Updated: The Nintendo Switch livestream is live right now!
The Nintendo Switch could be one of the most revolutionary consoles ever released – as revolutionary as the Nintendo DS handheld or the Nintendo 64.
And, thanks to the Nintendo Switch presentation that took place during Thursday night, we know it will be available March 3, 2017 and will retail for $299.99 and will no longer be region-locked to a specific geographic location.
Everything we officially knew about the console came from its announcement trailer (which you can watch below), but no longer.
According to the presentation, Nintendo revealed that the Switch will have several modes of play including TV Mode, Tabletop Mode where the console stands up on its kickstand and Handheld Mode, where multiple people can play simultaneously. Nintendo says the Switch will be touchscreen, have Wi-Fi and can connect up to eight other Switch systems.
The controllers are named Joy-Con, and they are the most capable pads Nintendo has ever introduced. First off, the Joy-Con Controller can break apart into two sections. Each section can read amiibo figures and can be used as a fully functional gamepad, but each side has its specialty. The right side has an IR blaster built into the bottom of the controller and scan objects. During the presentation Nintendo said the controller could recognize hand gestures, for example, and would know the difference between rock, paper and scissors. The left side will have rumble HD, an advanced version of haptic feedback. Finally, the Joy-Con will come in two colors: neon red and neon blue.
Cut to the chaseWhat is it? Nintendo’s newest consoleWhen is it out? Officially March 3, 2017,What will it cost? $299.99 in the US, no pricing for UK and AustraliaNintendo Switch release date
The Switch presentation revealed that the console will launch worldwide on March 3, 2017, which agrees with what Nintendo had previously announced in its earnings call earlier this year.
The system will launch first in the US, Japan, parts of Europe, Canada, Hong Kong and several other countries.
Nintendo Switch Price
We now know that Nintendo Switch will cost $299.99 – a bit higher than some wanted, but well within reason for a new console.
As for European pricing, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima says “ask your local retailer for specific price details.” But it’s reasonable to assume that it will be a rough translation of the US price.
In the past, high initial price tags were the biggest roadblock for Nintendo’s most recent portable and home consoles, and we’re hoping that the Switch isn’t prohibitively expensive.
Nintendo’s previous generation of consoles, the DS and Wii, gained traction by launching at $150 and $250 (£99.99 and £179.99) respectively, so whether it’s focused on dominating your living room or your public transportation commute, Nintendo knows where the sweet spot lays for pricing its consoles.
Nintendo Switch games
We have a few different avenues to learn about the games that are coming to the Switch. The latest is from the Nintendo Switch presentation, which detailed Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2, three totally unrevealed games.
When the Switch was debuted on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, we got the chance to see the newest Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, in action. From what we saw, the game is as visually stunning as you could hope a Legend of Zelda title would be with an expansive game world and it played well on the large screen in Fallon’s studio.
As well as giving us our first look at the console, the official trailer also gave us a great look at a number of the console’s games.
We saw a version of what appeared to be Skyrim, a basketball game, the new Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, and an all new Mario game in the style of classic Mario 64.
Images of official third party accessories for the Nintendo Switch recently leaked online and though they include the usual generic chargers and cases that it’s hard to get excited about, there are a couple worth noting.
The first is a Legend of Zelda console skin which has a March 2017 release date, suggesting the game itself might be released around this time to accompany it. The second is an arcade-style gaming pad which points towards plans for a good old-fashioned fighting game.
A recent listing of the Switch console on the GameStop retail site has hinted that we could see a Pokemon title come to the console, adding to previous rumors that a directors’ cut of Sun and Moon called Stars was planned for Switch release.
Spotted by a NeoGAF user, the description of the console on the GameStop website read “Nintendo Switch games will include new title offerings from Mario, Splatoon, Zelda, the NBA and more! You will even be able to play Skyrim on the go, or Pokémon at home with the Nintendo Switch.”
Hopefully the existence of the Pokemon title will be confirmed or denied in this week’s big press conference.
Nintendo of America has tweeted that a special installment of Treehouse Live dedicated to Nintendo Switch games will show on January 13 at 9:30 am ET, only a few hours after the full Switch press conference.
The livestream will show on Twitch and YouTube and will give “an in-depth look at upcoming games featured in the Nintendo Switch presentation.” Whether the games featured will be purely launch titles, or whether they’ll include games we can expect to see at some point down the line is unclear but it’s an exciting prospect.
As good as the console might claim to be, the real pull for many consumers will come from the games it’s able to offer.
Interestingly a couple of these games, including Mario Kart, appear to be ports of Wii U games. In the weeks that followed the launch, further reports backed up the suggestion that Wii U ports would feature heavily in the console’s catalogue. Reliable Switch leaker Laura Kate Dale revealed that fan favorite Super Smash Bros. would make the jump to the new console within six months of the console’s launch, along with the game’s remaining associated Amiibo.
Another point is how prominently the trailer showed off Skyrim, which is the kind of adult game that Nintendo has tended not to make a priority on its consoles, although after company subsequently failed to confirm whether the game is actually coming to the console, it now appears as though they have something in the works for it, even if they won’t confirm exactly what it is.
Perhaps most excitingly, we’ve also had rumors that a full Pokémon RPG will be making its way to the Switch in what is a first for home consoles. Allegedly this will be an enhanced version of the excellent Pokémon Sun and Moon, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Dark Souls is apparently another series that might come to the Switch. Apparently Dark Souls 3 has already been made to run on the console, and discussions are occurring about whether to release the entire trilogy on the console with all its DLC bundled in.
We also saw games being played competitively in a multiplayer setting, which may indicate Nintendo’s intention to make eSports a focus of the console.
In addition to the trailer, Nintendo has also sent out a list of all the developers and publishers who are planning to support the Switch.
There are a lot of companies on the list that we’re not surprised to see such as Activision, EA and Ubisoft, but it’s more surprising to see a company like FromSoftware, developers of the Dark Souls series, on the list, due to its focus on more adult games.
Here’s every game you can expect on the Nintendo Switch.Nintendo Switch features
Nintendo has always been a company willing to do its own thing. While Sony and Microsoft have fought over having the more powerful machines, Nintendo has focussed its attention on interesting controllers and 3D displays.
The Switch looks like a very unique console indeed.
In recent years Nintendo has developed a bit of a problem with its attention being split across its consoles and its handhelds. The Nintendo Switch console will be a hybrid between the two, and might just solve this problem.
In other words what the console will be able to do is allow you to take it on the go, and then ‘dock’ it when you’re back home in order to seamlessly transition to using it like a traditional console. When we saw a live demonstration of the console on Jimmy Fallon’s tonight show, the transition between handheld and console appears to be as fast and seamless as it was in the official trailer.
Nintendo should have just one piece of hardware to focus its attention on, and this should help it maintain a better level of focus.
When played as a handheld, you attach two controller portions to the side of what is rumored to be a 6.2″ 720p multi-touch screen, which feature a ‘split’ d-pad.
These can then be detached when your dock the console, at which point you can either play the console with a more traditional controller, which features a more traditional Nintendo d-pad, or reassemble the detached controller handles into a gamepad.
Additionally the dock will allegedly contain an additional fan, which will help to cool the console, allowing it to run at a faster clock speed while docked and not running on battery power.
This faster clock speed means that the processing power of the console will increase, allowing it to output at 1080p resolutions on an external televisions.
The Switch will apparently connect to the dock using a modern USB-C connector.
The dock itself will reportedly be cheap, allowing people to have multiple units connected to different TVs throughout the house.
You can detach the controller handles to use with the console while it’s in tablet mode.
Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has confirmed that the console will see a wide array of accessories, which some have taken to mean that we’ll see multiple detachable controller types.
Nintendo has confirmed that you won’t be able to use the tablet to create a dual-screen gaming experience similar to the Gamepad with the Wii U. Instead, the Switch will be an completely single-screen experience “on whatever screen you might choose.”
From the looks of this controller it might be equipped with detachable handles, but this wasn’t made explicit in the trailer.
The trailer also confirmed the fact that the console will feature games sold on a cartridge rather than a disc.
Unfortunately this means that the console won’t be physically backwards compatible.
The trailer didn’t mention a major rumor that was doing the rounds about the console supporting VR after the company admitted it was “researching” VR technology, according to someone who was present.
Twitter’s NStyles attended the meeting in Kyoto and claims Nintendo’s Shigeru Minamoto said Nintendo was researching VR but has concerns about users playing for long periods of time.
Rumors about the console being powered by an Nvidia chip appear to be correct. The graphics card company has revealed in a blog post that the console is powered by a custom Tegra chip.
Nintendo Switch accessories
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, third party gaming accessory manufacturer, Snakebyte, revealed that it would be creating accessories for the Switch console.
Considering Snakebyte has released accessories for the Wii U and the New 3DS, this is hardly surprising. On the CES show floor, the company is displaying accessory bundles it says have been “designed to enhance the portable nature of the Switch console.”
Snakebyte is only announcing two products in the Switch accessory range which are a foldable gaming headset and a Starter Kit.
The headset has been designed to fold up, making it the perfect companion for the Switch when it’s in its portable mode.
The Starter Kit has everything a new Switch owner will need to take care of their console and make the most of it, including a carry case, earbuds, a cleaning cloth, screen protectors, and game cases.
Unfortunately, these basic accessories don’t tell us much more about the Switch console itself but we don’t have long to wait until the big January reveal.
Snakebyte doesn’t have price points for the accessories just yet, but they’re expected to be released in Spring 2017 so that players can purchase them alongside the console on day one.
Nintendo Switch specs
Thanks to a Nvidia blog post we know the console is powered by a custom Tegra chip, which was also found in the Nvidia Shield, but unfortunately neither Nvidia nor Nintendo have provided any further details on how powerful the chip is.
Nvidia’s desktop GPU’s have seen a substantial upgrade recently, and there was some home that this upgrade would carry through to Tegra, but this hasn’t been confirmed, and seems unlikely given the specs we’ve seen.
What we do know are the clock speeds that the CPU and GPU will run at. The CPU has a clock speed of 1020MHz in both docked and undocked modes, but the GPU sees more of a change, dropping from 768MHz to 307.2MHz when running on battery power.
307.2MHz might not seem like much compared to the PS4’s 800MHz or the Xbox One’s 853MHz, but it should still be enough to outperform the Wii U, and we’ve all seen the performance Nintendo was able to squeeze out of its last console.
The blog post does mention that the chip has been optimised for “mobile use cases” which we hope means that it’s not too battery hungry, but there are rumors circulating that the console only has a battery life of three hours when used as a handheld.
In terms of RAM, the Switch is rumored to have 4GB, which puts it in line with most major smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Motorola Moto Z, and is more than both the iPhone 7 (2GB) and iPhone 7 Plus (3GB).
The screen is rumored to have a resolution of 720p and be capable of multi-touch in a first for the company which has focussed on single-touch screens up until now.