Nintendo flicks the Switch
The Switch, as we expected, is a hybrid console. You can use it as a handheld gaming machine and then dock it to become a home console.
After first being unveiled in October, Nintendo revealed more details about the console at a much-anticipated event, including news of a new online gaming network.
The Switch can be played on the go using a 6.2-inch 720p touchscreen onto which the two Joy-Con controllers attach.
It will have a battery life of between 2.5 and 6.5 hours, but can also be charged over USB-C.
This is all powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1 chip. It was never going to challenge the PlayStations and X-Boxes of this world head-on.
The console uses cartridges instead of discs. This enables the games to be played on-the-go as well as at home by connecting the Switch to a dock and using the Joy-Cons wirelessly.
Games available at launch will include the new Legend of Zelda title ‘The Breath of the Wild’. Later releases include Splatoon 2 and a ported version of the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8.
Mario fans will be excited to hear that Nintendo revealed a roster of new games including a brand new Mario title, ‘Super Mario Odyssey’. This should appear by the end of the year.
These include 1-2-Switch, in which players look at each other rather than the screen for reaction games such as a Wild-West style duel, and ARMS, in which the players’ hand movements are reflected as boxing moves in the game.
Other franchises such as FIFA, Minecraft and NBA 2K17 will come to the Switch, as will Skyrim and Fire Emblem Warriors.
Nintendo is obviously trying to recapture the instant appeal of games such as Wii Sports, which made 2006’s Wii console so successful.
A Joy-Con Grip accessory can hold the two Joy-Cons together to use as a more traditional controller. They can be held independently in each hand, or be used by one player each as two miniature controllers.
Nintendo said this effect was detailed enough that it could simulate the feel of individual ice cubes shaking in a glass. Could this be a hint at an interactive drinking game?
The right-hand Joy-Con has an infrared camera. This can detect how far away a hand is, or if it is making a rock, paper or scissors shape. Nintendo said this would allow for new gameplay ideas. Interesting.
The controllers also come with wrist-straps to prevent them flying out of your hand.
One set, including wrist straps, will be included in the box, but other sets, or individual replacements, will cost extra.
You’ll need to fork out £75 for an extra set.
Nintendo announced that it will have a paid-for subscription service for online gaming, similar to Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. It will start with a free trial before charging in the autumn.
Nintendo said the service would allow users to chat online or set appointments for games. The Switch will connect over Wi-Fi, and up to eight consoles can connect together locally for multiplayer games.
The subscription service will include extras including a free monthly download of a SNES or NES title and special offers.
Price and availability
UK retailers such as Amazon and Game are taking pre-orders for the Switch from this morning. As I have said, in the UK the Nintendo Switch is £280.
More information and to pre-order click here.
Interested? Do you think it will be as big a hit as the Wii or will it go the same way as the Wii U?