With the Nintendo Switch now publicly detailed and heading towards its March 3 release date, for those in the sports gaming community the focus has shifted towards game options, both short & long-term.
During the Nintendo Switch Presentation and subsequent release of console and game information, only two sports titles for the console were announced: EA SPORTS FIFA and NBA 2K18. Both are scheduled for a fall 2017 release with 2K18 detailed for a September release.
During the life-cycle of both the Nintendo Wii and Wii U, 3rd party titles were lacking, specifically in the sports realm. While EA SPORTS began making titles for the Wii, they were often considered lacking features, if not watered down ports of the console version(s).
While there is some speculation that EA SPORTS FIFA on the Switch will be built off of the PS3/360 versions of the title (speculation EA denies, by the way), NBA 2K18 will reportedly include many of the same features as the PS4/XB1 version: MyPLAYER, MyCAREER, MyTEAM, MyLEAGUE, and MyGM.
Part of the reason sports games have failed (at least long-term) on the two previous Nintendo consoles have been due to a vicious self-fulfilling cycle:
- Developers expect/are concerned sales will be low/small, causing them to allocate a small(er) amount of resources to development.
- Due to the games being a port or watered-down version (if one is even made at all), sales for the title are low and do not warrant expanded or continued development.
Until developers are/can make the Switch version fully-featured - either matching their PS4/XB1 version or creating one specifically designed for the console - the chances for sports titles to thrive long-term on the Switch seem very low.
However, the console technology has some very unique and noteworthy features, including the ability to play on the go, a bevy of sensors within each Joy-Con, et al. The potential is there for developers should they decide to invest in it and are creative within development. Generally speaking, developers have been very creative and successful for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles as well as with mobile devices & gaming. The same creativity from developers have yet to make its way to the last two Nintendo consoles and if it continues, could be detrimental to the Nintendo Switch's chances of long-term success.
Perhaps the best chance of sports games success would be for Nintendo to develop their own sports titles as a first-party publisher to help make them unique from the offerings developed by 2K SPORTS and EA SPORTS, among others. While this seems extremely unlikely, it would harken back to the days of Nintendo titles such as Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. A focus on fun yet detailed sports gaming could draw in those who have fallen out of favor with the in-depth simulation titles such as NBA 2K, Madden NFL, etc.
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- View the Nintendo Switch Presentation from January 12 here:
- The console will be released on March 3, 2017 with a MSRP of $299.99. Click here for list of peripherals and their cost.
- Here is a look at the current tentative game release schedule for the Nintendo Switch:
- Nintendo Switch games and accessories are currently available for pre-order on Amazon with game discounts available for Prime members.