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Predicting Nintendo’s January Switch Event

Speculating about Nintendo’s strange, ineffable decisions is almost as fun as playing their games, and their big Switch event is just around the corner (January 12th at 11pm ET/8pm PT). Sean and I (and the rest of the internet) have had a lot of questions that are hopefully going to be answered during the show, and we thought it would be fun to throw some predictions out there before they pull back the curtains.  

Does Nintendo discuss battery life?

Sean: Yes, definitely. This is Nintendo’s equivalent of having better technology. Game Boy to 3DS, it’s the only consistently good thing about any Nintendo handheld, or pseudo-handheld if that’s what we want to call the Switch.

Blake: I’m going to say, “No.” At least not at this time and place. Between the launch 3DS’ relatively crummy battery life and the Wii U’s tablet, Nintendo hasn’t been putting their best forward as of late. I could easily be wrong, but touting the Switch’s battery life could be seen by Nintendo as a backwards admission that they’ve dropped the ball in the past, and Nintendo rarely admits its failures.  

Does Nintendo talk about old controller compatibility?

Sean: No. However, it shows people using them, and pretends like we all knew what was going on with this situation all along. Possibly a post-conference press release tells us the whole shebang about what works and what doesn’t.

Blake: I’m with Sean. I think they’ll skip saying anything about it, but we’ll see a Wii-mote in a montage near the end of the show.

Does Nintendo talk about their new account system and what it means for previously purchased content?

Sean: Oh hell no.

Blake: Yes. They will talk about their new account system and they will talk about your old e-shop games in the vaguest of terms.

Do they talk about the Virtual Console?

Sean: Yes, though it is clear that despite countless complaints, it’s the same old same old. Expect to re-buy games you already own, for just a small fee… and perhaps a punch in the face for good measure.

Blake: I think they’ll mention it, but only to confirm the rumored GameCube emulation. They won’t speak in detail about anything else.

Do they mention the “success” of the NES Classic?

Sean: No. They pretend it doesn’t exist, even though it’s the hottest release of 2016.

Blake: No. What Sean said.

Will there be a pack-in game?

Sean: No? I simply don’t think they know how to do non-motion controlled pack-ins at this point. Maybe if they also announce the vitality sensor…

Blake: Yes. I think there will be something, but it will be more like the 3DS’ ARG pack-in and less “Hey here is the new Mario game!” That said… what if it came with Mario Maker pre-loaded?

Is there a Mario launch game?  

Sean: Yes. It might not be a fully traditional release, but Mario will be there in a game.

Blake: Yes, but I think it will be Mario Maker with some extra bells and whistles.

Will The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild be a launch game?

Sean: Yes, though I’m guessing it means that vital parts of the game, perhaps a dungeon, perhaps balance tweaks, were considered less important than hitting that release date. Which is probably true for Nintendo, but doesn’t necessarily result in the best possible Zelda game.

Blake: Old rumors said, “no.” Older rumors said, “yes.” New rumors say, “yes”. I’m saying “Yes.” Responding to Sean’s prediction: Do I smell DLC?

Does Zelda: Breath of the Wild release on Wii U before Switch?

Sean: No… though this is more just optimism. That being said, even though we both own Wii U’s, I feel like we’d also both rather wait and play it on the Switch, right?

Blake: If it isn’t a launch title for the Switch, I think the Wii U version will come out first. But yeah, I’d rather play it on the Switch.

Friend codes?

Sean: I sure hope not. If so, I think they deserve to stop making consoles.

Blake: I’d have said no… but Mario Run has them… My prediction is that they are there, but they aren’t the primary way of connecting with other players.

Do they dedicate part of their show to indie development?

Sean: Definitely. Expect a reel that sizzles.

Blake: Yeah.

Do they do skits?

Sean: Certainly!

Blake: Not this time.

Are there puppets?

Sean: I hope not. I want something even weirder this time out.

Blake: No, but maybe Reggie doing interpretive dance?

Will you be able to pre-order within a reasonable amount of time from the presentation? (It happens in the evening. So next morning should be it for brick and mortar stores, but online should be immediate)

Sean: No. That’s what a real publisher does, this is Nintendo. I expect not to be able to purchase one until no one is interested because Nintendo isn’t publishing enough games to keep the media and hardcore fans happy.

Blake: I’m going to say yes… but with some level of BS. Maybe a pre-order bus that only stops in select cities in random Best Buy parking lots?

Are there different colors?

Sean: Not yet! Two years from now? Definitely.

Blake: I’m going to say there are two color choices at launch, but one will be WAAAY harder to find than the other.

Persona 5?

Sean: I wish soooo very much that it was coming. But it’s not. This is the ideal system for this, as well as pretty much any JRPG. In fact, if the only games ever made for the system were JRPGs, I would consider that a solid use of the tech.

Blake: Sean nailed it.

Do they talk about if/how their mobile phone games interact with the Switch?

Sean: They don’t discuss this, because they simply don’t interact.

Blake: I think they’ll say something about Mario Run unlocking something in a Switch game.

Does Ubisoft have either a Rayman or Rabbids game available for launch?  

Sean: They have a game. I dunno about those, though. It’s Ubisoft, so it might be something even weirder, or shovel-ier.

Blake: Yes. Both of those. This is the thing I’m most sure about: Ubisoft.

Do they clarify details on the Wii U ports? (Do they have all the DLC, etc?)

Sean: Yes, I think they will. Not crystal clear, but there will be some new information about the relationship between Wii U versions and Switch versions.

Blake: Yes. They will reveal 2 or 3 of them, say that they come with all the extras the games’ got over their life on the Wii U, and something Switch exclusive.

Will there be an abundance of Splatoon footage that shows nothing new?  

Sean: I think it’s reasonable to believe they’ll show more than this. You have to remember just how little Nintendo has been working on the Wii U this past year. At this point, the Switch lineup is surprisingly far along, especially games that can use so much of Nintendo’s previous technology.

Blake: I think there will be a lot of Splatoon B-roll. It is the freshest looking game they’ve made in years, and they know it. There will be a fair amount of other stuff, too, but it will lean Splatoon.

3DS Ports?

Sean: Never gets mentioned.

Blake: Agree.

Do they talk about Amiibo?

Sean: Oh yes. Not how they’d be used or anything relevant like that, but some random ones get mentioned. If they show the release date for the Switch Smash Bros., we’ll also find out about the final lineup of Smash Amiibos.

Blake: I think we’ll see some in a sizzle reel, but that is it.

Do they talk about Netflix or other video streaming?

Sean: Yes. Mostly just because it’s another thing to say.

Blake: Yes, but I actually hope they don’t. At this point I expect my new washing machine to play Netflix. I don’t need it on the Switch.

Metroid: Dread?

Sean: Haha, good one, Blake.

Blake: *sobs*

Will there be Joy-con variations? (A variant with a proper D-pad, for example)

Sean: I don’t believe so, at least not now or mentioned during launch. Nintendo has to focus its messaging, and that starts getting confusing to people.

Blake: No. I think variations will happen, but not until a year or so into the Switch’s life.

Is the inevitable “Launch Window” longer than three months?

Sean: Oh definitely. The launch window is until nearly 2018, if you count all the delays.

Blake: Yeah. I’m saying 6 months and titles will miss it.

Will there be two SKUs?  

Sean: Here I think they’ll do something smart and keep to just one. That worked out so poorly for them with the Wii U that it feels like they’ll have learned their messaging at this point. They also seem bad enough at manufacturing one SKU, let alone two, so I suspect they go all in here.

Blake: Yes, but the only difference will be color. There won’t be two tiers like the Wii U.

Is one of them all but worthless?

Sean: If I’m wrong on the previous point, then yes. And they are already digging themselves a grave.

Blake: Yes, because the color will be LAME!

Will it cost more than $250? Less?

Sean: Exactly $250… and by exactly, I of course mean one cent less than.

Blake: $249.99. More would be an early death for the handheld/console.

Mario Maker?

Sean: Seems like a no-brainer.

Blake: Yeah. And I think it would be a great pack-in.

Street Pass?  

Sean: Seems like a … wait, what? Hmm. 8-Ball says the spirits are unclear, ask again later.

Blake: No.

Do they feature a third party “Mature/Hardcore” title? (Skyrim doesn’t count)

Sean: Yes, exactly one non-Skyrim hardcore title.

Blake: Yes. Something like The Devil’s Third that tries WAAAY to hard to attract the “core gamers”.

Does Nintendo resurrect a dead franchise? (See: Metroid)

Sean: No. They’re playing things super safe for year one of the Switch, and we won’t see that type of fun until 2018.

Blake: Yeah, no.

Achievements?

Sean: No.

Blake: No. Stamps!

MiiVerse?

Sean: Definitely.

Blake: STAMPS!

Voice chat?

Sean: Not mentioned. I do suspect it will be there in a slightly improved though still disappointing capacity, but they won’t bring it up themselves.

Blake: Again, we’ll see this in the sizzle reel. There will be some e-sportsy types playing Splatoon wearing headsets and talking hot strats.

Is there a Virtual Console subscription service?

Sean: Nope.

Blake: That would be cool! No.