It isn’t every year we get a new console revealed so when it happens it feels like you are a kid in a candy store. And considering it’s Nintendo’s turn to bring a new console into the world, the feeling becomes even more exaggerated. It feels like years since we have been getting leaks about what Nintendo’s new console was going to be. Back in October Nintendo dropped a trailer unveiling the name of the new console, the Nintendo Switch, and that it was being released in March, the rest was then left up to our imagination, until today.
The Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on the 3rd of March, 2017. The American price will be USD$299.95 and EB Games Australia has just gone live with their launch price of $469.95, which is on the high end of expectations. The Pro controller will be $99.95 and an extra Joy-Con set will be $119.95. Interestingly a second docking station for the house which could be handy is $129.95. The base unit will include the docking station, the Nintendo Switch, the left and right Joy-Con controllers, the Joy-Con grip, the Joy-Con wrist straps, power adapter and the HDMI cable. The Nintendo Switch Pro controller will be sold separately. There will be two versions of the Nintendo Switch at launch, one with standard grey Joy-Con controllers and one with a red left Joy-Con and a blue right Joy-Con controller.
Some big features about the Nintendo Switch are that the machine will, in fact, be region free, meaning no more buying games from the country you bought the machine from. The Nintendo Switch will have a 2.5 to 6-hour battery life depending on the game that you are playing. It will have a touchscreen and come with built in Wifi so you can connect up to 8 machines to play local multiplayer. The Switch can also be played in the standard TV mode like all consoles before it. With the aid of the kick stand at the back of the unit you can also play games in tabletop mode away from the TV. Finally, with the Joy-Con controllers attached to the sides of the Nintendo Switch you can use it in handheld mode on the go, anywhere.
The Joy-Con controller was the piece of technology I was worried about most with Nintendo’s latest console offering, but after the presentation, these controllers are the piece of the machine that I am most excited about. The Joy-Cons are packed with so much extra technology, it’s allowing Nintendo to make games for the Switch that don’t even require players to be looking at the screen to play them. On each of the Joy-Con controllers, there are 4 standard buttons and an analogue stick that is clickable, one has a home button and NFC reader for Amiibos and the other has a capture button. Both have accelerometers and gyro sensors so that motion controls will continue to live on post Wii and Wii U. Each Joy-Con has two shoulder buttons as well making them feature complete out of the box to let you play two player games.
That is just the start for the Joy-Con Controllers, not only will they come in different colours but they have wrist straps that can be attached, for safe play when using the motion controls. The right Joy-Con has a sensor in it that can read shapes at small distances, which will make for some pretty cool gameplay mechanics that I can’t wait to see how developers utilise. The last big feature of these controllers is the HD rumble that is built into them. Nintendo boasts that you can feel the sensation of ice rattling in a glass easily with this technology. Not only that but you will be able to tell how many ice cubes are in that glass and it will feel different if there is water in that glass. I am extremely interested to get these Joy-Con’s into my hands and see how they feel and more so how developers will use all this technology in their games.
Enough about the machine, let’s look at the games that will be coming to the Nintendo Switch at, and after Launch. So far we only have three games announced for launch, this is a concern but we have not had any third party publishers announce any of their games release dates as of yet. Zelda was confirmed to be a launch title, which assures Nintendo a large percentage of fans will get the Switch day one. The only two other games confirmed for launch so far are 1-2 Switch and Just Dance 2017. 1-2 Switch and a Nintendo developed game called Arms look like great fun and built from the ground up to showcase the Switch’s technology, much the same way Wii sports showed off the Wii. Mario Kart 8 deluxe is set to launch 28th of April and Mario Odyssey will be an end of year game. We will also be seeing, at some stage, Fire Emblem Warriors and a very nice looking Xenoblade 2 after release.The final big announcement from Nintendo developed games was that the Splatoon game we had seen so much of is, in fact, Splatoon 2.
Outside of Nintendo developed games there are third party publishers like Square Enix, Sega, Bethesda and EA Games all confirmed to be making games for the Switch. All in all, there are currently 80 games in development for the platform. The Switch does look like it might become the home of JRPG’s especially with the lack of region locking. Dragon Quest 10 and 11 and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2 have been announced along with a brand new RPG from Square Enix. Other titles that could be made out from the sizzle reel in the middle of the presentation includes such things as Minecraft, Rayman Legends, Steep, Lego City Undercover, NBA 2K18 and Disgaea 5 Complete. As with any console, these days Skyrim and Fifa were also confirmed for the Switch.
Overall the presentation was weird, the DJ for the pre-show was a strange touch, the English voice over people seemed to be missing portions of the script and lack any emotion. The Presenters from Nintendo were very over the top in trying to make the presentation fun but mostly came across awkward, and slightly cringey. The timing seemed to be ok and the content itself answered most questions. Still, it has left me with a strange feeling for launch and I do need to see more launch titles announced for this to be a day one purchase. Zelda should not be enough to sell this console but it might just be with how good it looks. If you want to get one, then your pre-order is probably already placed but if you’re on the fence I would just stay there for the moment. Either find a way to get your hands on one to try or wait till Christmas when there will be some mad deals on it and there is more than one big game to choose from.