The NX announcement is FINALLY here! The console will be called the Nintendo Switch and it… actually looks hella cool. To put it simply, the Nintendo Switch looks like everything the Wii U should have been when it released. Here are the details we could gather from the 3:37 trailer.
What Does it Look Like?
The console itself looks something like a cradle that holds the portable screen in it. The screen juts from the top rather oddly but otherwise, it looks alright. It was hard to tell scale from the trailer but it appears to be only slightly larger than the Wii. The controller looks like a fairly standard controller which is sure to be a nice change to gamers who were turned off from the Wii and Wii U controllers.
The main selling point of the Switch is those two parts on either end of the controller. The trailer shows them sliding off and the player in the trailer then hooks them onto the sides of that screen in the main console before taking it on the go.
Thus, it is officially confirmed that the Switch will be a hybrid console/portable machine, allowing players to play games on their TV’s before taking the handheld version of the console with them on the go. There are still some questions about how complete this hybridization will be but the trailer did show the player take Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with him mid-game without any change to the game.
The portable version of the console looks fairly solid as well.
Again, scale is tough to tell and we don’t have exact measurements of the console but it appears to be larger than a Playstation Vita but perhaps smaller than the Wii U gamepad. This could be due to the significantly smaller bevel on the Switch than the Wii U gamepad though so we’ll need to wait and see screen measurements.
It’s also been confirmed that the Switch will use cartridges that appear to be about the size of SD cards. This will presumably allow Switch games to have significantly lower load times than current disk-based consoles due to the faster read times cartridges bring to the table.
What Software Did We See?
We actually got to see a lot more software than I expected from the trailer but it’s difficult to say how much of the footage was actually running on the Switch. There was some beautiful Breath of the Wild footage showing Link riding Epona and what appeared to be a new Mario Kart and Mario game. Splatoon was the most heavily featured game which means it’ll either be getting a port or, hopefully, there will be some form of backwards compatibility on the Switch. We also got to see some footage from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which seemed odd. Perhaps the Skyrim Special Edition is getting a Switch version? It may be an older game but getting to play Skyrim on the go is going to be enticing for a lot of players.
They spent a lot of time showing an eSports team planning out their strategy before a major Splatoon competition. The players then slotted their controllers into the console before playing in the ring. This didn’t tell us much about the console’s functionality but it may be a sign that Nintendo is throwing their hat into the eSports world which could be neat for Splatoon fans.
No release dates were provided for any of the games nor were specific titles even mentioned which isn’t very surprising. Still, it would have been nice to see confirmation about some games coming out at launch. Notably missing was any footage of a Smash Bros game which has been heavily rumored as coming out shortly after launch.
When Do We Get the Switch?
Nintendo appears to be sticking to their previously announced release date of March 2017. No specific day was mentioned but it’s good to see Nintendo re-confirm March as a release window.
What Questions Do We Still Have?
This reveal trailer actually showed us a lot more than expected but there are still some key questions that need to be answered before March comes around. The most relevant to most gamers will be what games are launching on the console. We got to see Breath of the Wild, a new Mario Kart and a new 3D Mario game but are those launch titles? If so, that would be an incredible launch but my bet is that those kinds of key titles will be spread out over the life of the console. Breath of the Wild seems the most likely to be a launch title. Still, we need to know for sure what games we can get with our new console in March.
Also, the long-term viability of the Switch will hang on whether or not Nintendo can solve the problems that the Wii U suffered from. Battery life will be extremely important for this portable console. The Wii U gamepad only lasts about 3 hours between charges and the Switch will presumably be playing even more taxing games. Will the battery be upgraded to allow for longer gaming sessions on the go?
Finally, how much does the console cost? A price was notably missing from the reveal trailer. Experts have been predicting between $300 and $400 but it’s hard to say precisely what it will release at. As the console will be releasing outside of a holiday window, price will be a major factor on how quickly the Switch is adopted.
Nintendo did a great job with this reveal. Showing precisely how the console functions and even showing some potential software but there are still a lot of questions that will need to be answered before March.