longer! Spring 2017 can't come soon enough!!

The_Happy_Friar More than 1 year ago
I find it kind of disappointing that "when I was a kid", multiplayer either meant in front of a TV with someone playing (or C64 monitor in my case), dialing up to a friends house & playing, or getting together & setting up serial links/token ring cables, now that's pretty much no more.  I'm not sure if gamers can get any more isolated then they are today.  There's more communication but little to no connection.

I just got the family a Wii U for last Christmas and we're enjoying it quite a bit (my younger two realized they can play Mario Maker under the covers w/o permission).  This seems like a really neat idea Nintendo has here.  I'd love to see easier ways to play multiplayer with people locally on a console and Nintendo may do that.  We play MP on the Wii U as much as we do LAN at the house.  Bring in the same space as others is very different then what most gamers do now a days.
Marissa More than 1 year ago
Gaming isn't isolating. I spend more time per week chatting (out loud, using headsets) with my MMO guildmates/friends than I spend talking to my parents. A couple months ago I even adopted two kittens from one of my gaming guildmates when his cat had a litter. 

Gaming may be many things, but unsocial isn't one of them. Or at least, it doesn't have to be.