Monkey's Musings: Splatoon2 is Nintendo's Branch into Esports
*DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece.*
Over the past few days, I had the absolute pleasure of being invited by Nintendo UK to try out the Switch at a flagship event. It was phenomenal and I cannot thank them enough for the chance to check out their new console, hitting stores across the globe on March 3.
One of the games coming out for the Switch this summer "Splatoon2," a successor to the Wii U title "Splatoon," which gained a decent amount of attention around the world. Splatoon was such a hit that companies, like Gfinity, hosted a Splatoon esports event that, although a one-off, showed the potential of such a game as an esport.
In the reveal trailer for the Switch back in October, Nintendo showcased Splatoon2 briefly before anyone knew if it was a sequel or an updated port, similar to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The latest version of Mario Kart was a recently-revealed Switch game that is a port of the Wii U game of the similar name, only with a few bonus characters, tracks and an improved battle system.
From the event, I was able to garner interest in the Nintendo Switch and Splatoon2's possible entry into esports. From the Alpha build of the game currently on display, I would say it's possible for Splatoon2 to become a console based esport, if most of what I saw remains in the game and Nintendo tries to push it in a similar fashion to the Gfinity event.
The game, in its current build, seems to take from Call of Duty, with a loadout menu just before going into games, letting you choose on the fly what style of play you want for the upcoming matches. With Nintendo insisting the game will have voice chat capabilities, it offers up a new ball game for a company that was once hesitant to invest in online infrastructure. This means that the prospect of Nintendo further investing in an esports scene around the game to push copies and consoles is incredibly possible.
Additionally, the fine-tuning of controls and the pace of the game made it a far more enjoyable viewer sport than the previous title. I found myself watching games in what appeared to be a spectator mode, and it was a joy to watch.
Regardless, everything that I saw from this game at the event is shaping into something grand. We just have to wait and see if Nintendo wants to pump the money and resources into making its reveal trailer a reality.
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