March 3rd, 2017
The Switch is Nintendo's 7th home console 5th handheld
newest hardware. After the Wii U's struggles over the past four years, especially with advertising and PR, this is Nintendo's attempt to get people back on board and right the ship.
As the name implies, it is a hybrid console, capable of switching between standard TV play and on-the-go gaming. The console itself is actually just a thin, tablet-esque bit of hardware that's very
roughly the same size as a Wii U gamepad. But don't be confused: whereas the gamepad was just a machine that streamed from the Wii U itself, the Switch is a fully independent machine. It has a capacitive touch screen, two slots on the side for controller attachments, Wi Fi, and uses a USB-C cable to charge. Due to its nature, it'll use cartridges to play games. There are three main ways to play:
This the traditional couch playing mode. The Switch comes with a dock that uses an HDMI cable to broadcast the Switch to your TV. This is where the Switch acts most like a regular home console, and there's not much else to say. You can play using the game's controller (Joycons) separated or together if you have a charging grip (Sold Separately), or you can opt for something more typical like the pro controller (Also Sold Separately).
The mobile mode, this is just taking the Switch out of the dock and playing on it. The Joycons slide on to each half of the console, giving you a more handheld experience. Battery life will vary based on the game and what you are doing, with estimates being a broad 2-6 hours. Breath of Wild was used as a benchmark, going three hours on a single charge. Switches can also connect to up to seven additional Switches for local multiplayer purposes.
Tabletop mode is basically handheld, but the Switch has a little kickstand that lets you prop it up. Each half of a joycon can operate as its own independent controller, so you can use this mode to play games with another person. The Joycons also have an attachment called a grip that slides in and gives you L/R button functionality (Actually Not Sold Separately). I have no idea what how many players this mode supports, but I imagine it's not all that many given how hard it'd be to squeeze that many people around it. And like Handheld mode, you can of course connect and play with other Switches.
Oh, and the Switch won't be region locked. Prepare to import.
The Switch will launch in Japan, North America, and Europe on March 3rd. In the US it'll retail for $299.99, and it comes with the following:
- Switch Console
- TV Dock
- Left and Right Joycons
- Joycon Wrist Straps
- Joycon Grip
- HDMI Cable
- AC Adapter
You have the option to buy a Switch with black Joycons or Red/Blue Joycons. CHOICES!
Need more crap? Accessories are available if you got cash to burn.
Want a more traditional controller? That'll be seventy bucks, pal.
Additional Joycons can be purchased for a hefty fee. They also come in red, blue, and red/blue.
Lose just ONE Joycon? Nintendo has got you covered, although they will charge you an extra ten dollars more than what they cost bundled together. Because business.
That pro controller sure was pricey, wasn't it? Well, for less than half the cost, you can just slap your joycons in this thing and get a similar experience. And also pretend it's a weird dog, I guess.
Because you really
want a wheel icon next to your name in Mario Kart.
Just hook up your existing dock to the guest room TV, you lazy bastard.
The Switch will probably be Nintendo's biggest step forward regarding online play since it actually added online services to its hardware. It seems like Nintendo is finally learning from its contemporaries, having all online stuff managed from your Nintendo account. Sadly, Nintendo is also
learning from its contemporaries in that they're going to charge us just to play online. The service doesn't launch until Fall 2017, but people can play online for free during a "trial" period starting in March and ending whenever they get the service running. Check out the chart to see what a subscription gets you versus being a plebeian who thinks online play should be a basic free service.
The monthly game downloads may have caught your eye. Well don't get too excited; it's a monthly RENTAL of just one SNES or NES game a month, and then you lose it. There is rumor of online play for these games, so it may be more than just letting you rent a ROM each month.
What's the battery life for everything?
The Switch: 2-6 hours depending on the game. Zelda has been used as a benchmark, and gets about three hours.
Joycons: 20 hours. Note that that do not draw power from the Switch when attached to it and in portable mode.
Pro Controller: 40 hours
Is the Switch backwards compatible?
No, it uses carts and has no disc drive to play Wii U media.
Can I go online in portable mode?
Yes. Also, while it has no browser, if you are at a place with Wi-Fi, there will be an applet that lets you pay/agree to their terms so you can get online.
Can I connect to the TV using third-party USB-C cables?
No, for whatever reason the Switch must be docked to display on the TV.
Will I be able to recharge the Switch using a portable power bank used for cell phones?
Yes, but you will need to make sure it's compatible with the Switch, as it likely has a different voltage/wattage than a cell phone. It also has to be compatible with USC-C. I would definitely do my homework on this, as you can risk frying your Switch this way.
How much memory does the Switch have?
32 GB. For reference, Breath of the Wild uses around 13GB. You can use micro-SD cards to expand the memory. Because Switch carts are so small, I recommend a micro-SD with plenty of memory, because Switch games will be large and it defeats the purpose of going digital if instead of carts you're just swapping SD cards.
What's up with the Joycon desync issue?
Joycons use bluetooth, a signal that doesn't travel well through water. As you are made of water, this means your hands can block the signal of the Joycon. Normally this isn't an issue, but the Joycons are so small that it seems like people (particularly with beefy mitts) are able to fuck with the signal while playing. Apparently there's a rumor that there will be a day one firmware update to boost the Joycon signal, but that will likely come at the cost of battery life.
Where's Virtual Console?
For whatever reason Nintendo is opting to stay tight-lipped about their older games. Maybe they have something new cooking up for E3, or maybe they realize announcing that you have to pay for overpriced ROMs a fifth time would not be great PR around launch time.
The Switch will have games, making it a true revolution in the industry. Launch titles are games coming out March 3rd with the system. Launch window is kind of a bullshit PR term for stuff failing to make launching but coming out soon afterwards, we promise!
I'll define it as within a month or so after March 3rd. Everything else either is coming out after the launch window or has no date yet. One last thing, in case you missed it: the Switch is not region locked.
All dates are NA, although I'll try to add launch titles for EU and AU if they deviate greatly. If any noteworthy regional exclusives are announced, I'll make a separate section for them.
Super Bomberman R (Konami)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (Nicalis)
I am Setsuna (Square Enix)
Just Dance 2017 (Ubisoft)
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)
World of Goo (Tomorrow Corporation)
Skylanders: Imaginators (Activision)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Yacht Club Games)
Fast RMX (Shin'en)
Blaster Master Zero (Inti Creates) - March 9th
Flipping Death (Zoink) - March 9th
Snake Pass (Sum Digital) - March 28th
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo) - April 28th
Puyo Puyo Tetris (SEGA) - April 25th
Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 (Square Enix) - April
Graceful Explosion Machine (Vertex Pop) - April
Mr. Shifty (Tiny Build) - April
ARMS (Nintendo) - Spring 2017
Late Spring or Summer
Sonic Mania (SEGA) - Spring 2017
Disgaea 5 (NIS America) - Spring 2017
Steamworld Dig 2 - Summer 2017
Dandara - Summer 2017
Dragon Quest X (Square Enix) - Summer 2017
Stardew Valley (Chucklefish) - Summer 2017
Splatoon 2 (Nintendo) - July 2017
Fall and Holiday
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (Bethesda) - Fall 2017
Fire Emblem Warriors (Nintendo) - Holiday 2017
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo) - Holiday 2017
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo) - TBA 2017
Runner 3 - TBA 2017
Kingdom: Two Crowns - TBA 2017
Gonner - TBA 2017
Celester - TBA 2017
Shakedown Hawaii - TBA 2017
WarGroove (Chucklefish) - TBA 2017
TBA or 2018
Dragon Quest XI (Square Enix) - TBA
Untitled Fire Emblem Game (Nintendo) - 2018
Project: Octopath Traveler (Square Enix) - TBA
Rayman Legends Definitive Edition (Ubisoft) - TBA
Shin Megami Tensei (Atlus) - TBA
Steep (Ubisoft) - TBA
Ultra Street Fighter II (Capcom) - TBA
Untitled Suda51 Game - TBA