On Thursday, January 12 Nintendo held an hour-long press conference all about their upcoming console, the Nintendo Switch. Tasumi Kimishima, President of Nintendo took the stage to announce the final release date and price. He also introduced a number of developers and producers for upcoming Nintendo products and games.
Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on March 3, 2017. Kimishima confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will not have region locking.
Nintendo Switch will cost $299.99 in the U.S. The console bundle includes the portable tablet, the dock for playing on TV, the unique Joy-Con controller with the splitting halves, and a grip that turns the two halves into a proper controller. It will also include an HDMI cable and a USB cable for charging.
Sold separately is a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller ($69.99). You can purchase an extra Joy-Con controller half for $49.99, or both left and right units for $79.99. An extra Joy-Con Grip will cost you $29.99. A real doozy is buying a second dock, at $89.99.
For the upcoming Mario Kart release, you can also purchase Joy-Con Wheels, which look very similar to the wheels sold for the Wii ($14.99).
The Nintendo Switch console will come in two models at launch. The original uses the default grey-black coloring while another model includes neon red and neon blue halves for the Joy-Con controller.
The big selling point for the Nintendo Switch are the different configurations you can play with. All of these were shown during the initial trailer reveal back in October, but Nintendo provided some further details.
- TV Mode – Slip the portable Switch tablet into the Nintendo Switch dock to play on your TV. The dock connects via HDMI and can run in 1080p (though actual game resolution will vary).
- Tabletop Mode – The tablet can be propped up with a stand, and you can use the Joy-Con grip to play single-payer, or split up into two halves for two players.
- Handheld Mode – Attach the Joy-Con controllers to each side of the tablet to turn it into a portable system.
Nintendo remained frustratingly tight-lipped over the specs of the Nintendo Switch, though they were very keen on showing off the motion technology of the new Joy-Con controllers. Each of the two halves of the Joy-Con can read and write amiibo data, has new HD rumble technology, and gyro sensors for greater motion control.
During the presentation, battery life for the portable Nintendo Switch tablet was said to be between 2.5 and 6 hours, depending on the game. For a high performance title like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo said you’ll get only around three hours of battery life when playing in full portable mode. It was confirmed that you can play while charging.
As was suspected, the Nintendo Switch downgrades from 1080p to 720p when used in full portable mode outside of the dock. The console comes with 32 GB of internal storage, which you can expand with microSD cards.
The Nintendo Switch will have obvious wi-fi internet capabilities, though Nintendo is finally entering the realm of paid online service. Up to eight systems can be connected for wireless local multiplayer.
The Online Service
Nintendo is really playing catch-up when it comes to providing an easy-to-use online service. Very few details were provided during the presentation itself, but further details can be found on the main website.
You will need a Nintendo account to play games online. Online play will act as a free trial when the Nintendo Switch first launches. A paid online service will go into effect sometime in Fall 2017. Nintendo is also providing a smartphone app that connects to the Nintendo Switch. The app will let you chat and interact with other Nintendo friends.
Subscribers to the paid online service will receive an NES or SNES game for free each month. Interestingly, titles will be given new online play. Subscribers will also receive special offers and discounts periodically.
No matter what a console can do, it all comes down to the games. Nintendo provided a deeper look into a few launch titles, while providing teaser trailers for games in development. Here are the notable releases:
1, 2, Switch (March 3) – It’s a collection of motion control mini-games, like Wii Sports and NintendoLand.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March 3) – We’ve seen a lot of Zelda right now and it looks incredible. But it’s also launching on Wii U on the same date.
Just Dance 2017 (March 3) – The latest iteration of Ubisoft’s motion-control dance series.
Super Bomberman R (March 3) – Up to 8 players can battle locally or online in this top-down party-battle game.
Skylanders Imaginators (March 3) – Last year’s big Skylanders title is coming to Nintendo Switch. Read our review.
Coming in 2017:
Arms (Spring 2017) – Arms was one of the most shown games during the presentation, a motion controlled fighting game that really showed off the Joy-Con’s range of motion.
Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017) – The biggest reveal of the presentation was an all-new 3D Mario game, which has the largest sandbox world since Super Mario Sunshine.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 2017) – A slightly revamped version of the popular Wii U title, this Deluxe version also includes all the released DLC.
Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017) – Paint arena-shooter Splatoon was one of the Wii U’s biggest hits. The sequel looks very similar but with more weapons, stages, and a local multiplayer option.
Has Been Heroes (March 2017) – A new title that combines turn-based and real-time strategy gameplay as you guide multiple characters on a quest.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Fall 2017) – The giant open-world RPG first released in 2011, and has gone to become one of the best-selling games of all-time. A Special Edition released in 2016.
No Release Date (but possibly coming in 2017):
FIFA – EA Sports popular soccer series is coming to Nintendo Switch
Fire Emblem Warriors – A new Fire Emblem title is coming, along with a brief teaser trailer.
Disgaea 5 Complete – The latest title in the tactical turn-based RPG series.
Shin Megami Tensei Sequel [Untitled] – A new game in the beloved Shin Megami Tensei series is coming to the Switch.
Minecraft – 10 out of 10 scientists confirm that is now impossible to have a console without Minecraft.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – A sequel to the Wii’s sci-fi JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles. A spin-off, Xenoblade Chronicles X, released in 2015.