Saturday , 21 May 2022

Nintendo Switch Sports couldn’t be coming at a better time

Nintendo Switch Sports couldn’t be coming at a better time. Opinion: the new Wii Sports remake promises to be special.

Nintendo Switch Sports bowling

In case you’ve spent the past few days living under a Donkey Kong barrel, it’s finally happened. Nintendo has confirmed the upcoming release of Nintendo Switch Sports, a successor to one of the best-selling video games of all time, Wii Sports, even if it was a pack-in title.

As announced during the company’s first Nintendo Direct event of the year, the Wii game is getting a full refresh in time for an April 2022 release. And while some people may typically have mixed feelings about companies remaking their most popular games, it’s hard to deny that news of a Wii Sports remake has been incredibly well-received.

Finally, a worthy successor
Wii Sports

From what we’ve seen so far about the much-anticipated Nintendo Switch Sports, it’s set to reintroduce updated versions of fan-favorite minigames such as tennis and bowling. The newest installment will add badminton, soccer, volleyball, and chambara into the mix, while golf will also make a comeback later on this year as part of a free update.

All the sports will be available for online multiplayer, making them that much more competitive than ever before. That’s almost exciting enough to forgive the fact that my personal favorites, boxing and baseball, are both notably absent from the Switch version.

The original Wii version was and still is one of the best-selling video games in history. As it stands, it’s safe to assume that the Switch version is expected to sell well too. Apart from the painfully obvious fact that the Switch is the company’s current flagship device, there are several reasons why I believe that it’s the perfect console for a remake of the classic Wii game.

The Switch has outsold the Wii
A man bowling in Nintendo Switch Sports

First of all, Nintendo Switch Sports will be available to one of the largest player bases Nintendo has ever had, barring the various iterations of the Nintendo DS and the Game Boy.

As Nintendo announced during its latest financial results, the Japanese video game company sold 18.95 million Switch units so far this fiscal year. This means that overall, Nintendo has shipped 103.54 million units throughout the Switch’s lifecycle, outselling the Wii by 2 million.

The company also expects to sell even more consoles in the coming years, supported by how often Nintendo executives highlight that the Switch is only at the “mid-point of its life cycle”. And since it’s unlikely that we’ll see a Switch Pro model anytime soon, releasing Nintendo Switch Sports now makes perfect sense when the console is already so widely available.

The Joy-Con are perfect for exercise games
Close-up of Joy-Con controller

Looking back, another big part of Wii Sports’ success could boil down to how much people loved the Wii Remote. At the time, the iconic controllers were almost revolutionary, encouraging both children and parents to replace family nights with more engaging activities.

Enter the Joy-Con controllers.

Since the release of the Nintendo Switch, its dual wireless controllers have been a huge selling point for the device. The versatility of the controllers enables the Switch to work as a hybrid device that can be played either in handheld or docked mode, adding a certain level of convenience that other current-gen consoles cannot. The fact you also have two controllers from the get-go means multiplayer can be enjoyed without having to purchase another accessory.

The Joy-Con are much more technologically advanced than the Wii Remote. Both have motion-sensors that replace typical button inputs with movement, though the Joy-Con are significantly better in measuring this more accurately. Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure was a good example of how well the Joy-Con works with exercise-oriented games, and even used the rather underutilized IR sensor to measure your heart rate after a workout.

Incidentally, one of the accessories used in Ring Fit Adventure will also play a prominent role in Nintendo Switch Sports too. Physical copies of the game will include a leg strap, which users will be able to use to attach a single Joy-Con to their thigh for a more interactive experience in the football minigame. This feature won’t be available at launch though – it’s set to arrive in a later update.

Come out swinging
Playing Volleyball in Nintendo Switch Sports

Of course, the hardware used in the Joy-Con is by no means perfect. Nintendo recently confirmed during a Q&A session that Joy-Con drift – a well-known issue that causes the controller’s analog sticks to break down with constant use – is more or less unavoidable.

However, in Nintendo Switch Sports you’ll generally be using the Joy-Con controllers motion-sensing capabilities, and swinging them through the air, no matter how many times you do it, won’t cause any wear and tear.

Although the game is set to release in April, Nintendo is planning to hold a technical test on February 18-20 to ensure that its servers can accommodate a large user base. If you’re planning on participating, my advice would be to make sure that your Joy-Con straps are firmly secured to avoid breaking any TVs, something which was an all too common occurrence back when the Wii originally launched.

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