Nintendo Turns To Indies With 'Nindies Showcase'

Nintendo published an 18-minute-long Nindies Showcase to highlight some of the indie games heading to the upcoming Switch console.

Switch will debut on March 3 with just a few physical releases: 1-2 Switch, Super Bomberman R, Just Dance 2017, and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That isn't bad for a launch day lineup--remember when the Nintendo 64 was released with just Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64?--but it does put the Switch well behind established rivals like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nintendo seems to hope that indie titles will help fill in the blanks.

It might just be right. Switch offers many features that its rivals don't. Besides the obvious ability to be used as a home console or handheld device, Switch also supports motion controls; allows for easy multiplayer thanks to the detachable controllers; features precise haptic feedback Nintendo decided to curse with the HD Rumble moniker; and boasts a 6.2" touchscreen in addition to the physical controllers on either side of the display.

Many of the indie games Nintendo highlighted focus on that HD Rumble. This could be a small thing--better vibrations aren't all that important to many titles--but it could also enable more physically stimulating experiences on the Switch. Overcooked: Special Edition, for example, promises to let players "feel every chop through a tomato and the slosh of soup in a pot," but the main draw is that a well-regarded multiplayer game is now more portable.

The same could be said for the news that the Switch will be the first console with support for popular farming sim Stardew Valley's upcoming multiplayer gameplay. If the multiplayer is possible through just one Joy-Con Controller per player, this could take Stardew Valley from lonely masterpiece to communal pass-time. No other console makes playing a game with friends as easy (especially on-the-go) as the Switch and its Joy-Con Controllers will.

But those are just bonuses. Nintendo called out the main benefit of wooing indies when it said in a press release that this will "deliver a steady flow of unique and original experiences to Nintendo eShop." Switch's debut is bound to be rocky: it won't even have the Virtual Console at launch, for example, and so far the most anticipated releases are either sequels to Wii U games (Splatoon 2) or re-releases (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) or kinda weird (Arms). Even Breath of the Wild, the most hyped launch title, isn't exclusive to the Switch. It will also be released on the Wii U on March 3.

Switch owners will also have to wait a while for Nintendo's flagship franchises. Super Mario Odyssey isn't set to be released until the holiday season, and new entries to popular series like Super Smash Bros. haven't even been announced, to say nothing of the noticeable lack of a new Metroid title. Third-party devs will have to help make those waits seem a little shorter. Support for and from Unreal Engine will help on the AAA side of things; videos like this Nindies Showcase and Nintendo's willingness to work more with small developers is likely to help bring more indie titles to the console, too.

Switch will debut on March 3 and retailers like GameStop and Best Buy have said they have limited quantities to sell to people who couldn't pre-order the console.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • iam2thecrowe
    I will buy it if there's a cut down version with no portable tablet/screen, basic controller and is half the price and is capable of playing all it's games in native 1080p. Otherwise its just doesn't have good enough spec's compared to the similarly priced PS4/pro. It is just not worth what you pay for it, just to have a few exclusive titles. Plus with the ps4 you get blueray/media playback and app support for netflix etc. Pretty much all my ps3 has ever got used for is a blueray player, netflix, media player and the kids play minecraft and skylanders on it.