On March 3, 2017, Nintendo will follow up its underperforming WiiU and begin a new chapter in its gaming history with the introduction of Nintendo Switch.
In the works for more than two years, the home and portable console hybrid will finally launch worldwide at a suggested retail price of US$299.99 (CA$399.99).
Incorporating elements from all of Nintendo’s previous console and portable hardware devices, Switch features a dock that holds the main console for home TV gaming, and easily transforms into an on-the-go handheld with a removable 6.2-inch portable display.
To use the system anywhere and anytime, left and right Joy-Con controllers from the main Joy-Con grip controller can slide off and attach to the sides of the portable display.
The handheld screen features multi-touch capabilities for compatible games, a battery life of 2.5 hours to more than six hours depending on software and usage conditions, and portable battery accessories will also be available to charge on the go.
As for the new Joy-Con controllers, each contains an accelerometer and gyro-sensor for independent left and right motion control, as well as hyper-sensitive HD Rumble vibration effects.
The left Joy-Con has a capture button that players can press to take screenshots of gameplay for sharing on social media, while unique aspects of the right Joy-Con include an NFC touchpoint for compatibility with Nintendo’s interactive amiibo figures, and an IR motion camera that can detect the distance, shape and motion of nearby objects in specially designed games.
The camera has the ability to read how far away a player’s hand is, and can even know if the hand is forming a rock, paper or scissors shape.
For local wireless multi-player gaming, up to eight Switch systems can be connected at once, and a new online subscription service will be offered for free at launch with pricing to be announced later in the year.
New original games offered include 1-2-Switch, which lets players compete in party games (like a quick draw Western-style shooting game) where you look in your opponents’ eyes, not at the screen. There will also be Super Mario Odyssey, a sandbox game for the 2017 holiday season where Mario’s cap comes to life for new gameplay options.
Among other original titles coming to Switch are Splatoon 2, robotic, extendable arm boxing game ARMS and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will also be available at launch and in portable Switch mode, and can be played for approximately three hours on a single charge.
For third-party games, Activision’s Sklyanders Imaginators will sell at the suggested retail price of US$59.99 and will allow players via a digital library to easily load and store more than 300 toys from the Skylanders franchise directly to Switch.
Additional third-party games launching include Microsoft’s Minecraft , EA Sports’ FIFA, plus The Elder Scrolls and NBA 2K.
Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and, for the first time, Bethesda, have all signed on for games.