One of the touted features of the Nintendo Wii U was its gamepad. Games were displayed on both the TV screen and the gamepad, and could be switched back and forth. While upcoming Nintendo Switch is expanding the screen-switching feature, it will drop the ability to have both screens displayed at the same time.
“Nintendo Switch is dedicated to delivering a single-screen experience, on whatever screen you might choose,” Nintendo told Polygon when asked about the second-screen feature.
The Joy-Con controller must be placed into the Nintendo Switch Dock in order to transmit the gamepad screen to the TV screen. You won’t have access to it while gaming in the living room.
At first glance this may seem like a big bummer. But developers mostly failed to capitalize on the Wii U’s second screen feature for most of its library. The only game I can think of was Xenoblade Chronicles X. The gamepad served as the map, and you used the touchscreen to fast-travel.
The screen-switching feature of the Wii U is obviously a big selling point for the Nintendo Switch. For the Wii U, if a child wants to watch TV, you can easily switch the screen to the gamepad to continue your marathon session of Super Smash Bros. The Nintendo Switch will let you leave the room, the house, the state, etc.
There’s still far more we don’t know about the Nintendo Switch. It will use cartridges, but won’t support 3DS cards. We don’t know the system’s specifications, but it is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip. Everyone’s eager to find out the the battery life of the all-encompassing portable gamepad.
We do know that the Nintendo Switch will partner with dozens of third-party publishers. And we’ve seen new 3D Mario, Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Switch versions of Splatoon, Skyrim, and NBA 2K being played in the trailer.
Nintendo Switch is coming March 2017. Look for more details in the coming months.