It appears all of the rumors for the NX were true, as the hybrid home console-slash-portable handheld was officially unveiled today as the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo’s upcoming play-anywhere device seems all set to release in March 2017.
As shown in the trailer, the core of the Nintendo Switch is the cartridge supported tablet-like display screen, not the docking port. The docking port acts as a display transfer from the Switch to your television, but also pulls double duty as a charging station for the console itself.
With the core of the Switch being so small, how powerful is it? The reveal trailer didn’t go in to specifics, but to give you an idea the official Unreal Engine Twitter account did confirm that they’re working with Switch developers to help bring their Unreal Engine 4 games to the new hybrid console.
Where things get really interesting is in the controller design, where there are a few different options at your disposal.
The opening moments of the trailer show what appears to be a “block” of sorts with both sides of its controller being detachable. Once removed, these two pieces can slip over each side of the Switch’s core unit, thus transforming it in to a portable console.
Not only that, but each removable side of the controller can be used independently, essentially allowing one controller to be broken in to two smaller ones for multi-player games — Mario Kart and what appears to be either NBA 2K or NBA Live briefly demonstrated this feature.
For those looking for a more traditional experience, fear not. There will also be a standard controller option, which seems to mimic the Xbox’s diagonal analog layout (left thumb stick in the upper-left, with the right being on the lower-right side). The Xbox One, in my opinion, has the most comfortable controller in modern gaming, and having never cared for Wii U’s analog placement on their Pro controller, this is a most welcome adaptation.
Games shown in the trailer include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a new 3D Mario, along with classics like Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, and, oddly enough, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — though Bethesda did confirm they will be supporting the Nintendo Switch as a publishing partner, they simply stated Skyrim was used in collaboration with Nintendo for the purpose of the trailer.
Nintendo did, however, post the following image on their official Twitter account, which shows a list of developers and publishers already confirmed to support Switch from the jump. I’m definitely excited to see Japanese names like Arc, Atlus, Bandai Namco, Capcom, From Software, Spike Chunsoft, Platinum, Marvelous, Level 5, Koei Tecmo, and Suda 51’s Grasshopper Manufacture in there.
Third-party support is crucial to Nintendo’s success, as proven both by the abysmal sales of the Wii U and cross-platform games typically holding the top spots each month during the NPD reveals.
Like I mentioned above, Nintendo Switch will be reverting back to cartridges. As odd as this may sound to some, this is actually a smart move. A single layer Blu Ray disc can only hold 25gb, while a double layer maxes out at 50gb. A 64gb SD card costs less than $20 and data can be read significantly faster. Funny how the roles have reversed, right?
But what about amiibo support? Nintendo doesn’t appear to be giving up on their delightful new creation that blends both toy and game alike (he says in his best Griffin McElroy voice), as amiibo are clearly shown in the trailer and have since been officially confirmed to be supported by the Switch console.
My overall excitement for the Switch is currently at a neutral stance, considering I already have a Vita and 3DS with their vast libraries of incredible portable games (along with many I’ve yet to play), and already struggle to find time for my Xbox One and PS4 backlog at home. As someone that owes their entire passion for gaming to Nintendo, I’m thrilled to see what they come up with but I’m just not entirely sold yet.
It was definitely smart of them to use familiar games to sell the experience and functionality of the Switch, whereas potential consumers can watch the trailer and think about how much fun they’d have playing NBA 2K or Splatoon on the go, as opposed to deciphering the ins and outs of something they’ve yet to experience. The moment I saw Skyrim, for instance, I thought back to the 400+ hours I’ve spent across numerous playthroughs and it was that familiarity that really let me put the Switch’s functionality in to perspective.
So what do you think of the Nintendo Switch reveal? Have any concerns? What do you think the potential price point will be? (My guess is no more than $300, by the way)
Sound off down in the comments!