If you missed out on the Nintendo Switch conference, here's a breakdown of everything as it happened.
If you want to watch the conference live as well, fire up this page in a second window. Grab a cup of coffee, a piece of cheese, whatever you need to get you through the next hour. And yes - I'm expecting this to go for at least an hour.
1:00 PM: Nintendo have a lot of questions to answer with this one. Obviously the big two: how much is the Switch going to cost, and what games will it come with on day 1?
But the more important question is going to be the online backend. The Virtual Console service needs to be brought into 2017. Whether that's a case of just allowing people to play games from their Wii/Wii U/3DS accounts without having to rebuy them, or simply giving people access to the back catalogue via a rolling subscription, I don't know.
But they need to do something. It probably won't be that amazing - it'll be some expansion of the Miiverse world with added functionality for streaming and finding content. Or at least I'm expecting something along those lines. Nintendo can't survive in the modern world of esports without having a better interface for the creation, curation and discovery of that content.
Of course, the thing most people care about is the games.
Zelda seems super obvious, and most people on my social feed are expecting it to be a launch title. The leaked shots of accessories seem to corroborate that, but we'll find out soon enough. As far as other games go, I'd be willing to bet on Mario Kart - it's unlikely that the Switch would launch with both a main Zelda and Mario title - it makes more sense to launch the new 3D Mario later in the year. Makes for a better marketing message in the lead-up to Christmas.
Nintendo are really pushing the social aspect of local multiplayer on the Switch, so I'd expect some kind of party game or collection of mini-games, maybe even bundled in with the console. It's on brand: the Wii had Wii Sports, while the Wii U had Nintendo Land. The Switch will have something similar.
After the initial announcement, there was also a ton of noise from Epic about how the Switch had support for Unreal Engine 4. I wouldn't expect a huge amount of third-party love for the Switch straight away, but I would expect at least one UE4 title to pop up today. I'll throw a wildcard out there and say Tekken 7, although I wouldn't expect it to be a launch title (more a Christmas 2017 release, if not 2018).
In the meantime, what are you expecting? And if you have any questions - or things you'd like me to ask or see ahead of the hands-on reveal tomorrow - let me know below.
And as an added bonus, I asked everyone last week how much you thought the Nintendo Switch would cost. Here's what won:
- First place: $350-399 (28%)
- Runner-up: $300-349 (25%)
- Third: $400-449 (18%)
- 4th: $250-299 (12%)
- 5th: $450-499 (7%)
More or less what I would have expected. I'm a bit surprised more people didn't vote for $450-499, since that seems like a reasonable price point for a "premium" or ultimate Switch bundle with two or three games.
1:31 PM: As is customary, here's some of the better bingo cards people have put together.
Less than 4 hours left until the NINTENDO SWITCH PRESENTATION.
Here's my bingo card (feat. @EtikaWNetwork). Use it if you want!
GET READY. pic.twitter.com/d9rfQpYlvZ
— Max Miller (@sabrethefox) January 13, 2017
And here's a good one from NightwingRebirth on NeoGAF:
1:37 PM: This is the best way to prepare for a Nintendo stream, at least until the cat revolts.
The founder of Nicalis, the studio behind The Binding of Isaac, also tweeted this out:
Isaac's body is ready for tonight pic.twitter.com/eLAy3S9RRk
— Tyrone Rodriguez (@tyronerodriguez) January 13, 2017
What's that in the background?
1:44 PM: Nintendo Japan's opened up a fancy new landing page, where they'll also be broadcasting the presentation. You'll have to watch on YouTube though if you want English dubbing. The site does have this neat new image, though.
1:45 PM: About an hour ago, a listing popped up on Wal-Mart Canada suggesting the console would be around $CAD399. That's not a confirmed price - it could very well be a placeholder - but it's already resulted in Nintendo's share price tanking.
Shares in the game maker fell as much as 3.9 percent after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. listed the new device for C$399 ($304) on its Canadian website ... If confirmed, that would surpass most analyst estimates. Mizuho Financial Group Inc.’s Takeshi Koyama last week wrote he expects the Switch to go for around $249 to $279. Macquarie Securities analysts David Gibson and Aya Haruyama wrote this week they expect a price of around $250.
1:56 PM: JB and EB Games still have a $999 placeholder price up, for what it's worth. The Gamesmen just have TBA; I'll keep an eye out for other listings.
Here's also a handy look back at Nintendo's hardware, courtesy of Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad:
Here is the complete history of Nintendo Hardware shipments from 1983 to 2016.
Should be useful. pic.twitter.com/A3yPCL7hfJ
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 13, 2017
2:00 PM: Just over an hour away. Finally. We will have answers.
Also probably an hour away until the EB Games crashes again.
I kid. (But it probably will.)
2:18 PM: It's also worth remembering that there will be a Treehouse stream late tonight, or early tomorrow morning depending on where you are. Here's the times for that, courtesy of Vooks:
- Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart: Saturday 1:30 AM
- Queensland: Saturday 12:30 AM
- Adelaide: Saturday 1:00 AM
- Perth: Friday 10:30 PM
- Darwin: Saturday 12:00 AM/midnight
The Treehouse stream will be going more in-depth into the games shown off, and if you can stay up for it it'll be worth the watch.
2:28 PM: Time for another ice coffee. Total count today: one ice coffee in the morning, two tablets of No-Doz, a bottle of Coke Zero, then another ice coffee.
Pretty low caffeine standard for me as far as conference/reveal days go.
2:36 PM: The Switch trailer music is playing in the background and it's doing my head in. You know those times when you can hear something playing but you're not sure what tab it's coming from? I just had that moment.
My Twitter feed at the moment is arguing over the likely name for the next 3D Mario. Super Mario Odyssey is the current favourite, thanks to some trademark digging and speculated leaks over the last 24 hours.
I've no idea whether that's the name or not, but I do know that you can play a NesBOX demo of Super Mario Odyssey (from 1992) in your browser.
Less than 25 minutes to go.
2:37 PM: The official event in Japan is looking fancy.
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) January 13, 2017
2:49 PM: Almost ten minutes to go. I think I'll go have a pee before then.
In the interim, things to think about: when the new 3D Mario will be out (because it probably won't be a launch time; we've seen too little), what indies will be supported on the Switch, and what is going to happen to Amiibos.
2:56 PM: We have lights!
2:57 PM: From sabrescene in the comments:
That Isaac tease ... Would make for an awesome Switch game.
Binding of Isaac would be perfect. The game was already released for the Wii U, so it makes sense for it to be ported to the Switch as well (especially with Afterbirth+ just being released).
2:59 PM: It's coming...
3:00 PM: And it begins!
The music is so weird with all these suits in the crowd. Kimishima comes out on stage.
3:01 PM: Kimishima talking up the basics. "Nintendo Switch is a brand new kind of home gaming system," the English translation says.
"In today's presentation, we intend to provide a detailed introduction to the Nintendo [Switch] hardware and software," he says.
March 3 global simultaneous release date.
3:03 PM: $US299.
Kimishima says Nintendo will provide "additional" details about a paid online service at a later date. And Nintendo's pass systems, which had region locking, but region locking will not be applied to the Nintendo Switch software.
3:05 PM: Takahashi, lead of Nintendo software development, takes the stage.
He's going through the history of Nintendo's hardware right now. "And now, Nintendo Switch has inherited all of Nintendo's entertainment DNA," saying Nintendo has packed in all the features of their previous consoles.
A video plays.
3:07 PM: Nothing really new in that video; it was almost an investor video, a how-to Switch.
Talking about the various ways you can play now. First is TV mode.
Second is tabletop mode, standing the Switch up using the kickstand on the back.
Handheld is the third mode, the part where you play the Switch like a tablet with controllers on the side.
Battery life will "range from 2 and a half hours to 6 and a half hours" depending on the game.
The screen is a capactive touch screen; up to 8 Switch systems can be connected for multiplayer over Wi-Fi.
3:10 PM: Nintendo's saying a lot of good things here - but man, that battery life is a bit soft. 2 and a half at the bottom end ain't great.
Now it's time for a breakdown of the JoyCon controllers.
It's not a big unit.
"There is a left and a right JoyCon. Each JoyCon has an analog stick, each stick can be pressed like a button," the English translation says. Beneath the stick is the Home button, and there's an NFC Reader/Writer that can read Amiibo data. (Nice.)
The square button on the left JoyCon is the capture button. "In the future, it will be able to capture video as well."
Does that mean the video capturing feature won't be available at launch?
There's an accelerometer and gyro sensors in each JoyCon, which is awesome.
3:13 PM: Now for another video featuring the JoyCon.
Colour variations: neon blue, neon red. There's Wii-esque straps as well. It's a basic cord: looks good.
3:14 PM: The right JoyCon has a motion IR camera in it as well; it can tell the difference between rock, paper and scissors apparently.
The JoyCon can also imitate the feeling of ice cubes shaking in a glass, and how many there are in it, and water filling the glass. It's thanks to a HD rumble pack/sensor, apparently.
3:16 PM: "And welcome to the game that everyone can play together." "Mario Kart," I shout in the office.
And then this appears.
Nope, not Mario Kart.
3:17 PM: It's a game about pistol duelling; the JoyCons act as the pistols. But there's also other games: dancing, balancing, picking up the phone, a whole bunch of reaction-based mini games, it seems.
It's called 1 2 Switch.
3:19 PM: 1 2 Switch can be played without looking at the screen, we're being told. You look into the eyes of your opponent to play the game, Nintendo's general director of hardware for the Switch says.
It's about a different kind of playing, where you play your opponent instead of the actions on the screen. "1 2 Switch is a game ... primarily played through face to face interaction."
Now the whole taking a Nintendo Switch to a party actually makes sense.
1 2 Switch released March 3 along the Switch.
3:21 PM: Time for a new game that also shows off the capabilities of the Switch. A schoolgirl faces off against a bloke who wants to be Cristiano Ronaldo.
It's a boxing game for the Switch, it seems.
I'd play this more than Street Fighter. It's like a 3D, third person brawler. Called Arms.
3:23 PM: The producer of ARMS gets on stage.
ARMS is like boxing in the way you throw punches, but like shooters in that you have to lead your punches because your arms are extendable. Twisting fists curves the punch, and punching forward throws your punch across the stage. Titling the JoyCon moves your character.
"Because ARMS uses physical controls, anyone can pick it up and play right away ... but as you play more, you'll uncover higher level techniques and strategies," the producer says.
A pre-recorded fight between the developers starts. Rounds are about 100 seconds each, and it looks like characters have loadouts.
ARMS will "release this spring", so around August/September/October for Australians.
3:27 PM: SPLATOON, HELL YEAH
According to Mark, new things: the maps, there was an artillery weapon in there, there's rain. THERE'S RAIN CLOUDS. THERE'S A HOVERCRAFT.
This is going to be sick.
3:29 PM: This guy.
"It has been about 2 years since I first discovered the squid."
Can you believe Nintendo nearly didn't approve Splatoon?
Splatoon 2 is coming out in the winter. "There will be stage and weapon updates after launch, as well as ongoing in-game events." Sick.
3:32 PM: Here's a good breakdown of the JoyCons from the Nintendo Twitter account:
— Nintendo AU NZ (@NintendoAUNZ) January 13, 2017
3:33 PM: Mario appears. Out of a sewer drain.
"What the fuck am I watching," Mark just yelled.
3:34 PM: Oh, Peach is still involved. This game looks ... pretty big. It's almost open world or something. Or the levels are massive.
Super Mario Odyssey confirmed.
3:35 PM: Mario's going on a journey in an unknown world. There's a "cap character".
Mario running around a city and getting run over sounds fun. Super Mario Odyssey is due out around Christmas.
3:37 PM: Some other studios now: Monolith Soft. A bit of third-person JRPG action.
Could be Xenoblade Chronicles.
Xenoblade 2. Close enough. Koei Tecmo's turn now. Hyrule Warriors 2?
3:39 PM: There's a shield. It's Koei Tecmo. This is feeling like Hyrule Warriors.
Fire Emblem Warriors. Close. Time for the third-party partners now.
Already over 80 games in development, according to Nintendo. Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI has already been announced for release, but that's in Japan only. "But, there is another Dragon Quest game making an appearance."
It's Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2.
3:41 PM: Another video plays. It's an Atlus game.
Unreal Engine 4 logo pops up. Title pops up. In Japanese. Shin Megami Tensei, apparently.
Square Enix's time now.
Octopath Traveller, this game is called.
3:44 PM: And then this pimp appeared on the stage.
"We'll consider new games for the Nintendo Switch, and we'll present them soon." Thanks Nagaoshi. Top bloke.
3:45 PM: And it's Todd Howard time - and Skyrim.
"What's really exciting is for all of us at Bethesda to finally work with Nintendo," Howard says. Well, at least it's finally confirmed. No release date, though.
And then SUDA51 screams so loud it buggers up the sound. What a champion.
I love this guy.
3:47 PM: Travis Touchdown - from No More Heroes - is "coming to the Nintendo Switch". He doesn't say when, and the title hasn't been decided yet. Suda's been discussing with the indie community "about for the new Nintendo Switch console".
Apparently "it's an easier platform to create games for, especially for indie developers". That's good to hear.
And Suda's off. Patrick Soderlund from EA/DICE pops up.
What's EA and DICE got today?
"When my first son was born, my wife and I gave him the middle name Luigi."
3:50 PM: The world's "most popular sports game is coming" to the Switch. Yay. FIFA is coming to Switch.
EA is going full EA at a Nintendo presentation. Quick, bring Suda 51 back.
3:51 PM: Suderland has a sick suit, though. He says they'll have more to announce in the coming months.
And now the first portion of the presentation has ended. Minecraft just flashed up for a fraction of a second in the post video.
3:54 PM A lot of games just got shown off. Here's some screenshots:
Now it's time for the different SKUs.
3:55 PM: Here's what you get with the base model:
No difference in RRP between the straight gray/neon blue-neon red models. Now Nintendo of America/Nintendo of Europe are giving their messages.
3:57 PM: Nintendo of Europe are announcing hands-on events in the coming months after the press hands-on, which is kicking off around Europe in the next few hours. Australia's hands-on, as you know, is tomorrow (which I'll be attending).
Reggie is saying the Switch will be on display in six separate cities across the US. Reggie goes on for a bit, and then the Breath of the Wild sound picks up in the background.
Miyamoto and Reggie talk about how good Zelda is. When is Breath of the Wild coming out, Reggie asks.
DAMN YOU NINTENDO JUST ANNOUNCE IT ALREADY
4:01 PM: Kimishima says they'll start taking pre-orders in Japan from January 21. Dodges the Zelda release date question for a while. And then says "we do have one last thing to share with you."
I really hate all the fog in Breath of the Wild. Makes it awful whenever you capture screenshots. Still looks great though.
4:06 PM: So that's it - Legend of Zelda will be a launch title with the Nintendo Switch. The console is launching at the end of GDC as well, which should make that conference real interesting.
Let's also go over some of the games that were shown off in that quickfire video:
There was a quick shot of Bomberman with four-player local co-op. Some remastered form of Street Fighter 2 popped up, with Bison getting kicked by Ryu and Ken at the same time. Fast Racing NEO popped up, although we don't know whether it's a re-release or with added content (and some upgraded performance).
What'd you think?
4:11 PM: I've just received a press release confirming that Skylanders Imaginators is coming to the Switch as well, which is another plus for families. You won't need the Portal of Power for that either, which mums and dads should enjoy.
Most importantly, here's the things we didn't hear about: Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Bayonetta, no Yoshi/Kirby games, no Mario Party, no Pokemon (or Pokken Tournament) and no Mario Maker. There still isn't an Australian price on the console yet, but Nintendo just tweeted out the nicest shot of Zelda yet (it's not rendered in-game):
4:19 PM: So. Time to take a breath. That was the longest Nintendo presentation for a while that wasn't just talking about one game.
We'll keep you posted with all of the announcements, including the console's pricing, availability and more as it becomes available. Thanks for staying with me over the last few hours, and I'll let you know what the console itself is like after my hands-on tomorrow.