Just when you thought the holidays were over, Nintendo brightened up the New Year with their much anticipated Nintendo Switch presentation.
After years of silence, Nintendo first shed some light on the mysterious project NX in October 2016, with a short reveal trailer that briefly broke the internet. Their next big hardware release, the Nintendo Switch, was unveiled as a home console which you can take with you on the go.
Since then we’ve speculated on battery power, launch titles, price point and endless gossip, but with just six weeks until release we now have a strong idea of what to expect from the console.
In case you missed the presentation and the stream of information that followed, here are the top ten things we now know about the Nintendo Switch.
1 Launch Date
Probably the most exciting thing about the Switch for Nintendo fans is that we only have to wait 48 days to get our hands on the hardware.
The Switch was expected to launch in March 2017, with general speculation placing it towards the end of the month. The presentation has however now confirmed the console release date as 3rd March, just six weeks from now. That’s a brand new generation of console in less than two months.
2 Zelda Breath of the Wild at Launch
Fans have been waiting for the new Zelda console game since the release of the WiiU four years ago, and the more we see of this game the more impressive and unique it actually looks. Breath of the Wild was expected to launch on WiiU early this year, but it was speculated that the Switch version of game wouldn’t be ready in time for the March launch date. With just six weeks to go, Nintendo have confidently confirmed that Zelda will be available from day one.
3 Brand New Mario
The original Switch reveal trailer held a pretty significant Mario teaser, which Nintendo have now revealed to be Super Mario Odyssey – a brand new 3D Mario game set to release this fall. The presentation revealed an open world Mario akin to Super Mario 64, with distinct art design and a great variety of hub worlds. It looks incredible, and will be released within six months of the Switch console just in time to create buzz around the holiday season.
4 Release Schedule
As if Zelda and Mario in the first six months wasn’t enough, Nintendo have revealed their full release schedule for the Switch’s first year, including an upgraded Mario Kart 8, a sequel to Splatoon and several popular third party games.
This modest initial library however is one of the biggest criticisms Nintendo has faced since the presentation, with many expressing concern over the low volume of launch titles. The Switch will be released on 3rd March with just five games, way below the Wii’s 21 launch games, and the 32 on WiiU.
On the other hand, Zelda Breath of the Wild, one of the most anticipated games of this generation, will be available on day one. For some that will be enough, but many fans will likely wait for Nintendo to build a greater library before they part with their cash.
Nintendo have been firm from the beginning of their Switch marketing that the company would not be selling their next big hardware release at a loss, contrary to previous console release models. So it shouldn’t really come as a big surprise to see the Switch price come in at $299/£280.
It is certainly higher than what many industry experts identified as the ideal price (around $50 less), and it puts the console in direct competition with recently upgraded to PS4 and Xbox models, as well as standard tablets. But that pricing will likely enable Nintendo room for competitive sales and game bundles towards the end of the year, just in time for the holidays.
So if you’re hyped for the Switch but feel the price point is too high, consider holding out a few extra months for those bundles and discounts.
In addition to showing of the Switch console hardware, Nintendo also gave us a look at a few additional gadgets. We got a more in-depth look at the Joy-Cons and how they work as a traditional controller with the Joy-Con Grip, and allow the console to transform into a handheld or table top device with clever functionality and wrist straps. All of this is packaged in with the console, and available in either traditional grey or neon blue and red.
Players will also be able to invest in the premium Pro Controller, a separately sold traditional controller much like its WiiU counterpart. And in true Wii fashion, steering wheel sets will be available that function with the Joy-Cons and games like Mario Kart 8 to facilitate the motion control experience.
7 Motion Controls
It wouldn’t be a Nintendo console without some unique controller innovation, and this time Nintendo have taken aspects of all their previous consoles to inspire the Joy-Con’s HD motion capabilities. The presentation featured a demonstration of how the rumble technology can replicate the feeling of ice cubes falling in a glass, or how motion sensor is sensitive enough to play rock paper scissors with you and know exactly what gesture you’re making. All this is shown off in their launch title, 1-2 Switch, which is made up of mini games that make the most of the new controllers.
It’s a weird and wonderful display that is awfully reminiscent of the Wii, and will likely appeal to families and casual gamer audiences.
On the go the Switch can play games at 720p on its tablet-like handheld screen, which is then upgraded to 900p when docked and connected to your TV. The graphics are of course below what we’re used to from Microsoft and Sony this generation, and far below the 4k graphics of the Pro and Scorpio, but for such a sleek, portable machine it does look impressive.
9 Battery Life
This was a huge question mark for the Switch before release. The idea of a fairly powerful console playing games at a decent resolution on the go seemed like a guaranteed battery eater, and it also seemed unlikely we’d get a bulky battery within such a slim console.
In their presentation, Nintendo estimated battery life at 2-6 hours, dependent on the game, meaning a game like Breath of the Wild could last just 2-3 hours. It’s a decent life for the average commuter, but for long journeys you may want to invest in a portable battery.
The good news is it has now been confirmed that the Switch will support USB-C, a fairly common adapter, so charging on the go should be no problem at all.
The Switch will come with 32GB of storage as standard, which can be upgraded easily through SDXC slots. It does however mean that a downloaded file of Breath of the Wild will fill around 40% of your standard storage on day one, which is less than ideal. This is easily avoided by either picking up a physical copy of the game or upgrading your storage, but with cards increasingly available it isn’t likely to be an issue.