Why I buy Nintendo consoles at launch

With the launch of the Nintendo Switch just a couple hours away here in the U.S., I thought I’d share something that has been on my mind today.  While taking a walk at work, I started thinking why exactly I jump on Nintendo consoles at launch, but not others.  For the record, I have bought the Wii, Wii U, and now Switch all within the launch window.  While I do own Playstations 2-4, I didn’t but any of them at launch, and don’t foresee buying whatever comes next from Sony at launch, either.  But why is that?

I like the Playstation.  There have been many games that I’ve enjoyed released for the Sony systems.  Many games I’m looking forward to.  But with each release, I never find myself in a hurry to buy the most recent one.  I usually wait until there are several games released that I am interested in.  Why the double standard?  With the Wii and Wii U, there was nothing particularly big coming out at launch that I wanted to play.  Sure, the Wii had Twilight Princes, but I could have played that on the Gamecube.  Likewise, now with the Switch, I’m only for certain getting Breath of the Wild, which I could also play on Wii U.  Yet, I find myself really looking forward to getting the Switch on my lunch break tomorrow. 

After thinking about this, I think I’ve found the reason.  Each Nintendo console has something different about it that makes it unique from previous consoles.  With the Wii, it was the motion controls.  With the Wii U, it was the gamepad and the ability to play some games completely on it.  With the Switch, it’s the ability to easily play games on my TV or where ever I choose to.

For myself, each Playstation is more of the same.  The next one is a bit more powerful than the previous.  With the Playstation 2, I could play games and movies on it.  With the Playstation 3, I could play games and movies on it.  With the Playstation 4, I could play games and movies on it.  Yes, I am over-simplifying a bit, but I am a fairly simple person when it comes to consoles.  I don’t need a ton of features within the console itself.

When the Playstation 3 was released, I didn’t see the point in spending that much money on something that essentially did what I already had.  Sure, it played blu-ray discs, but movies were still being released on DVD.  I didn’t have to buy any movies on blu-ray.  So, until there were games on the PS3 that I really wanted to play, it wasn’t worth getting.  Same with the PS4.

But Nintendo was different.  When the Wii was released, the motion controls were alluring.  I didn’t have a system that had motion controls.  It was something new that I wanted in on.  With the Wii U, the thought of disconnected play appealed to me.  At this point, I was married, and was sharing a TV with the wife.  While she was playing Skyrim on our PS3, I could play something using just the gamepad.  With the Switch, you get the disconnected play that the Wii U had with the gamepad, but now your range is unlimited.  That interests me.  If I want to show a friend a game, then I can just take the system with me.  I don’t have to take the time to unplug everything.  I just pull the screen out and go.

So, those are just some quick thoughts on console releases.  I’ve never bought an XBox, as I have never really been that interested in any of their exclusives.  I’m not trying to convince you to buy or not buy anything.  Just some thoughts swirling around in my head as I try to talk myself out of going to a midnight release of the Switch, because I have to work in the morning, and the GameStop I pre-ordered it through is closer to work than it is to home.

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