After a huge amount of speculation, Nintendo has finally unveiled the new Nintendo Switch console, providing a raft of important information about the forthcoming console. Revealing its new machine in Tokyo, we now have quite a significant tranche of concrete details regarding the hardware specifications and potential capabilities of the Switch.
Nintendo Switch – Release date
Firstly, Nintendo has confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will be released on March 3. This applies to all continents, with Nintendo opting for a worldwide release. So there is just over a month for keen Nintendo gamers to wait.
The Nintendo Switch is a unique console, offering both home and handheld elements. This was known to be a major selling point of the device long before the recent official announcement, but the Tokyo event has fleshed out some of the details regarding this capability.
Firstly, the Nintendo Switch provides a 6.2-inch, 720p multitouch display, which runs at a 1,280 x 720 resolution when utilized in handheld mode. But the Nintendo Switch can also be docked with a television set, and this increases the resolution of the console to 1080p. HDMI is also fully supported.
Nintendo provided minimal details of the processing capabilities of the Nintendo Switch when unveiling the console in Tokyo, but we do know that it will feature a custom Nvidia Tegra processor. We can reasonably expect this unit to be significantly more powerful than the processor included in the Nintendo Wii U.
It is perhaps surprising that Nintendo has included only 32GB of on-board memory with the Switch, which certainly feels rather paltry in comparison to the 1TB PS4 Pro. However, Nintendo has enabled storage for the device to be expanded via the usage of micro SD. We also know that games for the Switch will come via physical GameCards, which will probably assist with the storage issue by offloading this requirement to the individual card.
When being played as a handheld console, the Nintendo Switch is reliant on a battery. And the Japanese corporation has announced that the console delivered between 2.5 and 6 hours of battery life depending on the graphical demands of the particular game being played. It is not entirely clear how this functionality will work out in the real world, but Nintendo has already estimated that the title Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will result in battery life being used up in three hours.
Charging and connections
The Switch uses a standard USB-C connection, meaning that it will easy to charge on the go. The Switch will be able to connect to the Internet via an 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection, and Nintendo has also confirmed that it will be possible to connect eight switched consoles at once for localized multiplayer sessions. Additionally, the Switch will be able to connect using Ethernet using a USB LAN adaptor, which can be operated via the docking device included with the console.
No region lock
An intriguing aspect of the Nintendo Switch is that the Japanese corporation has confirmed that the console will not be region-locked. Previous Nintendo releases have always been locked, but the next generation Nintendo Switch will be compatible with software from all over the world. This will be particularly interesting for potential European and American consumers, as some Japanese Nintendo titles fail to arrive in the Western world.
The official Nintendo Switch controller has been nicknamed JoyCon, and will launch in red and blue or grey. The controller features HD rumble feedback, while a specially designed sensor will detect the shape that a hand is making when in use. It has been noted that this makes the Nintendo Switch ideal for virtual reality technology, and Nintendo will doubtless explore this growing aspect of the video games marketplace in due course.
Meanwhile, a separate ‘Pro’ controller delivers a more traditional joypad, for those looking for a classic video game experience.
While Nintendo focused mainly on hardware at its Tokyo unveiling event, many potential consumers of the Switch are obviously focused on the games that will be available from day one. What we do know is that Nintendo aims to take advantage of the unique JoyCon Technology, and thus the first-party game ‘1-2 Switch’ should be a launch title. This software utilizes the JoyCon controllers, apparently forcing employers to keep an eye on their opponents as opposed to the television screen, in what is a reaction-based title.
ARMS is another new Nintendo title which takes advantage of the JoyCon system, while Nintendo also showcased Splatoon 2 in Tokyo; the sequel to a hugely successful Wii U title.
Mario and Zelda
Of course, no Nintendo release would be complete, or even possibly legitimate, without the famous chubby Italian plumber, and gamers were treated to a lengthy gameplay trailer of the Super Mario Odyssey title during the Tokyo unveiling. However, this will not be a launch title for the Nintendo Switch, and we can instead expected this game to arrive around the holiday season this year.
Nonetheless, Nintendo’s other big hitter Zelda will be ready for the new console, with Zelda: Breath of the Wild being a launch title. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe arrives in April, while several major manufacturers have also committed to producing games for the machine. Exciting third-party titles arriving on the Nintendo Switch include several new Dragon Quest titles, a new Shin Megami Tensei game and Octopath Traveller.
The console maker confirmed US pricing at $299.99. While there was no official announcement regarding local variations, a press release quickly confirmed a UK price of £279.99, and Japan pricing has been confirmed at ¥29,980. There is no word on the cost in mainland Europe, but a figure of around €250 is likely. The launch bundle includes console, both JoyCon controllers, Switch dock and cables.
Pre-ordering the Nintendo Switch could be essential, with high demand expected in the early days of the console’s lifecycle.