The biggest question I and many others have for the Switch’s future success pertains to third-party support. Will the biggest cross-platform games be brought to Nintendo? And can their handheld/hybrid run them?
The most important game coming to the Switch that no one seems to be talking about is Steep. This is a current-gen, cross-platform game from 2016 that will be available on XB1/PS4/PC, and the Switch! It even closed Ubisoft’s E3 2016 conference! If Steep runs well enough, it could mean the world for the Switch moving forward.
Looking at the confirmed third-party Switch titles so far, it’s easy to assume that publishers are taking a wait-and-see approach. Instead of risking a premier established brand, Steep is a brand new IP for Ubisoft, developed by the team that usually tacks on multiplayer modes for their bigger franchises. For Ubisoft and other publishers, Steep will be a measuring stick for everyone concerned about the Switch’s ability to support third-party games.
The PC model
Cutting edge AAA PC games are played on older hardware at lower settings. Heck, the PS4 and XB1 are often in that tier as well. If the Switch can handle ports by compromising resolution and other fancy effects, I’m sure their customers will be quite content. Owners of multiple platforms will most likely buy the best looking version, but Gamers looking for one console, could be more drawn to a Nintendo machine that does more than play Mario, Zelda, and last-gen games like Skyrim.
Online…with an app
Steep has a large online component. The selling point of the game is to share the tracks with the online community and your friends. Their website even features “community highlights” placed just below the DLC. With online featured prominently, will the Switch’s smart device service be able to keep up?
I assume Nintendo make’s most of their design decisions concerning both docked and portable play, putting the burden on the gamer to bring their own device and internet connection for mobile gaming. Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime even used the word “hotspot”, lending support to this theory. Online gaming takes far less data than streaming video, but a laggy connection is no fun at all. If Nintendo went the smart device route as a solution for portable play, I’d have to say it doesn’t seem worth it.
A Steep hill to climb
Nintendo’s recent presentation may have talked some hardcore gamers out of buying a Switch, at least until Mario Odyssey and a few other system-sellers hit the market.
Will Steep be the first in a long line of AAA current-gen Switch games or will Nintendo be alone again in Nintendo Land?