Nintendo, known for their family friendly systems such as the Wii U or 3DS, has just announced a new system called the Nintendo Switch. At this point, not too much is known about the system except for what was shown in the trailer Nintendo showed off on October 20th. The Switch appears to be a portability-focused gaming console that’s also capable of rendering games at a high quality – something that many companies have attempted but not succeeded at. The system itself is comprised of a dock, a large (6-8 inches) tablet, and its various controllers. Nintendo has confirmed that the dock is just a charging station and a connection to the TV while all of the power behind the console is housed in the tablet.
One of the most interesting things about the console is the controller. Known as the “Joy-Con” the controller, which is incredibly unique, is actually two different pieces that can be used together in a multitude of ways. They can be slotted onto the tablet, slotted together, and they can even be used disconnected from the system with one in each hand. Additionally, the system can also do split-screen multiplayer where each person uses one-half of the Joy-Con. The Switch also appears, from the video, to support a more normal gamepad controller much like the one used with the Xbox One or the previous generation’s Wii-U. With so many different options it will be interesting to see how Nintendo and other game developers incorporate this new technology into the new games and experiences that are developed for the Switch.
Throughout the trailer, Nintendo shows off new versions of their hit games like Zelda, Super Mario, and Mario Kart, but we are also shown 3rd party games that wouldn’t normally appear on a Nintendo console such as NBA 2K and Bethesda’s Skyrim. Seeing Nintendo branch out with their game selection is interesting, and also seems like a promising way to attract new customers to the Switch. Nintendo has loyal fans, but it seems with the Switch that they are trying to make something for everyone which is a nice change. One of the complaints that people often have about Nintendo’s consoles is that they don’t offer games for hardcore gamers, but if Nintendo fulfills what they teased in the trailer then that complaint will become obsolete. Skyrim is one of the most popular RPG’s (role-playing game) of all time and is definitely something that would attract gamers that go for this type of game. This ability to appeal to gamers of all ages and maturity levels should definitely boost the Switch’s popularity. It will have family-friendly games like Mario Kart, but it will also have games like Skyrim for older audience members.
Nintendo has not yet confirmed what the Switch will cost or exactly when it be released, but they did say that it would be around March of 2017. When the Wii U was first released it was about $350 so you can expect the Switch to definitely be in that same $300-$400 price range, which is an acceptable price range for a home console, even if it is a bit pricier than Nintendo’s usual offerings. Considering how powerful the Switch appears to be, the cost of the system is actually fairly reasonable – there aren’t any systems that come close to the portability and power that the Switch seems to possess. Before the Switch it’s always been if you want to play games on-the-go you would have to use an underpowered system like the Nintendo 3DS that, while fun, doesn’t possess the raw power to render high-resolution graphics. Once the Switch is released, and as long as it has decent battery life, this compromise won’t be nearly as bad. Nintendo, however, says it best in their press release –
“In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.”
It’s true that the Switch won’t be able to render graphics like a $1500 gaming PC, but if it can come even close then there’s definitely a good reason to be excited about what Nintendo has to offer in the coming months.