We’ve all seen them. The console unboxings, the media hands-on demos, the first impressions. There’s nothing quite like a new console launch, where everyone’s champing at the bit for any juicy details. This week, it’s been PlayStation 5’s turn, as select media outlets and influencers have gone hands-on with Sony’s latest machine. While embargoes are limiting what we get to see, the hype levels are still incredibly high between it and Xbox Series X. However, I think it’s a pretty underwhelming next-gen launch period, and here’s why Nintendo Switch players have just as much to be excited about.
The fall 2020 lineup for next-gen vs. Switch
Chiefly, the launch lineups this time out are completely “meh.” Sony’s big splash is the Demon’s Souls remake, which looks visually stunning, but — it’s still just a remake. The remaining pair of Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy: A Big Adventure aren’t as significant, particularly as they will both launch on PlayStation 4 as well. The Xbox side of things looks even worse. While Gears Tactics isn’t getting the push I think it deserves (a genuinely new Gears of War game for console players), there’s practically nothing else. Halo: Infinite‘s delay really put Microsoft in a bad spot.
In comparison, Nintendo Switch’s fall 2020 lineup doesn’t look half bad. Sure, it lacks a huge splash like a brand new Mario or the next mainline Zelda, but fans of each franchise are still being treated well. The Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection just dropped and converted three classic Mario games into HD for the very first time. For Zelda fans, each info drop on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity makes the game feel more and more like a genuine Zelda story, even if the gameplay is a bit of a different beast. That’s not to mention Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for kart racing fans and the release today of Pikmin 3: Deluxe.
Things are looking pretty good for the immediate future too. In what looks like a packed February 2021, there’s Super Mario 3D World complete with a brand new expansion, alongside Square Enix’s recently delayed Bravely Default II and Capcom’s Monster Hunter Rise.
Beyond the initial launch lineups, it’s pretty safe to say most big releases for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are further out. I can’t see God of War: Ragnarok or Horizon Forbidden West launching that soon, not to mention the next, always delayed Gran Turismo entry. None of these even have release windows beyond a vague “2021.”
It’s much the same for Xbox’s upcoming slate of games too. Halo: Infinite‘s development looks more and more troubled by the week, as key development members leave the team. Xbox’s premiere racing series, Forza, is getting rebuilt for the next generation, and Fable has only seen a short thematic teaser. There’s a lot more to come from both Sony and Microsoft’s first-party teams, but then they’ll be competing with some heavy hitters from Nintendo. Remember, the Breath of the Wild sequel, Metroid Prime 4, New Pokémon Snap, and Bayonetta 3 are all on the way at some point in the future.
When it comes to the hardware itself, there’s no doubt PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will widen the gap between Nintendo and Sony / Microsoft. However, the next-gen leap feels more like a small jump this time around, and I can’t say I’m that impressed with what I’ve seen. Faster loading times is the huge marketing splash these new consoles are using, provided by the switch to flash storage. Yet, Nintendo has been using this storage method since Nintendo Switch launched, so the company is already ahead with load times. The cross-generation period is also set to be lengthy this time around, and I can’t see Switch ports going anywhere anytime soon, especially as sales of the system continue to grow.
Nintendo Switch Pro?
Then there’s the much-rumored Switch Pro. If these rumblings are to be believed, Nintendo could be aiming to shrink that gap early next year. Apparently, game developers have been asked to start making Switch games “4K-ready” in the wake of a new console model dropping in 2021. Just a few days ago, more rumors about potential Switch Pro features were also flying around. While none of this is confirmed, the gradual upgrade of consoles seems to be the way forward, and Nintendo has done this in the past. Of course, a Switch Pro would still be a long way off in power from PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S consoles if it happens, but narrowing that gap means more feasible third-party releases on Switch, in theory.
It’s hard to not feel left out of a new console launch, but as Nintendo Switch players, we shouldn’t. These new systems are big, bulky, expensive, and lack truly defining exclusive games at launch. They also drop in the middle of a global pandemic, where funds are short for many of us. I’m out here with a quick PSA: Don’t feel pressured into buying one of the next-generation consoles. Why? There’s a lot to come for that Nintendo system you already own.