Nintendo gave a special presentation for their next console, the Nintendo Switch, in Tokyo last night. While the company continues to release new information at the time of this writing, here are the most important new bits of information you need to know about Nintendo’s next console, as revealed so far:
Price and Launch Date
Nintendo got the most important information out of the way first during their presentation, confirming both the price and launch date of the Switch. It will be released worldwide March 3, 2017, a few weeks earlier than what was rumored, and will cost $300 in the United States ($400 in Canada).
What’s In The Box
The Nintendo Switch will come in two bundles that are exactly the same, expect that one comes with red and blue neon Joy-Con controllers instead of the traditional greyish-black ones. In addition to the console itself, the Switch will come with a left and right Joy-Con, the Nintendo Switch Dock, a Joy-Con Grip, an AC adapter, HDMI cable, and Joy-Con straps, which add a L and R button for increased functionality.
The Online Service
While light on actual details, Nintendo did confirm that the Switch will have an all-new online service. At launch, the service will be free (a trial period, if you will) but come Fall 2017, it will transition to a paid service. Similarly to PS Plus and Xbox Live, Nintendo’s service will give subscribers at least one free NES or SNES game each month and some of these games will even have newly-added online features. Additionally, it looks like Nintendo will finally make it easier to interact with friends online, as they’ve confirmed game invites, the ability to set play appointments, and chat, but it remains to be seen how it will compare to online services offered on other consoles.
One of the big concerns people have had with the Switch ever since it was first announced back in October has been the screen’s battery life and on that front, things admittedly aren’t great. Nintendo claims that the Switch can achieve up to 6 hours of battery life on one charge, but results will vary wildly depending on how it is being used. For instance, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, arguably the console’s most anticipated game, can only be played for 3 hours on a single charge. Fortunately, the screen can be charged on the go by plugging in the included AC adapter.
The Switch will ship with a paltry 32 GB of on-board storage, but can be expanded to up to 2TB using microSDXC cards. While we’re still waiting for confirmation, we’re assuming that physical copies of games, which will be cartridge-based, will not need to be installed to the hard drive, which should alleviate storage issue concerns somewhat.
Nintendo spent a fair amount of time at their presentation talking up the features of the Joy-Cons, the console’s small, detachable controllers. While they still look insanely uncomfortable to us, Nintendo has packed a fair amount of impressive technology into these things. Here are the Joy-Con specs:
- NFC sensors that read and write amiibo data
- Accelerometer and gyrosensors for motion control in each Joy-Con
- Screen capture button for social-media sharing, video capture coming soon
- Different color variations, including neon blue and neon red
- Haptic feedback
- Motion IR camera in the right Joy-Con, which senses the shape, motion and distance of objects in front of it
Those last two features in particular are fascinating, with the haptic feedback apparently so accurate that you’ll be able to feel the difference between one, two, or three ice cubes rattling in a glass. To be honest, we’re not sure if Nintendo just couldn’t think of a better application for this technology than ice cubes, but we’re still interested to see how (or if) game developer will make use of this functionality in their software.
In addtion to the Joy-Cons, which will sell individually for $49.99 USD or $79.99 for a set of two, there is also the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which will sell for $69.99.
Nintendo is finally ditching software region locking with the Nintendo Switch. Hooray!
One of the more perplexing moves on Nintendo’s part during its presentation was not revealing the full list of games that will launch alongside the Switch on March 3rd. Frustratingly, there are currently only five titles that we know for sure will be available on launch day: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 1-2-Switch, Super Bomberman R Skylanders Imaginators, and Just Dance 2017. Now, unless Nintendo really is planning to ship their new console with only four games, it’s safe to say that there will be more games available than the titles listed at launch, but it’s more than a bit worrying that Nintendo hasn’t simply confirmed the full list yet.
At any rate, here are the rest of the games that are confirmed to be coming to the Switch, with their expected release dates:
- Has Been Heroes (March 2017)
- I am Setsuna (March 2017)
- Sonic Mania (Spring 2017)
- Lego City Undercover (Spring 2017)
- Arms (spring 2017)
- Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together! (March 2017)
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28, 2017)
- Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)
- NBA 2K18 (September 2017)
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Fall 2017)
- Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)
The System UI
For whatever reason, Nintendo didn’t show off what the Switch’s user interface looks like, but fortunately, an image was released after the show, offering the first glimpse of the system UI. As you can see below, the UI will include a buttons in the bottom row for the eShop, something called an “Album,” controllers, system settings, and a sleep mode. It’s also suspected that red icon will be for “Game News” but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
New Mario Game!
One of the most exciting announcements made at the Nintendo Switch presentation was the reveal of the next 3D Mario game. Titled Super Mario Odyssey, the game will take Mario out of the Mushroom Kingdom and into real-world settings, as well as more traditional Mario-type worlds. Described as a “sandbox-style” game, Super Mario Odyssey looks like it will be the most open Mario game yet in terms of design. It also features things like a throwable cap (with eyes!) and a lion that Mario can ride around on and is of course now one of our most anticipated games of the year. Oh and its city environment is literally called New Donk City because of course it is (we’re assuming Donkey Kong is mayor).
Super Mario Odyssey will be out Holiday 2017.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
After the presentation, Nintendo sent out a press release detailing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an upgraded port of the 2014 Wii U game. Besides allowing up to eight people to play together in local multiplayer, the game will add a few new tracks and characters, including the Inkling Girl and Boy from Splatoon, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr. Best of all, the crappy Battle mode has been revamped to be more like the beloved battle mode of old, with Balloon Battle and Bom-omb blast set to return.
That’s all for now, but we’ll update this page as Nintendo Switch news continues to leak out in the lead-up to March 3rd!