It’s a familiar pattern. A new game gets a release date, and it’s coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Like clockwork, a flood of requests start rolling in: Is it going to come to Nintendo Switch? When will it come to Nintendo Switch? Will it ever be on Nintendo Switch? A bevy of articles analyzing why or why not the Switch won’t be getting Triple-A Release #72 or what a developer said on the matter. It’s something I write on a fairly regular basis, but I’ve got to ask the question why sometimes, because there are some games out there that I just don’t want to play on Switch. What’s more, the Switch doesn’t need a port of everything that comes out.
Let’s begin with the idea that I’m not open to every release coming to Switch for the same reason I didn’t find every new game necessary for the PlayStation Vita, a system I loved and adored and continue to mourn. While you can play the system docked and sit in a comfortable area while seeing your game up on the big screen, it just isn’t as good of an experience for some titles.
Take Call of Duty: WWII for example. People are still asking if it’s going to make an appearance on the system, and it doesn’t seem like the most productive use of time. Nintendo’s wonky online setup is hardly ideal for online play or gaming with others, nor would the graphical fidelity match that of what the PlayStation4, PC or Xbox One can do. Performance alone, it’s just not a system I’d find comfortable playing in handheld mode or taking with me on the go even if I had the cell connectivity to do so.
Nor would I want to, for that matter. As much as I love the Nintendo Switch and its upcoming releases, especially Super Mario Odyssey, I fear it’s become relegated to that of a port machine. We ask if games are coming to the Switch because we’re concerned that that may be all that’s coming, that somehow it’s going to languish in a wasteland of overpriced ports or uninspired new releases like Super Bomberman R that are overpriced underperformers.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There have been several amazing additions to the Switch’s library, exclusive to the system and very much worth picking up. Most recently Splatoon 2 took a deep dive into multiplayer for the system, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is consistently great. But those are the types of games I’m really looking forward to play on the Switch, games that were tailor-made for the system that make sense, or the ones that really show off the unique qualities it has to offer.
I’m not saying it shouldn’t get the heavy-hitters or that it should only get first-party titles. But it does need the games that feel at home, and the ones that you can’t get elsewhere in the end to continue to flourish, long after the newness and novelty has worn off.
And we can probably back off on asking why every new game out there isn’t coming to Switch while this is all happening. There’s plenty of ways to play out there. Let’s build some uniqueness among systems.