While it feels like it hasn’t been that long ago, we now have substantial information on Nintendo’s next new console. I’ve combed over all of Thursday night’s Switch Presentation and all the information I could chew on to bring a comprehensive guide to what you need to know before spending all that green on this next big thing.
Something to keep in mind is that a lot of what was revealed and detailed have tentative windows of release associated with them, so information may change, especially in the next few days with demo events occurring and press finally being able to get their questions answered.
Pricing and Availability
Thankfully, Nintendo understood what we were all there for and quickly cut to the chase. The Nintendo Switch releases on March 3rd of this year. The console will be sold at the previously indicated price point of $299.99 in the US. What does that chunk of change get someone? The console itself, 2 Joy-Con controllers (more on this later), the Switch Dock, Joy-Con grip, and wrist straps for the Joy-Con. The necessary cables are also included. No game is packed in at all, or at least has not been indicated at this point.
Accessory prices were detailed as well, and you might get a bit of a sticker shock. The not-included Pro Controller that just so happens to have a proper D-Pad is $70. If you want an extra Switch dock for another room, that will set you back $90. Two extra Joy Con (one left and one right) will be $80, please.
As for where you can get it? That’s a little bit more tricky. Some sites such as Best Buy opened pre-orders immediately following the presentation, and other retailers will become available throughout Friday. I previously wrote some tips on how to track down and secure the pre-order.
Performance and Features
Many of the Switch’s features were detailed, and more were provided online following the presentation. While the primary focus of the console is the seamless shift between docked and handheld modes, Nintendo had more tricks to show off. The Switch can be set up to be played multiple different ways, and even is capable of locally connecting up to eight units for local multiplayer. Most of these functions exist for convenience and don’t really come off as too complicated.
Nintendo did not detail the chipset powering the Switch, but filing documents suggest the console is running a modified version of Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip. While in portable mode the battery life will vary, according to Nintendo. Right now, the battery is expected to run anywhere from 2 ½ hours to 6 ½ hours, depending on what is being played. On their site, Nintendo indicates that Breath of the Wild will reduce the battery time to 3 ½ hours as an example. Storage is a little bit tricky as well. Switch will come with a 32 GB micro SD card, but memory can be expanded to 128 GB; which is still much smaller than the lowest tier memory option for the Xbox One or Playstation 4. There are two USB 2.0 ports on the Switch dock, but the Switch itself charges using USB C.
According to Nintendo, the real star are the Joy-Con controllers. Each unit has all buttons necessary to be a fully functional controller for multiplayer; and do look bigger in action than in the original reveal. Each one has different functions when not playing multiplayer in this way. The right Joy-Con has an NFC reader for amiibo compatibility and an IR sensor capable of detecting objects. The left Joy-Con has a new button, meant for capturing. At launch, players will only be able to capture screenshots, but Nintendo has indicated that video capture will be added later. The Joy-Con also have new rumble technology intended to create specific haptic feedback to add depth and detail to an experience.
This is where things start to get tricky. Nintendo will be charging a fee for online services granting features such as online multiplayer. However, that fee will not be issued for early console adopters. From the console’s launch to “Fall,” no fees will be charged. It seems likely that Nintendo wants to make sure things are stable before charging for the service.
There are some curiosities to this, however. At the time of this writing, I have not been able to lock down what type of networks the Switch will support (both the PS4 and Xbox One support networks up to 5Ghz), and previous accessory leaks indicate the Switch dock does not have a LAN port.
Another detail about this subscription also gives some indication of the future of Nintendo’s Virtual Console. According to the Nintendo website, subscribers will be given an NES or SNES game to play. As of this writing, the site includes language suggesting these games will only be playable in the same month; which seems strange. Other consoles have their own services like this, but they allow players to download and play the provided games on their time.
Also revealed as a result is that some SNES games will be updated versions that include online multiplayer. The first of these will be Ultra Street Fighter II, which will also receive new content.
What about the games?
Many titles were announced at the presentation, followed by more immediately following. Most still come from Nintendo’s own development teams and partners, but Nintendo claimed that third parties currently have a combined 80 titles in development. That ‘in development’ part is important because, as we saw with the Wii U prior, third parties are more than willing to heel-turn if they think a console is floundering.
In addition, several of these titles are ports. That doesn’t sound too bad, seeing as the dignified competition has spent three years stocking their libraries with remasters and many people didn’t get to play the Wii U’s best titles.
The following titles are set for the launch period (March):
1, 2, Switch
I Am Setsuna
Just Dance 2017
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Snipperclips, Cut It Out, Together!
Super Bomberman R
The following titles have been confirmed for release in 2017 with dates or release windows:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
LEGO City Undercover
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Super Mario Odyssey
This last batch of games have been announced, but have no release schedule:
Disgaea 5 Complete
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Dragon Quest X
Dragon Quest XI
Dragon Quest Heroes 1 + 2
Fire Emblem Warriors
Minecraft: Story Mode
No More Heroes Follow Up
Project Octopath Traveler
Rayman Legends Definitive Edition
Shin Megami Tensei Sequel
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
There is sure to be more revealed as we come even closer to the launch date of the Switch. From what I can tell so far from online buzz, it looks like Nintendo managed to excite a lot of fans and irritate others as this company does like no other. There are some truly promising games on tap, and the actual Switch mechanic is still a simple to use and understand mechanic, even if Nintendo didn’t really show it off during the presentation. How do you feel about the Nintendo Switch? Are you already planning on picking it up on March 3rd, or are you going to be like me and hold out for that sweet, sweet Splatoon? Let us know in the comments!