Over a year and a half ago, Nintendo first teased that they were working on new hardware under the codename NX. After the initial teaser, Nintendo said almost nothing about the upcoming console for months on end, and rumors, reports, and speculation ran rampant. Nintendo finally put an end to the madness and answered some of our questions yesterday when they officially unveiled Nintendo Switch to the world. So what exactly is Nintendo Switch? Between the preview trailer and the various press releases and interviews that have come out since, we've compiled everything we know.
Nintendo Switch is a sort of hybrid device that functions as both a home console (which Nintendo calls its "first and foremost" function) and a handheld. At home, Nintendo Switch rests in a "Nintendo Switch Dock" that connects the system to the TV. By simply lifting Nintendo Switch from the dock, the system will instantly transition to portable mode, allowing you to play your games on the go. However, Nintendo Switch cannot be used in tandem with a TV for a two screen experience like the Wii U GamePad.
The portable unit is connected to detachable "Joy-Con" controllers that can easily click back into place or be slipped into a Joy-Con Grip accessory, which mirrors a more traditional controller. One player can use a Joy-Con controller in each hand, two players can each take one, or multiple Joy-Con controllers can be employed by numerous people for a variety of gameplay options. Players will also have the option of using a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller if they prefer. It is also possible for numerous people to bring their Nintendo Switch systems together to enjoy local multiplayer. Nintendo Switch is also outfitted with a kickstand to prop up the portable unit. Nintendo has not yet commented on control options such as a touch screen or motion controls.
Nintendo Switch uses cartridges for its games, but they are not the same kind used for DS or 3DS. Nintendo Switch will not be able to play 3DS cartridges or Wii U discs. It will, however, be compatible with Amiibo, Nintendo's lineup of NFC-enabled toys-to-life figurines and cards.
GameCube, Wii, and Wii U all used different iterations of the same basic hardware architecture, but Nintendo is switching things up with their new console. Nintendo Switch will be powered by a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor said to be "based on the same architecture as the world's top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards." Nintendo has said that they won't reveal any additional specs this year, so we don't yet have any information about storage space, RAM, or any other hardware components.
Unlike Wii U, Nintendo Switch will support Unreal Engine 4, which is one of the most popular game engines in the industry. In total, Nintendo has announced 48 third-party companies that will support Nintendo Switch, including From Software, Bethesda, Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, and more.
The list of games that are confirmed for Nintendo Switch include:
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Just Dance 2017
- Project Sonic 2017
- Dragon Quest X
- Dragon Quest XI
- SteamWorld (untitled)
The preview trailer for Nintendo Switch included footage of multiple other titles, including Skyrim, Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, a new 3D Mario game, and an untitled basketball game. However, Nintendo won't comment on whether or not these are actually confirmed titles for Nintendo Switch, and Bethesda (despite being one of the console's confirmed developers) won't confirm that Skyrim is headed to the console. Additionally, the versions of Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 shown in the footage had some variations from their Wii U releases, implying that they are either new versions or new games altogether.
Nintendo Switch does not yet have an exact release date, but Nintendo plans to launch it in March, 2017. No price has been announced at this time. You can watch the reveal trailer by clicking here, and you can check out a gallery of images by clicking below.