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  1. #1

    Industrial Design: The Switch

    There's been plenty of talk about the switch. Is it powerful enough? The battery... the screen... the controller, but so far I haven't really seen anyone talk about the actual design of the console.
    My first impressions were good. It's certainly not a stunner like the new Xbox One S or the Surface Studio, or most anything Apple makes, but it also wasn't offensive.
    However, as I am wont to, I started buying it in my mind, and hooking it up in my entertainment center. It'd go on the top of my entertainment center, on the left. Slightly angled so that everyone could see it in all its... erm... okay-ness. It was a new gadget, after all, I'd want to show it off, right?
    But what about a year from now? 2? 3? Am I still going to want that sticking up as the centerpiece of my entertainment center? Probably not. Which is where it's problem is. The dock only has one orientation, and it's tall and wide. It won't fit anywhere inside the entertainment center, and you can't turn it profile to minimize the footprint, because the wires would come out of the wrong place. It demands that centerpiece position in your setup for as long as it exists. And that's a bad thing.

  2. #2
    The Xbox One was widely criticized for its design when it was released. It was boring, just a black rectangle. It looked like a VCR! But that's the thing: once you put it alongside your receiver and your DVD player, it just disappeared, and that's what it _should_ do.
    Hopefully I'm wrong, but it is actually making me consider whether or not I'll get a Switch.

  3. #3
    This of course is based on the assumption that the Switch is a non-mobile console, like the Xbox One. But it isn’t- it’s meant to transition easily from stationary to portable, and the industrial design reflects this. It’s the exact opposite of the Xbox One on purpose.

  4. #4
    Again, you’re missing the point of the Switch. It’s meant to be dual purpose, and easily so. The design of the dock is to always remind and allow the user to take the console with them, and not tether it to a fixed location.
    The dual nature of the console is its selling point. It would be churlish to build a dock that gives it an Xbox-esque aesthetic when they’re promoting the exact opposite of what Microsoft is.
    The Xbox One was designed to fit into entertainment center because Microsoft want you to use the Xbox as the centre of your home entertainment. Nintendo want you to game anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

  5. #5
    This is almost certainly why they did it, I just don’t think it’s a good move. The option to have it sit like it does is great, but so is the option to have it co-exist with the rest of your equipment. Nintendo has decided that one of those is no longer an option, and that’s the problem.
    More cynically, Nintendo wants everyone that visits you to notice their console, so they designed it in a way that it has to be the center of attention. And I don’t like paying someone to advertise for them.

  6. #6
    I think his argument is that he’s not unique in how he uses things – few people are, and the counter-arguments to arguments like this usually amount to that. "You’re the only one who thinks that". Humans are pack animals; we mostly do the same things as other people. If he was really so unique, he’d probably be living off in the woods somewhere.
    Every industrial design goes through questions like this – I’m sure Nintendo actually had meetings about it, and focus groups asking people how they would actually use a design like this. Obviously they determined that this was the best overall design they could come up with. That doesn’t make them automatically right. Just because a product exists doesn’t mean it has the best possible design.
    So you can debate that, but it’s not very helpful to denigrate somebody because they perceive a flaw in a design that prohibits a certain type of use that’s almost certainly pretty common. Lots of people do like to stash their game consoles in a cabinet somewhere.

  7. #7
    Also, the way you’re "meant to" use something is basically irrelevant. That’s really no different than Apple’s "you’re holding it wrong" stance about the iPhone. Nintendo’s trying to create a whole new paradigm with how we use and perceive game systems. You can’t blame someone if they’re intentionally not completely on board with that. One of the modes of this system is home play. If someone just wants to use it as a home console because they like Zelda or whatever and this is the latest system to play it on, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no "point" to be missed here.

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