Everything We Know About Nintendo Switch

Nintendo just announced a bunch of new info about their new console, the Nintendo Switch. Here's what we learned during the big show.

Art by Sam Woolley

THE DATE AND PRICE

The Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on 3 March 2017 and will cost $469.95 in Australia.

Here's what that $469.95 will get you:

Left to right, top to bottom: The Switch, one of two options for Joy-Con, the Switch Dock, the Joy-Con Grip, two Joy-Con straps, an AC Adaptor and an HDMI cable.

THE CONSOLE

The Switch is a hybrid handheld/set-top gaming device that you can play on your TV or on the go. We got our first official look back in October, though various facts about the console had been heavily rumoured over the course of 2016. Today at a Nintendo Switch event, Jason got to use the console himself. Read his hands-on impressions here:

At launch, you'll be able to buy one of two different versions: A Switch with grey Joy-Con controllers, and one with multi-coloured controllers.

Yes, the controller kinda looks like a walleyed dog.

The Nintendo Switch Dock will allow the Switch to plug directly into your TV, using either a separate Nintendo Switch Pro Controller or the included Joy-Con controllers to play it like you would a normal set-top console.

Below the TV, you can see the Switch Dock.

What sets the Switch apart from other consoles is the fact that you can remove it from the dock at any time and immediately resume playing on the go.

While in handheld mode, you can also connect up to eight Switch consoles locally via Wi-Fi for local multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2.

THE ONLINE SERVICE

The Switch will launch with a new online service. It will be free at launch, but in spring of 2017 Nintendo will start to charge for it. According to Nintendo, subscribers will get to download and play a NES or Super Nintendo game "for free for a month", and those games will have newly-added online features. (Just to be clear, once the month is up you will no longer be able to play the game unless you buy it.)

The Switch network also have some sort of smart-device integration. Per a Nintendo press release:

The service includes a smart-device application available in winter 2017 that will let users invite friends to play online, set play appointments and chat with one another as they play compatible games.

THE SCREEN

In handheld mode, the Switch will output video to its built-in 6.2-inch, 720p display. The screen also uses a capacitive touch panel.

THE BATTERY LIFE

Nintendo claims the Switch can get up to six hours of battery life, but "will vary depending on the software and usage conditions". As a for-instance, they say The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played for three hours on a single charge. The handheld Switch can be charged while you're playing with the Switch's included AC adaptor, which goes into a USB-C plug on the handheld unit.

THE STORAGE CAPACITY

The Nintendo Switch will come with 32GB of internal memory. (Gasp!) However, it can be easily expanded using microSDXC cards. (Phew!)

THE CONTROLLERS

The detachable Joy-Con controllers have a pretty silly name, and hopefully we'll just start calling them Switch Controllers before too long. For now, though, Joy-Con it is. (Per Nintendo, the plural of Joy-Con appears to be "Joy-Con".)

You can also use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which will go for $99.95. You can buy a second set of Joy-Con for $119.95. Individual Joy-Con go for $69.95. They ain't cheap.

The Joy-Con can be popped off the side of the Switch like so...

Above: A still from the Switch reveal trailer.

... and used to play two-player games.

Each Joy-Con has a joystick, four face buttons, an accelerometer and two tiny cute little L and R shoulder buttons.

The right Joy-Con has an AR camera that can tell how far your hand is away from it -- for example, it can tell the difference between a hand making rock, paper or scissors. It also has a NFC reader/writer, which can read Amiibo data. The left Joy-Con has a "capture" button similar to the PS4, which will let you capture screenshots as well as, eventually, video. Both Joy-Con have got some allegedly nifty vibration features, and the Nintendo demonstrator was pretty high on what he called "HD Rumble".

The Joy-Con can be attached to a Joy-Con Strap that slides over the long end, adding a wrist-strap and more prominent L and R buttons. They can also be combined with a Joy-Con Grip in the middle to form a single controller with the same number of thumbsticks and buttons you'd find on a Nintendo Pro Controller.

You can watch a demo of the Joy-Con here:

THE LACK OF REGION LOCKING

Unlike past Nintendo consoles, Nintendo Switch will not have software region locking. Rejoice!

THE GAMES

Nintendo started their games demonstrations with a collection of minigames called 1 2 Switch, which players can play with two Joy-Cons away from the screen. You kinda gotta watch the trailer to fully get how this one works:

It looks like there'll be minigames like tennis, Wild-West quickdraw, swordfighting and magic casting. Each game involves standing next to the screen and looking directly at your opponent. 1 2 Switch featured the most non-traditional type of gaming at the event, and it will be interesting to see if we get more off-screen Switch games as we go.

Above: Arms

Arms is a more straightforward Switch exclusive. It's a fantastical fighting game where players use the controllers to shoot huge, stretchy boxing gloves at one another. It looks very Nintendo, and pretty fun. You can control your punches and even curve long-range punches by tilting and twisting the Joy-Con as you play. You can play online, locally with an extra set of Joy-Cons and can also play locally with another Switch. Gonna be a lot of sore arms because of this one.

Above: Splatoon 2

Next we got a look at Splatoon 2, a sequel to the widely loved Wii U multiplayer shooter. You can play the game with the Joy-Con, or with the Switch Pro Controller. It will also support gyro controls. This one will also support online multiplayer, as well as local competitive play with other Switch owners. It will be out winter 2017.

After that came a little Italian fellow you may have heard of named Mario. (Or is that Wario? THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.) Nintendo showed off a new 3D Mario game called Super Mario Odyssey. It looks really, really good. I want to play it right now. There were electric guitars and a giant mech climbing a skyscraper? Bowser had on metal boots?

In this game, Mario will be leaving the Mushroom Kingdom for the real world, with cities and other real-world settings turning up as levels in the game. Mario also has a special cap (with eyes!) that will "play an important role in [his] journey". Nintendo describes it as a "sandbox-style" game, and it will be out Holiday 2017. Basically, it's a new 3D Mario, folks. Buckle up.

Above: Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Next Nintendo briefly showed Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which sure looks like some JRPG shit that Jason will love. Or not, based on the fact that I don't think he liked the first Xenoblade Chronicles. They also showed a short teaser for Fire Emblem: Warriors, a new Shin Megami Tensei game and a new Square Enix JRPG called Octopath Traveller.

Above: Octopath Traveller

With the JRPGs taken care of, Bethesda's Todd Howard turned up to announce Skyrim is indeed coming to the Nintendo Switch as expected.

Near the end of the event, Nintendo showed a sax-tastic sizzle reel with a ton of third-party games including Minecraft: Story Mode, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition, Has Been Heroes, Project Sonic 2017, I Am Setsuna, Skylanders Imaginators, Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence, Puyopuyo Tetris S, Disgaea 5, Minna de Waiwai! Spelunker, Sangokushi 13 with Power Up Kit, Dragonball Xenoverse 2 (temp title) and Farming Simulator. You can watch that clip here:

Go get it, saxophonist!

At the very end of the show, Nintendo showed a ridiculously hot trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and announced that the game will be out on March 3 along with the Switch. Hell of a launch game, that.

In a press release sent after the event, Nintendo detailed Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, will be a Switch port of the Wii U game that will allow up to eight people to play in local multiplayer. It will add a few new characters including the Inkling Girl and Boy from Splatoon, King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. Battle mode has been revamped (yes!) and will include Balloon Battle and Bob-omb blast with some new stadiums and returning classic battle mode maps. It will miss the Switch launch but will be out shortly afterwards on April 28.

Also Confirmed: Shovel Knight, Just Dance 2017, Dragon Quest X, Dragon Quest XI, Dragon Quest Heroes 1 &2, FIFA, NBA 2K, Super Bomberman R, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, and an action-puzzle game called Snipperclips: Cut it out, together!

WATCH MORE: Nintendo News


Comments

    So where are the day 1 games?

      According to eurogamer :

      The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
      1-2 Switch
      Super Bomberman R
      Skylanders Imaginators
      Just Dance 2017

      Another three games come out in March:

      SnipperClippers
      Fast RMX
      Has-Been Heroes

      On 28th April:

      Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

      Pegged for spring 2017 are:

      Arms
      Disgaea 5 Complete
      Puyo Puyo Tetris
      Rime

      Down for summer 2017 is:

      Splatoon 2

      During autumn 2017:

      The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

      Holiday 2017 gets:

      Super Mario Odyssey

      And there are 10 games with a vague 2017 release window:

      Xenoblade Chronicles 2
      Ultra Street Fighter 2 The Final Challenge
      Minecraft
      EA Sports FIFA
      Sonic Mania
      I Am Setsuna
      Steep
      Syberia 3
      NBA 2K
      Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

        By Christmas there will be a few big hitters out there!

        Zelda will tide me over at launch, I hope we hear about pokemon and monster hunter soon.

        Wow that is an abysmal lineup. Where is Donkey Kong?

          Seconded. That line-up would have to be among worst ever launch line-ups. Ever.

        Thanks dude, Bomberman and Zelda it is! Same combo I did with my N64 (plus Diddy Kong Racing).

        Do you know if we will be able to buy old Nintendo titles, like Wind Waker or Twilight Princess, from the console's online store from launch day?

        This will be the first Nintendo console I've bought, and I'm keen to go back and play some of their classic titles, especially since BotW is the only appealing game for a while, and I'd want something else after I'm done with it.

        Last edited 15/01/17 1:36 pm

          This wasn't detailed, but they usually put out a lot of classics on the virtual console. I wouldn't hold my breath for Wii or Wii U releases though as wii motes and the gamepad were required for a lot of them.

          Picking up a Wii U in the future for cheap (if you can) would let you play the Wii U and Wii libraries. There were some great games you missed.

        Why the hell have so many ports? Basically "here is a game you have enjoyed months or even years ago on another console, except its going to be a bit uglier in this version. We expect you to buy it again at full price though because we haven't given you many other options for this $500 unit you have just purchased"

    Has it been confirmed, or assumed, that nes/snes/gba/gc will be available for purchase through the virtual store on release or at least at a later date.

    Last edited 14/01/17 11:09 am

      At least NES and SNES have been as they talked about buying them after the one month free* thing is over.

      I read elsewhere that they plan to talk more about the monthly games and DLC/online functionality closer to launch though so might hear more about VC then.

        Does this mean after the free trial thing, you need to have some sort of subscription to the virtual store to use it?

          From what I've read so far, the online subscription (pay each month to play online) includes a SNES or NES game to play for the month - like a rental.

          To keep it longer than that, or to buy any other SNES/NES game, you just buy it from the eShop. The eShop will hopefully also sell N64 and maybe even Gamecube games but I haven't heard anything official about them yet.

            Ah great! thanks.

    So voice chat done through your phone so they dont expose kids to people online?

      And you have to pay for the privilege. Even if you don't have a supported phone.

        It's so Nintendo it hurts.

          Well, a real Nintendo move would be to make it available through a separately sold peripheral of theirs :P

    I've cancelled my preorder simply due to the price.

    $470 for the console + $90 for game + $70 for an Sd card + $100 for a second set of joy cons +$90 for a pro controller = $820. Plus online subscription.......that makes three with the Xbone and PS4. And as Splatoon is a game you pretty much need online for you'll need the sub.

    Don't need it all day one, but would soon enough.

    This is without the thought that I have two kids and due to the nature of the screen, I'd need two Switches (3 including me) eventually.

    Too expensive. I'll stick with the 3DS, Xbone and PS4Pro for now.

      Do what you want to do but realistically do you need everything at launch? I'm sure you could cut the SD card, cut the second set of joy con. Yes I can see the appeal in the Pro controller so that all up would be $650 - also online pricing hasn't been announced yet - could be as cheap as EA access, but also could be as expensive as Xbox gold.

        $650 is still expensive especially when there are only 4 launch titles and they already have a 3DS, Xbox and PS4Pro...

        My guess with the online sub, is it's going to be up closer to Xbox Gold than anything...

        I don't think storage should be an extra cost on a near $500 console. I will probably keep my preorder, but only because if I dont get it at launch I will likely never bother.

          I certainly cannot afford it. But we all know Nintendo don't do price drops.

      Isnt that similar to saying you'll need 3 PS4's or 3 xboxes for you to all play?

      If you're looking for cheap gaming, buying a 2ds for each kid is probably they way to go.

      Either way though, any console will be expensive at launch, just look at the PS3 when that was released!

      Never thought about the screen of the switch being an issue with kids. I can see it as kids wanting their own now.

    Everything here looks terrible except the no region lock, which should have been like 15 years ago anyway. Nintendo's business plan is to sell us big stinky hardware at inflated prices.. after that, who cares right? games dont make money, just make more fucking consoles! It's the latest trend in video games! this combined with the over saturated mobile game market, i smell another game market crash coming

    32gb of internal memory!? Lol.

    External HD support? Or just cards?
    No specs on the hardware?

      Just cards. It's a portable system so I can't see external HDDs working too well.

        The dock as a USB 3 type A port, it might be an option for people who never want to take it portable.

        Why not?
        External HD plugged into the base station- You then select a few games to be loaded into 'portable mode'

        Or just actually provide decent storage and have that feature anyway...

          THIS!
          My thoughts exactly! Why not have the base with 500gb memory plus keep the expandable memory slot on the Switch and be able to jump game files over between the two.

          It's like the base is nothing more than a fancy TV connection and the unit itself is just a more powerful handheld? I was so on board with this until that press conference.

    They may not have the quantity of games but I'd say Zelda is a far bigger (likely better) game than anything the Xbox One or PS4 had on their launch lineups

    Nintendo need to drop the try hard innovations, give us a console with a proper controller like the Gamecube. The 3ds has the portable market covered and it should have connected with the new console, they could have sold bundled versions. Perhaps a portable device could have been sold at a later date or separately that is capable of playing the new games.

    One last chance Nintendo, please give us gamecube games on the virtual console. Please put out a new Metroid, make new meaty thick games like the new Zelda. Enough with the multiplayer family bullshit. The audience has grown up.

      Then perhaps it is time for that part of the audience to move on to something else, while those who still enjoy such things can continue to be served by them?

        There won't be much of an audience left if the people who've wanted the Gamecube N64 era of quality aren't catered too. Nintendo is fast tracking itself to just being a publisher.
        I'm not disappointed by the price or the power of the console, I'm disappointed in the childish focus on bullshit controllers and a portable screen. The 3ds should have had a level of compatibility with the console and the portable screen should have been sold later. Nintendo needs to stop focusing on having people waving their hands and walking around with consoles. Switch will sell more than the Wii U but its not going to be enough for Nintendo to sustain itself, they need to make another console dedicated to GAMES not walking around the fucking park teaming up with your PaLz to play ARMS.

        If there is a next time itll be back to a console for games that isn't portable. If not it'll be cool playing Mario on a Ps5.

          I dunno what to say, the GameCube is probably my most favourite of all their consoles and to me the Wii U felt like its second coming. Until its end-life drought I've felt pretty well catered to with what they've offered, and the portable screen was a key asset from day zero.

          What kind of compatibility did you want from the 3DS? Are you talking like GBA-GCN type functionality? I did love that about the Cube, and it disappointed me that nothing outside of Guitar Hero (thank based Vicarious Visions) took advantage of the "hey we don't need special expensive cables any more!" state of things. With the Wii U there was only the ability to use a 3DS as a controller in Smash I guess? Again a shame.

          I agree, I don't understand the focus on being able to 'take it with you' - its like a really expensive Gameboy?

          I get they are trying to innovate, but this feels like a gimmicky Swiss-army knife solution...

    This will be the first Nintendo console I have bought. Was a Sega kid, moved to PlayStation and Xbox. I found this generation I've used my PC for most gaming needs and the consoles are gathering dust. Like the idea of mobility and using a USB charger means I can extend the life with external batteries. Will wait though for a price drop and to check reviews.

      The console like all other nintendos are under powered compared to competiton. yes, like the wii, and wii u you will get to play nes, snes games.... or you could get a nes classic that has a built in emulator that plays 30 games (now that has been hacked to play more). or just buy an outdate computer from garage sale thrift store... and use and emulator and play that way same thing even better quality then wii wii u and your next gen switch which really is not next gen. same old hardware taken from other old devices phones tablets not even newer models, ds 3ds. you had atari lynx, sega game gear. theres even emulators for cell phone to play more games then nintendo offers. battery life will turn bad as kids will mischarge the system and since that is built in instead of replaceable or upgradable, kinda of like the flop of moto g cellphones or the kids usb charge built in battery toy remote cars. no its not high quailty built or built to last.... please all batteries die... its a cross between a wii and ds with less features of a wii u, just portablity. all this tech people think is adavnced, just doesnt deal with tech or know games systems of the past... using nvidia what does that mean nothing there are many devices that do that. say a brand name and people lean for it. its a low powered gpu cpu combo. the system is ability might be closer to a lower end wii. pay for online service.. ok.. xbox.. kk.. ps4 tv... yes.. np.. better to be free if they want more customers as nintendo is pulling out all stops as they are close to bankrupcy.. yes they are.. sales are down. less games on this system that actually draws people who really has money. adults. who pays for most of the nintendo products adults... these are adults that grew up in nintendo.. its good to have a kid and adult friendly games. wii u tried.. they need to open thier doors up more. super mario run flop.. low screen res 1280x by whatever.. i can get a windows 10 or andriod running either an octo core or cherry trail x8500 with 4 gig ram and 64 hard drive with a screen res of hd 1080x by whatever... or better for $50 to $80. wii wasnt bad. wii u flop. using a high price point is not what game systems used to do. as they were making their money from with video games. they were selling a higher end system under priced and then selling games from $40 to $70. nintendo is overprice low memory as well.. not top quality memory its outdated as well 32gb... its like buying a walmart vizio tv. vizio uses old tech from sony and other tv brands and puts it in thier new tv and sells it under thier brand. same is what nintendo is doing. but they are a name brand using low brand out dated parts except for the outdated low and under powered gpu that is made by name brand nvida. they should just make games for another companys system.. look at sega... they did that. wii u did tv and handle and so can any tablet or cellphones... you can stream a xbox one or ps4 to tablet or cellphone and play anywhere online. nothing new just in a better portability to switch games. going back to sd like cartridges like ds hey is easy to carry around. good deal. now days the sd carts are cheap bluray is 50 to 100gb. sd carts basically unlimited but my bet is only 32gb max or way less still outdated tech from past. goes back to any system like atari 2600 that ran on a cart. or gameboy. im done, i could go on. that said people need to just realize and see what it really is, its a nintendo, old tech taken from many different devices, old ideas from nintendo and past and new game systems phones tablets, bad battery ideas, high priced controllers that are cheaply built and accessories, limited game selection and same stuff that has been issued in past nintendo system that you may have paid for... and more but that it thanks and sorry. i like it still though. its not a $300 system that ends up being a $450 to $550 not worth that $199 yes barely $249 controllers $35 to $45 tops. good luck.

        I'm hoping this is copypasta and you didn't spend all that time writing that. No one is going to read something formatted like that, let alone the rambling which I assume continues throughout after reading two lines.

    They mention the somewhat abysmal battery life when playing games, but they don't mention standby lifetime. I imagine, given that they're using the same technology as you'd find in an Android phone, that it's a couple of days but that will depend entirely on what the console's doing while not being used.

      Although an android phone is typically worn down throughout the day by its connection to the phone network and background downloads of various bits of data isn't it? I'm sure they'd last much longer in flight mode compared to regular standby.

    I was hoping this would be a suitable successor to the 3DS or kind of do the job of a wii and a 3DS but it's not really a practical handheld console for my kids (8 and 10 yr olds), nor is it financially realistic. Anyone know if they're still gonna support the 3DS?

    I wanted to like this console but it's just priced itself way too high I think. It's about $700 to get the console, one game and a second set of controllers. That's close to 50% more than some xbone/ps4 bundles I've seen with 5 good games and 1tb of storage!

Join the discussion!