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Early buzz for the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch will be released on March 3, but today a bunch of “pre-reviews” and unboxings hit the web. The hardware sounds great. The software? No one really knows.

Chris Plante, writing for The Verge:

The tablet summons that giddy feeling I got from Apple’s original iPhone, and long before both, Nintendo’s own original Game Boy. It’s beautiful, it’s simple, and it feels a bit like magic. Nintendo has long encouraged players to step outside, and now they’ve made a home console that allows for that. Relaxing in a lawn-chair in my backyard while tooling around an open-world Zelda feels luxurious […]

I just wish I could say the same about its software. A little over a week from launch, I can’t tell you a single thing about what it’s like to download games, play online with friends, or even format a microSD card. That is absurd. And while I know we will have answers, the fact that we don’t know at this point leaves me concerned, bordering on skeptical. It doesn’t help that Nintendo leadership can’t give clear answers to simple questions in Q&As.

Arthur Gies, writing for Polygon:

[T]he Switch’s online components, including account registration and retrieval, online play, wireless networking for protected hotspots and even the online store are not currently functional. These are locked behind a “day one” software update that Nintendo apparently expects to go live right around the same time the console goes on sale.

How functional this will actually be on day one is up for debate, as even Nintendo has admitted that online play will be more or less in beta until this fall. But that isn’t the only thing that feels unfinished about the Switch right now.

The biggest current issue with the Switch is one of basic reliability. Over the course of my time with Breath of the Wild, I’ve had repeated problems with the left Joy-Con controller partially or even completely losing sync from the Switch console while docked and connected to my television. This is a pain in the ass at best, but has also resulted in several deaths playing Breath of the Wild.

Sounds like Nintendo is going to pull another WiiU and issue a massive Day One patch to solve these hardware/software issues. Beyond basic functionality, it sounds like Nintendo is scrambling just to get this thing done on time.  A lot of these written impressions and tweets convey that the system feels unfinished. Maybe that feeling will go away eventually, but for now it really feels like they rushed the system to launch at the same time as Zelda: Breath of the Wild (a critical launch title, also coming out for WiiU), and not the other way around.