After months of speculation since their last event, Nintendo has finally taken off the wrappings of their newest console, the Nintendo Switch. It’s new, and definitely feels like a Nintendo console. But let’s delve into the nitty gritty of what this means for you–the consumer!
Release Date, Pricing, and Box Contents
As announced last night, the Nintendo Switch will release in North America and other territories on March 3rd, 2017. It’s going to be priced at $299 and will be available in two flavors, one with all a greyscale theme throughout and one with a pop of color with a Neon Red and Neon Blue Joy Con controller. Personally, I’m really digging the red and blue Joy con bundle.
The Box will actually contain the Nintendo Switch Console, a left and right Joy Con (the controller sticks that mount to the side of the console) a Nintendo Switch Dock which will allow you to play on the TV, a Joy-Con Grip that charges the Joy cons as well as transforms them into a traditional controller, an A/C Power adapter, HDMI cable, and Joy-Con Straps, which actually also feature a grip.
The Joy Con Controllers
The controllers themselves as revealed last night, actually feature a lot more than meets the eye. Each of them (both left and right) feature an accelmerator and gyroscope, very similar to how the Wii’s control stick worked. They also have individual shoulder buttons which are enhanced by the Joy-Con straps with the grip attached. Also of note is what’s known as “HD Rumble”, which Nintendo is claiming is precise enough to simulate the feel of different ice cubes following into a glass (as they demoed).
The right Joy Con controller has an IR motion camera that can actually determine the shapes as well as distances of objects–something really cool that the Wii and Wii U did not have. It should make for interesting games!
The Raw Specs
Nintendo didn’t really delve a whole lot into Raw Specs last night (it was a slick demo reel to get things started but later on they did reveal that it will in fact have a 6.2 inch, 1280×720 resoultion display (which supports true capacitive touch!). The console itself will output out to 1080p when docked up to a TV.
It’s got 32GB of storage (something that seems mightily weak compared to the 500GB on a PS4 and Xbox One) but can be expanded through microSD Card slots. The battery life is a bit of a bummer when in handheld mode, as you’re going to get three to six hours of battery life on a single charge. However, they’ve adopted the USB-C charging standard which should allow things to quickly be recharged (hopefully). I personally don’t see myself lugging this device around though and would probably leave it in a dock.
Nintendo revealed quite a few games last night, and finally gave us a release date for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild! It’s going to drop the same day as the Switch which was highly rumored and should be a pretty nice boost to the Switch when it drops on March 3rd.
Also revealed in a bit of detail was the next Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, which harkens back to the sandbox games Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Instead of being in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario has found his way into the real world, with beautiful results. This won’t be dropping till Holiday of this year, which isn’t surprising considering they’ll want a staple title to drive sales.
Also on the docket are 1-2 Switch, a party game that one of us described as a mash up of Wario Ware and Wii sports. It’s a competitive team based game that you each play with a Joy Con that really shows off everything the Joy Con has to offer. Perhaps more impressive was ARMS, a boxing game that allows you to control extendable boxing arms and duke it out in a arena. These will both be out at launch.
Splatoon 2 was also announced for the summer, adding new levels and weapons to the mix. Third party developers were also hand to showcase Skyrim(!), Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Project Octopath Traveler (Square Enix), Minecraft, NBA 2K18, Steep, Rime, Project Sonic 2017, and many more. Nintendo also stressed that over 50 companies are interested in developing for the Nintendo Switch, with more than 80 games already in development. This will be critical to the Switch’s success as third party support for the Wii U was pretty much nothing.
Other Interesting Things to Note
Nintendo is formally going to be charging for online play. While this seems to be a blow to what has always been a free service, Nintendo is offering a trial in March for players and will not start charging until the Fall of 2017. There hasn’t been any details regarding pricing but I would imagine it being similar to how Sony and Microsoft do pricing for their paid services.
You’ll get online Play, Online Lobby and Voice Chat, Exclusive Deals, and a free monthly game download from either the NES era or the SNES era. Something of note–apparently you will only get a month to play each game which is a far cry compared to what Microsoft and Nintendo offer (you get to keep the free games they offer).
The Nintendo Switch will also be Region Free! Importers are rejoicing that the new system will not be region locked, and is a smart move on Nintendo’s part.
Only time will tell. Pre-orders are available now and if you’re a true Nintendo fan, you’re already sold. I really hope that Nintendo is successful with this, because if they’re not, this might be the end of Nintendo as we know it.