The Nintendo Switch is the hot topic in the gaming, but the Joy-Con controllers aren’t getting the attention they deserve. They could change the way we play forever.
Aside from console exclusive establishments, there isn’t a video game centric news medium in the world that isn’t going through the information we have on the Nintendo Switch with a fine tooth comb.
The games, the portability, the battery life, the as-yet-unconfirmed hardware power. Oh, and the controllers, which are pretty neat, but, back to the games…
The Joy-Con controllers deserve more attention because, as radical as the creation of a home-handheld-console hybrid is, the Joy-Con controllers could hold the key to gaming experiences that you simply cannot find on any other game console.
To summarise, the Joy-Con controllers can be used independently as two separate controllers, they can be fixed to the side of the Nintendo Switch Screen, detached and slid into the Grip to create a functional controller, or held freely in each hand to game equally as comfortably.
The right Joy-Con controller has a motion IR camera that can read distance and hand gestures. Both Joy-Con controllers benefit from HD Rumble, which can create the illusion that players are holding items.
Nintendo shows ice in a glass, which doesn’t do the technology justice. Having a more accurate rumble could substantially increase the immersion experienced in certain video games.
Imagine playing Arms and feeling the impact of hitting your opponent with the hand that lands hit. Or, imagine feeling the implied resistance of sticking a knife in the back of the enemy in a stealth game, with the rumble sliding up the controller. Splatoon 2 could use the rumble to allow players to feel their ink depleting.
Skyrim is a game that I really hope is fully invested in the hardware. Bethesda could use the HD Rumble and motion IR camera to simulate using a sword in-game, with vibrations at the exact location the sword would have hit. Arrows could be pulled back on bows. Dragons could be punched in the face. This could make Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch the best version available.
The HD Rumble technology will add an extra level of immersion that other consoles simply cannot offer due to their controllers being one unit.
The downside is, the HD Rumble is unlikely to ever reach its full potential if it is only utilised by Nintendo.
Nintendo is likely to create party and sports games firmly built around the technology, but third party developers are unlikely to deeply integrate the ability into their software, no matter how much I fantasise about Skyrim: John Santina Edition.
Like standard rumble, HD Rumble will eventually be used by Nintendo’s competitors and will become a cornerstone of the video game industry. VR platforms such as Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive could easily implement the ability into the next generation of their hardware, and it would take the experience to the next level.
But, for now, let’s enjoy what the Switch will be able to offer. Nintendo is one of the industry’s best innovators, and they are undoubtedly the company who will utilise their new technology to its potential.
I’m not sure how important ice in a glass will be, but you never know…