As others have commented here, I too wasn't terribly surprised by the Eurogamer article's "revelation" that the Switch won't share comparable graphical prowess with the PS4 and Xbox One. I agree that any gamer who believed the Switch would compete on power was either delusional or in denial. No matter how different a post-Iwata Nintendo might be, I don't think anyone who followed the company believed Nintendo would put out a machine at $400-500, or take a significant loss on every console sold. Neither is a strategy Nintendo has used in any of its machines, at least since the Gamecube. And frankly, I agree that it's simply not feasible for Nihtendo to compete on power. It's a lost cause against two rivals whose war chests are just too big.
That all said, the Eurogamer article's dose of reality certainly drives a nice wedge into the Switch hype-machine. Underpowered and outclassed on technology, the Switch may have a very hard time luring much third-party support. It almost certainly will never see games like GTA6, Tekken 7, and other AAA third party releases.
I can't see companies like EA being much interested in bringing scaled-down versions of Battlefield or Titanfall to the Switch. If Nintendo can't deliver amazing sales numbers, the business model for the Switch is going to look a whole lot like the Wii U. And we all know how that story will go.
Yes, there will be more Nintendo games on this machine. But I'm not convinced that this alone will mean much for the Switch; we all know it will sell through at least 10 million units. That is about how many hardcore Nintendo fans there are based on Wii U sales.
That Nintendo continues to push the message that the Switch is the "successor" to the Wii U could backfire. While I understand the reason for the marketing here, if the machine can't really do home console specs, consumers may be turned off by the fact that the third party games they're accustomed to seeing aren't there. In other words, it could become a classic case where the marketing message doesn't reflect the reality of the product.
And that brings me to the other problem - if the Switch winds up just being home to ported mobile games, that's hardly the desired outcome. What good is the Switch if it plays games I can already play on my phone?
As others have said, may be the Switch becomes the champion of indie games, but does that do much to distinguish it from the competition? Is the luxury of carrying around the next Inside or Shantae enough to move millions of units?
The pessimist in me says, "No." None of those games would be exclusive, and I'm hard-pressed to think Nintendo will really go out of their way to subsidize and publicize indie developers. Just look at how terribly they've handled other licenses like Fatal Frame, or even relationships like the Capcom 5. Nintendo's history here shows little to no commitment, and barely any success.
All of this is to say that the forecast on the Switch has went from tempered enthusiasm to a wait-and-see. I'm still interested and will get one eventually but I'm part of the hardcore/faithful. I'm far from being a fanboy; I am, however, one of those gamers who very much enjoy the craftsmanship of Nintendo games, and believe that at least the majority of them deliver the best gaming has to offer, bar none.
Ever since I heard the rumors of this portable hybrid, I've concluded that the Switch will be Nintendo's LAST proprietary console. Don't misunderstand me. I want Nintendo to do well and stay in the gaming business, but I just don't see the Switch doing gangbusters like the Wii or the 3DS.
I do see the Switch being a moderate success, akin to somewhere in between the two. It will probably sell well in Japan, and initially move through all its units in Europe and North America.
After that, however, I see the same struggles as the Wii U had before. Sure, there will be fewer release deserts because Nintendo's portable dev studios will also be making games for it. BUT the reality is that Nintendo's franchises just aren't the massive appeal they used to be. Pokemon will help, but enough to force third parties onto the Switch? I just don't think so.
Again, this doesn't mean the Switch won't be profitable, either. Like always, Nintendo will make money day-one, and given everyone who buys it at first will only buy Nintendo's games, I'm sure the Switch will bring Nintendo back to black.
So why is the Switch the last Nintendo console? It all comes down to effort vs. profits. Nintendo is a publicly traded company with shareholders to answer to. There's just no denying that those shareholders are going to start raising serious questions about why Nintendo keeps sticking with its own machines when it can put out mobile games and games on other consoles, and spare the humongous risks. At some point, even profits are measured based on the risk and effort put in. We need look no further than Disney Infinity - the company was making millions, but at some point, Disney just determined it's far less risky to just license its brands to other developers.
Yes, Nintendo isn't Disney. Gaming is its core (and at least for now only) business. But the strategy is to change that portfolio - the Universal theme parks, the merchandising, and the soon-to-be relentless string of classic consoles are just the beginning of Nintendo branching out (and diluting) its core business. You can call it diversifying; I call it diluting.
At some point, Nintendo will see the writing on the wall. If they don't, their shareholders will (or already have).
I suppose it was only a matter of time, but at least the Switch gives the Miyamoto generation of gamers one last hurrah. We'll get one last system to cherish the days of games when they didn't require day one patches and other unsightly gigabytes of downloads.
But the fact is the future is calling, and Nintendo's incremental advancements just won't cut it. And the economics of this home console business is getting too small and too risky.
I see the Switch going the way of the Wii U - may be not as quickly, but eventually. Nintendo's mobile games will take over the company, may be just in time for Miyamoto to call it a career.