This past Friday, Nintendo treated us to an in depth look at their newest console, the Switch. Speculations and rumors about the Switch dominated the internet ever since it was known as the NX, but now we can put all of that to bed. Here is a complete breakdown of this hybrid console.
So what is the Nintendo Switch? In sentence, it is a hybrid home/handheld console. The Switch has three modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, and Handheld mode. In TV mode, the Swtich is set in its dock and you play the console just like any other connected to a television. In Tabletop mode, the Switch can be propped up on its kickstand and the Joycon controllers are detached. While in Handeld mode, the Joycon controllers can be attached to the side of the Switch, and it can be played anywhere. This is why we call it a hybrid. No other console on the market features the ability to change from home console to handheld play seamlessly.
The Switch itself resembles your average tablet, sporting a 6.2 inch capacitive touch screen and 1280 x 720 resolution. It also contains all the features we would expect of a handheld device like an audio jack and volume buttons, making it truly portable. Nintendo Switch will come standard with 32 gigabytes of memory which can be expanded using microSD cards. On the go, the Switch will use a USB Type C charger and has a 2.5 to 6.5 hour battery life. The most interesting thing about this console is that it will use cartridges, much like Nintendo’s 3DS handhelds, which begs the question if cartridge technology has finally caught up with discs.
The Nintendo Switch, for now, supports two styles of controller, both proprietary. First, the Joycon controllers, which come with each Swtich, are extremely innovative. They can be docked in a grip and used like a conventional controller, detached entirely and held in each hand, and even be used as motion controllers similar to a Wiimote. You can even pass one to a friend for local multiplayer, solving one of my biggest personal gripes with modern game consoles. These will also come with attachable straps that extend your grip on the Joycon a bit, and keep you and your friends from flinging them through a TV. (google: wii have a problem) Then, the Pro Controller. Much like the Wii and Wii U’s Pro controllers, the Swtich’s is sold separately. It has all the contours and features you’d expect on an Xbox One controller, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The gaming community at large has express desire for additional controller types. Of course, the Gamecube controller is back in popular demand for Smash players and attachments to replace the Joycon for unique game types are being requested too. We’ll have to wait and see how Nintendo responds.
So we know what the Nintendo Switch is, but what does it do? Well, it’s reasonable to assume it will come loaded with the standard bells and whistles we expect. WiFi capability and apps like Youtube and Netflix are expected while using the tablet as a TV remote is hopefully coming back. On of the more innovative features is a dedicate screenshot button that will send screencaps to linked social media profiles. Nintendo is also offering a new, paid online service that will offer free downloads each month. This puts them on par with Sony and Microsoft. Curiously, there are two USB 2.0 pots on the Switch’s dock, which leads me to wonder if additional memory support is in this console’s future.
The most interesting thing is what Nintendo calls Rumble HD. This is supposed to be a super accurate haptic feedback system. During the presentation, it was likened to the feeling of shaking an ice cube in a glass and then being able to feel more ice cubes being dropped in. The Rumble HD is supposed to be so good you could even experience the sensation of water being poured into the glass. I’m not sure exactly to what extent developers may use this feature, but being able to play with the rumble sensation most gamers have grown up with is an exciting prospect.
The one thing on everyone’s mind of course, is the games. Given the Wii U’s less than stellar launch performance, Nintendo needs to redeem itself. So how are they doing this time? Not bad at all. Following is a list of titles with their respective launch dates. We’ll start will the games you can get day one.
- Just Dance 2017 by Ubisoft
- Nothing new here. The familiar and fun rhythm game has found its way onto the Nintendo Switch. – $59.99 USD on March 3rd
- Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth by Nicalis
- Nintendo is pushing the mature market angle this time. This dark dungeon crawler is a welcome addition to the Nintendo Switch library. – $39.99 on March 3rd
- Skylanders Imaginators by Toys for Bob
- Activision brings its “toys to life” line to the Switch. – $59.99 USD on March 3rd
- Has Been Heroes by Frozenbyte
- An action/strategy RPG developed by the makers of Trine and Binding of Isaac:Afterbirth. – $20 USD in March
- I Am Setsuna by Tokyo RPG Factory
- Classic JRPG styling, published by Square Enix of course. – $39.99 USD in March
- Super Bomber Man R
- Bomberman makes a return, showing off some new 3D levels. – $59.99 in March
- Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!
- Co-op puzzle game with a cute paper theme. Cut each other into shapes to find solutions. – Price TBD in March
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe by Nintendo
- A port to the Switch, and the one racing game on this list you will actually play. New tracks and new racers look to freshen things up. – $59.99 USD on April 28th
- Sonic Mania by SEGA
- Collection of old school Sonic games in thier original, 2D format. – $69.99 (Collector’s Edition) in Spring
- Redout by Nicalis
- Futuristic, sci-fi racing title that boasts an amazing sense of speed; reminiscent of F-Zero. – $39.99 USD in Spring
- Arms by Nintendo
- A boxing game with a twist: extending arms. Throw crazy hooks and devastating straights to dominate the opposition. – $59.99 in Spring
- LEGO City Undercover by TT Fusion
- We are getting plenty of ports for the WiiU. It’s left to be seen if that’s a good thing. – $59.99 in Spring
- Splatoon 2 by Nintendo
- More weapons, more maps, and more fun. Splatoon gets a well deserved sequel. $59.99 in Summer
- NBA 2k18 by 2K Games
- Gaming’s most popular basketball franchise comes to the Switch. How well will it perform against other consoles? – $59.99 in September
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda
- You know it. You love it. Hopefully the Switch will innovate on ways to play the most popular Elder Scrolls title yet. – $59.99 in Fall
- Super Mario Odyssey by Nintendo
- The game we most want, and have to wait for the longest. Mario makes a return to true 3D platforming not seen since the era of the N64. – $59.99 this Holiday
Some of use are excited for the launch of the NIntendo Switch, and some of us are already casting judgement. I prefer to remain the optimistic skeptic. Nintendo is gearing up to do some pretty neat things with the Switch. With the launch fast approaching, we won’t have too long to wait to see if the most storied game company in history has redeemed itself.