Nintendo Switch Release: What It Is and What We Know About It

The last time that we heard anything about the Nintendo NX was back in June during the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Since then, speculation had reached a fever pitch. Everyone was antsy for more news. Earlier this year, Nintendo seized on that hunger for Nintendo NX news and revealed what the world had waited for. It revealed the Nintendo Switch release.

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As it turns out, the rumors about the Nintendo NX being a design-bending play at both a new generation of home console gaming and something that users could game on when not at home were true. The Nintendo Switch is called the Nintendo Switch for at least two different reasons that we know about. One of those reasons is that it can be removed from its dock for on-the-go play. The other is its unorthodox controller.

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Fresh from a massive defeat with the Wii U, the Switch could change the way that we enjoy console and mobile video games forever. Yes, in a world where we purchase two devices and two kinds of games to essentially deliver the same experience, Nintendo is betting on its strengths and using it to improve on its weaknesses.

The company revealed precious details in the Nintendo Switch trailer that went up on its YouTube channel last month. Lasting only three minutes, that video revealed what the core concepts of the system are. It also showed why Nintendo thinks users might want it instead of the Xbox One and PS4.

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Here’s what we know about the Nintendo Switch release thus far.

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The Nintendo Switch is Both a Console and a Handheld

The Nintendo Switch is generating all kinds of new excitement because of the core concept it’s based on. Long the undisputed powerhouse in mobile gaming, Nintendo has had a very difficult time extending its reach into console gaming since this century started. It was able to briefly improve its fortunes with the Wii U, but motion gaming didn’t have the staying power some thought it would have. Worse, developers had a hard time getting their games running on the Wii U’s limited hardware.

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Nintendo Switch comes in five main parts really. There’s the handheld, dock and controller. At home, users simply slide the handheld into the opening on the dock and they can play their games like they would with any living room console. When it’s time to go mobile, users simply pull the Nintendo Switch out of the dock. It has its own internal batteries and display.

The Nintendo Switch Controllers & Sharing

The fourth and fifth main parts are the Nintendo Switch controllers. They count as two pieces of additional hardware because that’s what they are. Connectors on the left and right of the Nintendo Switch allow users to add joysticks and a directional pad.

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The video that’s now making the rounds on YouTube reveals that each of the controllers that you add to the Nintendo Switch can be removed and used as separate controllers when not at home. Additionally, users can play their games with a full-size controller.

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In every way, Nintendo has managed to make Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere program look problematic at best. That program launched with the promise of letting those that buy a digital game on console unlock another on their PC so that they can play when away from their console. Of course, users actually need powerful enough hardware to pull that off.

Because it’s the same games, users don’t need to purchase a digital copy – the Switch takes cartridges. Also, it appears that every game will work in both home and mobile gaming modes. A problem with Xbox Play Anywhere is its line-up. Only titles published by Microsoft are supported right now.

Nintendo Switch Games

Ultimately the thing that doomed the Nintendo Wii U was its line-up of games. Nintendo has a huge assortment of beloved franchises and characters. Problem was, gamers needed something else to play between those two or three exclusive launches a year. Developers were simply unable or unwilling to condense their meaty titles down to something that the Nintendo Wii U could support. If there’s one thing more exciting than the concept of a device that can be both a mobile gaming device and a console, it’s the prospect of developers finally embracing a Nintendo platform in a meaningful way.

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Information provided with the press release on the Nintendo Switch reveals that Warner Brothers, Ubisoft, Telltale, Take-Two, Square Enix, SEGA, Platinum, Electronic Arts, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Bethesda, Konami and Activision all have plans to support the Nintendo Switch in some form. In addition to that, we already knew of at least one game that would boast compatibility for the new console: The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. NBA 2K and Skyrim were shown off in the reveal video too.

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Nintendo worked very closely with gaming hardware powerhouse NVIDIA to get developers the processing power and tools that they need to bring their best games to the Nintendo Switch. The handheld is powered by the latest Tegra mobile processors, according to an NVIDIA press release.

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Nintendo Switch Release: Rumors

  • Boy Genuis Report cites an entry at Toys R Us in its report on the Nintendo Switch price. The outlet claims that the toy and games retailer had the console listed for just $329.99 Canadian dollars. If it’s true, that would point to a $249.99 launch price in the United States.
  • A popular Nintendo blogger that’s provided credible leaks before, arcadegirl64, maintains that Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild won’t launch with the Nintendo Switch. Allegedly, localization issues mean that the game isn’t likely to arrive until the summer of 2017.
  • Australia’s EBGames accidentally revealed that the Nintendo Switch uses USB Type C to charge, according to a recent report in WCCF Tech.
  • Sources that have spoken with Eurogamer report that the Nintendeo Switch will get its own version of Pokemon Sun and Moon. That game recently made its debut on the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS.

Nintendo Switch Release: What We’re Still Waiting to Hear

There’s a lot that Nintendo has yet to speak on publicly for this system.

  • Chief among these missing details are pricing and what’s included with the base device. Nintendo showed a lot of hardware in that reveal, some of which it probably plans to sell separately from the system.
  • Pricing on games is missing too. We have no idea if Nintendo will use this console upgrade as an opportunity to raise the price of titles across the board. Nintendo 3DS titles are $39.99 brand new. Wii U titles are normally $59.99.
  • Hardware specs. For now, Nintendo is staying very, very quiet on what hardware is inside the Nintendo Switch. For example, we don’t know if the device even offers Bluetooth compatibility. We’re still waiting to learn more about the device’s display size or if that display is touch sensitive.
  • Entertainment apps weren’t shown in the trailer. The Nintendo Wii U acts as a light entertainment console, in addition to being a gaming console.
  • Splatoon is shown in the brief video, but it’s unclear if the Nintendo NX will offer backwards compatibility with games from the Wii and Wii U or if what we saw was an upgraded version.
  • Battery life is a big concern for any mobile console. We don’t know how long the Switch will last between charges.

Nintendo Switch Release: When We’ll Learn More

Gotta Be Mobile will continue to update this breakdown with any new things that we learn about the device. Nintendo has said that the Nintendo Switch release will happen sometime in March 2017. The company has a streaming video announcement planned for January 12th.