Why isn't my son more excited about Nintendo Switch?

TVs

by Scott Stein February 10, 2017 4:00 AM PST @jetscott

Are you excited, I ask?

He shrugs. "Yes."

What, you don't like the Switch? I ask him after showing him the trailer. What do you think?

"So so," he says.

My 8-year-old son is a Nintendo fan. He loves the Wii U, and plays several times a week. And yet he's ambivalent about the Nintendo Switch, the next gaming system arriving in less than a month. He hasn't played one yet. But he's watched the videos, seen the games, and is not wowed by the pitch. What's going on here?

I can't help wondering if Nintendo is going to have a harder time winning kids over to the Switch than I thought.

14 We finally got our hands on Nintendo's funky Switch console

Curiously, Nintendo's first Switch videos didn't feature any grade school age children. Its latest Super Bowl extended ad does, fleetingly: playing with grown-ups in games like Mario Kart 8 and the robo-boxing game Arms. Is the Switch made for kids? It seems to be looking at a different audience: millennials. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime suggested the Switch is targeted at young adults with disposable income. That's not my 8-year-old son. Or, even, me.

My kid wanted the NES Classic, which I couldn't find over the holiday. He loves Super Mario Run. But he keeps showing ambivalence toward the Switch.

Here's what my son says about the Nintendo Switch:

"It's a lot of money. Kids can't really get it because it's really expensive." (I remind him that it's $300, while the Wii U is $250. And, anyway, he doesn't buy his own game systems.) "It's still fifty dollars more expensive!""But I think it can do really cool things, like the new Mario game.""A lot of games are a lot like ones on Wii U, like Mario. But there are tons of Mario Wii U games, and Zelda, and Mario Kart."

According to my son, he likes the Wii U because it has "lots of really cool games," and he can play with friends. One of his favorites, amazingly, is NintendoLand: Yes, the 2012 Wii U pack-in game that I originally wrote off as a bunch of demo minigames. That game has more multiplayer modes and depth than I ever expected, and he's never gotten tired of it. In the end, NintendoLand was a lot like the Wii's Wii Sports -- for kids, at least.

Can 1-2 Switch, a game that isn't even a free pack-in game for the Switch, do the same? We haven't played more than a few of the oddball game's mini-challenges. It's trying to be a party experience, a casual social game and more.

Hands-on reactions to the Nintendo Switch

Jeff Bakalar and Scott Stein just spent hours playing Nintendo Switch and have opinions on the hardware, software and what the future of the platform will look like.

by Jeff Bakalar

8:02

Close

Drag

I ask my son whether he'd want iPad-like features on the Switch, and he says he does: a chance to play movies, or read books, or try other types of apps. But I think all he wants are a lot of great games. After all, he's not usually paying for his own games with an allowance anyway -- not yet, at least.

Maybe he sees the Switch and wonders why he'd need one if he has a Wii U. Maybe he just sees it as a weird variant of the iPad sitting on our coffee table.

Was he impressed with the Switch ad? He's wary. "Sometimes when you watch ads and you really want to get something, when you get it, you might realize you don't really want it and you spent a lot of money on something you don't really want."

Maybe it'll take a lot more than a couple of launch games to convince my son. How many other kids are feeling the same? Or, maybe the Switch isn't even meant for them yet: the Nintendo 3DS is sticking around as the affordable handheld. Nintendo's game selection so far for the Switch seems completely kid-friendly, but there just don't seem to be enough games right off the bat. Is Nintendo trying to slow-play the Switch or buy time while the 3DS and Wii U hold the fort? How many will even be available to buy at launch?

It's odd. Nintendo's been incredibly kid-focused for decades. Is it trying to hedge with the Switch, or appeal to the fans first?

All I know is, based on the pitch alone, my son isn't sold yet.

Nintendo Switch hands-on preview: Nintendo's new games console wants to be your only one, bridging handheld and TV.

Best mobile games of 2016: It was a vintage year for gaming on your phone.

CNET First Take

Nintendo Switch It's a handheld, it's a tablet, it connects to your TV. Will the Nintendo Switch be the do-everything game system? Here's what we know after playing with one.

See it

photo Why isn't my son more excited about Nintendo Switch? images

photo of Why isn't my son more excited about Nintendo Switch?

Relax Why isn't my son more excited about Nintendo Switch? stories

23 Apple TV tips you'll thank us for

The Apple TV is a seriously easy device to use and adds tons of value to your entertainment system. Below are 20 tips and tricks which will make navigating and using your Apple TV even easier.

How to get your TV ready for Super Bowl 2017

The Super Bowl is coming up soon. Chances are you'll be watching it on a TV, possibly along with a bunch of other people. Here's how to get the most out of the biggest TV viewing experience of the year.

More stories

Recent Post