There’s no denying that the Switch is one of the best consoles to be released in recent years. You only need to look at the sales – it’s already passed the N64, Gamecube and the Wii U (the Wii U by quite a considerable amount, too), and in it’s opening week it held it’s own against the PS4.
In many peoples eyes, the Switch has catapulted Nintendo back to the forefront of gaming. But where has Nintendo gone so right this time, where they’ve gone wrong in the past? Well, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons the Switch has been successful and where it differs from it’s competitors.
Nintendo Switch vs Wii U
In terms of speed and power, the Switch and the Wii U are actually quite comparable. Although generally the Switch is a little faster than the Wii, there isn’t a great deal of difference. So where does the dramatic increase in popularity come from if there isn’t much difference in this key factor? Well, here are a couple of reasons why the Switch outperforms the Wii U pretty easily.
As someone who’s owned a PS Vita and various other portable gaming consoles over the years, there’s no question in my mind that the Switch is the best portable console ever. What makes it unique is it’s ability to be used portably within seconds of disconnecting it from your television. So if you’ve got your Switch docked and you’re playing it at home, you can easily pick it up from your dock, take it out and play portably. With the Wii U, you could only take it within a few meters of your console, which means that it wasn’t truly portable.
Now, this was of course possible with the Wii U, but to me it always felt clunkier than with the Switch. The design of the Switch is much better in comparison to the portability, and that is in large part due to it’s joy-con design.
Now, the joy-cons themselves are an awesome idea, and they’re infinitely better off opting for If you don’t know, you can use the joy-cons together with the display when you’re using it portably in a PSP style fashion. But, you can also disconnect the joy-cons and use them independently from the screen too. However, one of the best things about the Switch is that when it’s docked, you can use both of the joy-cons separately from each other.
This means that if you have a friend over and you want to play simple games like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros, you can easily use each jot-con separately and both play. This stops you from having to buy an extra controller, which typically cost a ton (an extra set of Joy-cons cost $70, and typically an extra Xbox or Playstation controller will be $50 too). So, the Joy-cons are an area where Nintendo have made massive improvements.
Although the screen size is the same in both models, the main difference here comes in other aspects. Whilst the Wii U has a ppi (pixels per inch) of 158, the Switch has a 50% higher pixel density in comparison to the Wii, with 237 ppi. The Switch is also considerably lighter than the Wii U, which make a big difference in terms of portability.
Nintendo Wii U – Underrated?
The Wii U gets a whole ton of hate, and there’s no denying that in terms of sales it was definitely a flop. People talk about the Wii U like it’s decades old, but it’s actually still relatively recent. The Wii U is undoubtedly underrated in my mind, and there’s a few reasons why I think this is the case.
The Quality – Better than most people recall
Firstly, the main criticism that people say of the Wii U is that it’s low quality or tacky in comparison to the Switch. Whilst I respect some people might prefer the Switch style (and I’m definitely someone that prefers the Switch myself), but that doesn’t mean that the Wii U is necessarily bad and it definitely isn’t low quality. So, whilst the Switch wins in terms of design, that doesn’t mean that the Wii U is bad in any way shape or form.
Another thing to consider with the Wii U is the games. Whilst there were some awful games for the Wii U (Mario Party 9 and 10 spring to mind as being the most frustrating in my opinion), there were a ton of good games too. One that the majority of people will agree with is Super Mario Maker, which is probably my favorite game on the Wii U in general. With the Wii U, we also got the ability to play older games from other consoles as it allowed for backwards compatibility. Unfortunately, the Switch doesn’t allow for this, so we’ll need to start a fresh.
For party games, the Wii U is up there with any other Nintendo console in my opinion. It had great versions of Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, and although it might not have had as many third party games as I’d have liked, it still had some awesome games released on it.
High Definition Upgrade
Whilst the graphics are better on the Switch, it’s worth mentioning that the Wii U was a massive upgrade on the original Wii, which lacked the graphical power to get anywhere near Xbox and Playstation. However, the Wii U improved immensely on this, which shows that Nintendo were listening to their fans in some cases. The screen on the Nintendo switch is awesome (but it does damage easily, so make sure you pick up a screen protector).
Overall, it’s clear to see that whilst a lot of the basics were there with the Wii U, it wasn’t successful for a few reasons – mainly down to poor marketing, a lack of third party games and the design was slightly off. However with the Switch, it’s clear to seen that Nintendo have actually taken consumer advice onboard this time and have made the necessary changes to make the Switch almost flawless in my opinion. Whilst it isn’t completely perfect, it’s the best portable console around and even though I have other consoles too, I probably spend 90% of my time gaming on the Switch.
So, although respect must go out to the Wii U for laying some of the framework, the Switch is the upgrade that most of us wanted to see.