Nintendo’s next console has a name and it’s Switch.
Revealed a month ago to the day on October 20th, Nintendo released an in-depth video showcasing what the platform can do and how it intends to change the way we game. It’s yet another fascinating approach from Nintendo who appear not to have opted for 4K resolutions and Virtual Reality – at least, not yet – instead merging their very successful handheld brand with traditional home console fun.
Nintendo have kept back most of the details – there are an absolute ton of rumours out there of course – but here’s everything we DO KNOW.
Release Date: Originally codenamed NX, the console is currently slated for a March 2017 release date. Some have speculated it could be March 10th as this would be the anniversary of Mario’s very first appearence in Donkey Kong in 1981. While that makes a lot of sense, nothing has been confirmed to date. We expect to learn the exact date in January.
What is it?: At first glance, Switch appears to be a standard games console you plug into your tv and play with a controller. In reality, it’s a console that’s placed in a docking station but can be taken on the go with you. That means you don’t have to delay playing your game if your other half wants to watch the TV, if you’re commuting to work, or you’re going away on holiday. Essentially, you have a shared library between a household and handheld computer buying only one piece of hardware. It’s the Wii U evolved and the next step up from Vita Remote Play. Exciting!
That’s it?: No, not exactly. See, there’s various different ways to interact with Switch games. There is a Joy Con Grip where you can use the two controllers docked together in one large controller while playing on a TV screen. A Pro Controller will also be released.
You can also play Switch like a traditional handheld with buttons on either side of the screen. But you can snap both of those controllers away, enabling you to play multiplayer games with friends outside the house. Limited buttons, of course, but still..
There’s still a lot of questions about the controller support for Switch. Is there a touch screen? Can the mini Joy-Cons be used like Wii Remotes with motion control? Apparently we’ll find that out in January.
What’s under the hood? Nintendo seem to have built an exciting partnership with Nvidia for Switch. The console will have the mobile gaming chip – Nvidia Tegra – powering everything, and the developer was heavily involved in the consoles’ development, helping with the design, architecture, and algotrithims.
In a blog post, Nvidia said “The high-efficiency scalable processor includes an Nvidia GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards,” Third parties will be very pleased to hear that.
Third parties, you say?: Oh, yeah. BIG support. Everyone from Activision, to Bethesda, Capcom, Square, SEGA, Warner Bros, and Ubisoft. While the launch lineup isn’t completely outlined, we do know Ubisoft are giving us a unique form of Just Dance 2017. Which lends further validity to the Joy Cons having some form of motion control.
It also seems pretty clear from the trailer that Skyrim Special Edition will be released – possibly with mod support – along with NBA 2k17.
What format will games be on?: We’re looking at Gamecards the size of 3DS catridges, as well as digital distribution. This obviously confirms no backwards compatibility with Wii U, but if recent rumours are to be believed Wii U games are set to be re-released to take advantage of Switch functionality and graphical fidelty.
Any other confirmed games?: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is definitely coming to Switch, though may not make launch.
Judging by the trailer, there also seems to be the first full 3D Single Player Mario Game since Mario Galaxy, as well as potential ports for Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon.
[As more information rolls in, we’ll continue to update this article. Stay tuned!]