After years of waiting, Nintendo finally has a new video game console on the way: the Nintendo Switch.
It’s a hybrid console — you can play it at home on your living-room television, or you can take it on the go. Here are the basics:
- It’s called Nintendo Switch.
- It’s scheduled to launch on March 3, 2017.
- It starts at $299.
- Nintendo has a gaggle of games starring its most prominent creations in the works.
There’s of course much more to the Switch than that, and Nintendo just offered a ton of new details. Here’s everything we learned from Nintendo’s insane event, straight out of Tokyo.
This is everything that comes in the N14700 package.
Here’s what’s in the box:
-A Switch tablet — the console itself is the tablet.
-A set of Joy-Con.
-The Switch dock, for connecting to your television.
-The Joy-Con dock/gamepad.
-Two wrist straps for making sure you don’t lose the Joy-Con while playing a motion game.
-Two cables (power and HDMI).
Here’s a good look at the Nintendo Switch Dock and the “Joy-Con Grip” gamepad:
What you see above is exactly what’ll come in the box when Nintendo Switch arrives on March, 3: the Nintendo Switch Dock, the tablet-like console, and a home gamepad with the detachable Joy-Con in-tow. Notably, the controller is actually called the “Joy-Con Grip” — since you can detach each side of the Joy-Con bits and attach them to the Switch tablet, the Grip acts as a means of turning the Joy-Con into a more traditional gamepad.
Of note: Everything in the package is being sold separately. Want another Dock? You can buy one. Need just a left Joy-Con? Can do. Nintendo breaks it all down on its site.
Here’s a look at the Joy-Con Grip gamepad being used. It looks a bit unwieldy but certainly workable.
The Joy-Con Grip gamepad has two offset analog sticks and four buttons on each side. There are also shoulder buttons and triggers on each side — the standard gamepad setup nowadays, more or less.
Here’s a good look at the portable version of Nintendo Switch:
As you see above, the Joy-Con slide onto the sides of the screen, turning it into a portable handheld game console. Each controller has a thumbstick and four main buttons. They can be used with the screen, detached from the screen, or used at home with the Nintendo Switch Dock.
During a Nintendo presentation on Thursday, company representatives said the system lasted 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours when taken out of the dock (depending on use).
And here’s a good look at the Joy-Con:
The idea with each Joy-Con is that it’s a standalone gamepad; each can also be used as a motion controller.
As you can see above, Nintendo is offering different colors of Joy-Con. To start, they’ll have the blue and red ones seen above, in addition to the standard set of gray Joy-Con.
But perhaps you’d prefer something more traditional? Nintendo also has a standard gamepad:
This is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Nintendo’s been making the Pro line of gamepads since the original Wii — a way for people to play Nintendo games with a relatively standard gamepad. The Nintendo Switch is no exception: this generation’s iteration of the Pro controller looks an awful lot like an Xbox One gamepad. The thumbsticks are concave and offset, and four face buttons are on the right side.
Don’t expect this guy to come with the Nintendo Switch you buy in March — it’s sold separately. Worse, it costs a whopping $70.
Another barrage of photos! There’s a lot to glean from this one as well!
Top, far left: One example Nintendo gives of how the Switch can be used is in the car. In this instance, someone has purchased a Switch mount; then, the Joy-Cons are detached and used as two individual gamepads. If they look tiny, that’s because they’re hilariously tiny. While it looks like a lot of fun to play a new “Mario Kart” game in a car, we’re betting most folks will either play alone or wait until they get home (where there are normal-size gamepads).
Top, middle: Here’s a closer look at the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It’s a pretty standard gamepad. It’s unclear whether you can use it without the Nintendo Switch Dock — could one of the “Mario Kart” contestants above be using one instead of the tiny gamepads in the example? Perhaps, but who wants to carry a gamepad everywhere?
Top, far right: Nintendo smartly built a kickstand into the read of the Switch tablet. The company envisions this being used for multiplayer gaming and in-flight gameplay — we envision it as an easy way to watch a movie on the Switch. Nintendo hasn’t confirmed Switch as a multimedia device, but we’d be shocked if it weren’t capable of as much.
Bottom, far left: As seen here, the Joy-Con Grip comes together via slidable attachments. Each side of the Joy-Con gets attached to the Grip by sliding it on. We’re eager to see how this works in practice — the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of hardware rattling around in a bag.
Bottom: middle: Though Nintendo Switch has an online infrastructure for multiplayer gaming, you can play with friends locally, wirelessly. This kind of local multiplayer is a standard on Nintendo’s handheld consoles, so it’s a no-brainer to bring it to the Switch. Nintendo says up to eight people can play together as such.
Bottom, far right: When you’re done living life out loud, playing games outside, simply plop the Switch tablet into the Switch Dock and it becomes a home console instantly. You can even leave the Joy-Con attached to the tablet and use the Pro controller.
What about games? There are loads of games!
Nintendo’s debut video of the Switch back in October showed a handful of games. In the video, people play a new 3D “Super Mario” game, a new “Mario Kart” game, an unnamed basketball game that looks suspiciously like the “NBA 2K” series, and Bethesda Game Studios’ 2011 masterpiece “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (a remastered version of “Skyrim” launched in 2016 on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One — this is very likely that version).
In a new presentation on Thursday, Nintendo announced a mess of new games: “Splatoon 2,” “Super Mario Odyssey,” “1, 2, Switch,” and a handful of others. That 3D “Super Mario” game shown last year? That’s “Super Mario Odyssey,” which is expected to arrive in holiday 2017.
EA confirmed it was bringing the “FIFA” soccer series to Switch, and a handful of Japanese role-playing games are in the works.
Here’s that “Mario Kart” game we were talking about:
This is “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” which looks like an expansion of the excellent “Mario Kart” game from the Wii U. The game features all the great stuff in the original, plus all the content that Nintendo added afterward, plus a bunch of even newer stuff (new tracks, new characters to race as, and new local multiplayer). It arrives April 28.
Notably, this may be one of the first games to showcase the massive range of local multiplayer that can be performed with the Switch: Up to eight players can connect locally on their Switch consoles.
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