Nintendo’s Switch event has just ended (watch archive here) in Tokyo and while not all of our questions here at Pixelrater have been answered, I’ve compiled a vast amount of the details I do know. Let’s jump right in!
Launch Date / Price / Configurations
Contrary to almost every report, the Nintendo Switch will release simultaneously in multiple countries March 3, 2017 for $299.99. There will be two system bundles to choose from: one with gray Joy-Cons and one with neon colored Joy-Cons, as pictured below. Fans of importing games can rejoice as the system will not be region locked! Each console includes the Switch system, two Joy-Cons, two Joy-Con straps, a Joy-Con Grip, dock, hdmi cable, and power cable.
Nintendo’s Online Services
Perhaps this is where a lot of my personal frustration comes in, as we were given pretty vague details. At launch, Switch owners will be able to enjoy free multiplayer along with a free smartphone app to let them connect with friends and manage online play sessions. Does that mean these things can’t be done within the Switch’s OS? I don’t know because we weren’t shown what the Switch’s UI looks like, save for a a three second blip you can see below. We’re also left in the dark regarding past Virtual Console purchases and if they transfer over for free or if we have to pay a small “upgrade fee” like in the past. The online service will be free until the fall when it will then be a paid service ala PSN and Xbox Live. Currently, we have no word on what the price will be, but what we do know is it will include an online lobby with voice chat managed from a smartphone app connected to the Switch. Also, subscribers will receive a free NES or SNES game with newly added online play for free every month along with exclusive deals not available to free users. Up to eight friends can connect their systems locally over wifi for multiplayer gaming when out and about.
The Switch unit itself will charge over USB-C which is great since it’s rapidly becoming an industry standard. Speaking from experience with my MacBook Pro, I can also say it should juice up quick. When you’re on the go you can expect to get 2.5 to 6 hours of battery life depending on the game and your settings. For example, Nintendo says on their site that Zelda Breath of the Wild can be played for around 3 hours on a single charge. The unit has a 6.2 inch 720p capacitive touch screen which isn’t bad for the screen size. Each console includes 32GB of build in memory and is easily expandable using microSDXC cards. We have no word at the moment on how much data a game card can hold, but we’ll update as soon as we find out more.
The User Interface
Like I said above, we didn’t get an in depth look at the UI of the console, but here’s a breakdown of what we do have. We’ll look at the bottom from left to right. First up is News and Announcements which looks similar to the notification icon on the 3DS. Here, you’ll be able to get the latest info on game updates, announcements, and events when signed in with your free Nintendo Account. Next up is the eShop similar to the Wii U and 3DS. That’s where you’ll go to buy games, download demos, and so on. Album is for viewing your screenshots and sharing them online, not too different from PS4’s Capture Gallery. Controllers is likely for pairing, well, controllers as well as managing…..something else controller releated? Moving right along we have System Settings which is pretty self explanatory. You’ll go here to manage storage, amiibo data, and more. Last but not least is Sleep Mode where you put the Switch to sleep. Obviously. I’ll update once more info is available.
Joy-Cons Packing Some Punch
Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers come packed with features. The right one includes a NFC read/write touchpoint for amiibo support while also having an IR motion camera used for detecting how far away a player’s hand is or if they’re making a rock, paper, scissor formation, for example. The square button on the left Joy-Con is for sharing screenshots to social media with video support coming later on. As expected, both controllers have accelerometers and gyro support for motion controls along with advanced vibration feedback Nintendo is calling HD Rumble. It’s worth noting that the Pro Controller has NFC, HD Rumble, and motion support as well.
First Party Accessories
Considering the price of the console itself, some of these accessories seem rather steep. If you lose a Joy-Con it’ll cost you $49 to replace it individually, or $79 for both. If you’re like and you want that Pro Controller expect to shell out $69 while the Joy-Con charging Grip will set you back a modest $29. If you plan on moving your system between multiple TV’s, then the dock set will run you $89 which includes a hdmi cable and AC adapter with cord. Each Joy-Con comes with it’s own strap, similar to the Wiimotes of yore.
What About Them Games Though
A few new titles like 1,2,3 Switch, Arms, and Super Mario Odyssey were announced, but we also had revised ports of Skyrim, Rayman Legends, I Am Setsuna, and more. You can find and watch the trailer for some of the games announced below—oh—and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch along side Switch March 3.