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 (NOT a charging 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. As a bonus, it comes with a USB to USB-C cable, and can connect to your PC with little difficulty.
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 while pretending it's a dog or something. This one also charges your joycons while they're connected to it, unlike the one that comes with the Switch because Nintendo is cheap.
Because you really
want a wheel icon next to your name in Mario Kart.
Breakdowns of the dock expose this thing as being hilariously overpriced. Please don't buy it.
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. And no, it's also not backwards compatible with the 3DS, DS, or any other Nintendo system.
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.
Are there seriously friend codes?
Yeah, who knows why. The good news is that when you punch in someone's code, they'll get a request instead of playing this game of "Did you send it?" Furthermore, more options are set to be added like traditional friend requests through your Nintendo account, which...raises the question of why use friend codes in the first place.
Is the Switch region-locked?
Nope! Import to your heart's content. You can even switch regions on the eShop, BUT you will lose whatever current balance your account has in its current region. So spend your money first.
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?
The Switch uses about 30-40 Watts, which exceeds most portable power sources right now. It also doesn't use quickcharging functionality of USB-C, so that's another concern. In other words, your average power brick may extend your Switch's battery life by an 60-90 minutes depending on the wattage, but your system will still consume power. This is dependent on the game, however, and you'll get more juice out of a power bank while playing Shovel Knight than Breath of the Wild. However power banks for phones WILL take significantly longer to charge the thing while the power is off (we're talking eight hours in some cases). There are a few 15v/3A batteries meant for MacBooks that DO charge the Switch, but at a rate of like 1% every five minutes. To be honest, there are serious cost/value considerations to make, as a laptop charger that can feed the Switch will run into the triple digits. Do you really need 20+ hours of Switch battery? If not, then consider a $50ish dollar power bank for just the Switch, one with 5V/3A that has a USB-C slot, and use a high-quality USB-C cable to charge. It will, at the very least, double your Switch's battery life even if it's not the most efficient charging solution.
tl;dr: most phone chargers are good for extending the battery, but not recharging a system. Try to get as close to 15V/2.6A as possible, and use USB-C instead of USB-C to regular USB.
Which screen protector should I used?
Tempered glass. While plastic ones are cheaper, they themselves are prone to being easily scratched, which means you'll have to replace them every so often. On top of this, tempered glass feels better when using the touch screen, and they tend to be easier to apply (fewer bubbles). Tempered glass will set you back more cash, but you'll save more in the long run.
How much memory does the Switch have?
32 GB, of which around 25 is usable. 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 32GB carts you're just swapping 32GB SD cards.
What's up with the Joycon desync issue?
The left Joycon has, for whatever reason, a weaker signal. This may be due to how the antenna was installed in it. This means it's very easy to block the signal using your hands. It's recommended to try other styles of holding the joycon (like using the grip) if this is a persistent problem. Also, try being no further than 6ft from the Switch.
Can the pro controller cable be used to charge the Switch?
Yes, the cable that comes with the Pro Controller can be used like any other USB to USB-C cable. Hook it up to power banks, charge your pro controller through your PC's USB ports: go wild.
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. A title with an asterisk ( * ) means the game only plays in portable mode.
The following games are almost unanimously praised by the community. If you need a place to start, make it here.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Blaster Master Zero
Super Bomberman R (Konami)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
I am Setsuna (Square Enix)
Just Dance 2017 (Ubisoft)
Skylanders: Imaginators (Activision)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Yacht Club Games)
Fast RMX (Shin'en)
Blaster Master Zero (Inti Creates)
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (Nicalis)
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)
World of Goo (Tomorrow Corporation)
Snake Pass (Sumo Digital)
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 6th
Mr. Shifty (Tiny Build) - April
ARMS (Nintendo) - Spring 2017
Late Spring or Summer
Sonic Mania (SEGA) - Spring 2017
Tumbleseed (aeiowu ) - Spring 2017
Disgaea 5 (NIS America) - May 23rd (NA) / 26th (PAL)
Ultra Street Fighter II (Capcom) - Summer 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
Untitled Suda51 Game - TBA
Flipping Death (Zoink) - TBA
Pocket Rumble (Chucklefish) - TBA