After months of leaks, rumors, and rampant speculation, Nintendo officially revealed their next console, Nintendo Switch. Yes, this is the console that everyone previously knew as NX.
The “First Look” trailer (posted below) gave us a look at the console, controllers, and purpose, along with a few games, but didn’t go in-depth. The video was only 3:36, so there’s still plenty for Nintendo to show us in the coming months. Still, it’s great to have the damn thing in the open after “enjoying” so many rumors (many ending up accurate).
Nintendo’s video showed the console itself, which features a single screen (as opposed to DS/3DS’ two), two analogue sticks, and eight face buttons… although four appear to replace the standard D-Pad (which still appears on the “Pro” controller). Two shoulder buttons top the device along with two shoulder triggers (of sorts), not far from a plus and minus button (presumably Start and Select) and there’s an obvious “Home” button as well. Images are also showing a final button of unknown purpose, rumors painting it as functioning similar to PlayStation 4 controller’s “Share” button.
The guts of the console is provided by a custom Tegra processor from Nvidia. “The high-efficiency scalable processor includes an NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards,” the tech company wrote on their blog. I’ll leave a link to that page (located here) if you want to read about it, but Nvidia claims that “development encompassed 500 man-years of effort across every facet of creating a new gaming platform”.
A rumored technical list of the development kit is making the rounds, but who knows if it’s accurate. It’s worth noting that, if true, the Switch has a touch screen. Better yet, Nintendo ditched the resistive screens for Capacitive method common with most technology these days. If true.
I touched upon the controller elements of the device above, but it’s worth focusing on how Nintendo Switch is capable of “unlatching” the left and right controller segments (called “Joy-Con” by Nintendo, although I refuse) from the console’s body, allowing certain advantages. When setting the body onto a table (held up by a built-in stand), the controls can be detached and held similar to the Wii remote and nunchuk. The controls can also slide onto a shell that resembles a regular gamepad.
The video also revealed a “Pro” controller that works exactly as expected.
There’s also been talk around the internet about connecting different “Joy-Con,” such as one with a button layout similar to the GameCube’s controller for Super Smash Bros. players. It’s easy to imagine third-party manufacturers like Hori having a field day selling random controller segments.
NINTENDO SWITCH DOCK?
A mostly featureless rectangle, the Nintendo Switch Dock cradles the Nintendo Switch and is necessary to playing games on the television. There are two USB ports on the side, the purpose of them aren’t immediately clear. (It’s possible they’re there because everything needs USB ports these days.) It seems likely that the Dock will charge the Switch, but who knows if it contributes anything else, like increased hardware power. Maybe the Dock bumps the frame-rate from 30 to 60?
The trailer showed the action switching from television to Switch screen immediately, which is great should it work that way without delay.
Nintendo’s trailer showcased a handful of games, specifically The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (presumably the upcoming Remastered version), and a new Super Mario title. Mario Kart and Splatoon were also shown, but it’s difficult to determine whether they’re “remastered” ports of the Wii U versions with added content or sequels. USGamer also claims that the NBA game is NBA2K, and I don’t have enough familiarity with that franchise to disagree.
In addition, Nintendo released a list of publishers and developers signed to work on Nintendo Switch. Many are obvious — Sega, Capcom, Activision, Electronic Arts — and others are less so. Has any modern Nintendo console seen support from Bethesda or Take Two? I’ve already seen a few people excited about From Software hopefully bringing Dark Souls over. Same for Atlus and Persona 5.
The other companies are 505 Games (Terraria, Rocket League), Arc System Works (BlazBlue, Chase: Cold Case Investigations), Bandai Namco (Tales of, Pac-Man), Codemaster (F1 2016, Dirt Rally), Frozenbyte (Trine), Gametrust (Song of the Deep), Grasshopper Manufacture (Killer Is Dead, Liberation Maiden), Gung Ho Entertainment (Puzzle & Dragons).
Hamster, Inti Creates (Azure Striker Gunvolt, Bloodstained), Koei Tecmo (Hyrule Warriors, One Piece), Konami (Pachinko, Pachinko, Pachinko), Level-5 (Yo-kai Watch, Professor Layton), Marvelous (Harvest Moon, Rune Factory), Maximum Games (Sniper Elite, Farming Simulator), Nippon Ichi (Disgaea, Criminal Girls).
Parity Bit, Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Wonderful 101), Spike Chunsoft (Danganronpa, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon), Square Enix (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest), Starbreeze (Chronicles of Riddick, Payday 2), Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, Minecraft: Story Mode), THQ Nordic, Tokyo RPG Factory (I Am Setsuna), TT Games (every modern Lego game), Ubisoft (Rocksmith, Watch Dogs), and WB Interactive (Lego, Batman).
That’s a decent collection, but it’ll take time before we discover what this support means. Original games or ports of games that people have already played? Games that take advantage of the hardware? We won’t know until later, whenever Nintendo shows off the console more.
No idea. I’m personally hoping for something close to $300-350, especially since the competition is sitting at $300 with games packed-in. We do know that Nintendo isn’t planning on selling the new console at a loss, although it’s unknown what that means exactly. Either the Switch won’t be terribly expensive to manufacture, so they’ll be able to sell it at a decent price, or it will be expensive to manufacture and the price will reflect that.
Or they’ve changed their mind since and will be taking a loss. Nintendo has a shareholders meeting next week, so it’s possible they’ll talk about this soon.
Despite rumors of Switch being pushed back, Nintendo confirmed a March 2016 release. We don’t know if that’s a worldwide launch or if March refers to only certain regions.
There’s so much that we don’t know yet, but I’m excited. I love my handhelds, so one where I can immediately switch to television is awesome. That being said, there’s still the question of what kind of games Nintendo Switch will draw.
Although I imagine Nintendo has hopes of attracting similar support as the competition, there’s no denying that many of my favorite games are the more niche content difficult to find on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and their predecessors). These include the likes of 999, Phoenix Wright, and Hotel Dusk. Will they find a home on this new hardware or be squeezed out by bigger-budget games like Skyrim? Will they transition to mobile, where I’ll probably never play them? I suppose it’s too early to worry about that.
I’ll hope for the best, at least until Nintendo gives me a reason not to.