It's finally here. The Nintendo Switch, formerly known as the NX, has been unveiled. It's Nintendo's newest console and the company has wisely dropped the 'Wii' branding, opting instead for 'Switch', which is quite fitting for this Transformer-esque machine. The console is set to launch in March 2017. We drill down on what we love about the Nintendo Switch (and a few things we don't).
The Nintendo Switch Launch: What We Love
#1 The Guts (From What We Know So Far)
While Nintendo didn't release any detailed specs, we do know that the Switch is powered by an Nvidia custom Tegra processor, which includes a GPU based on the same architecture as the vendor's GeForce gaming graphics cards.
"The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. Nvidia additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses," according to Nvidia.
Sounds good so far. The preview trailer never really lingers on any gameplay footage but from what we saw, it can play Skyrim, so it can handle complex games. The graphics, from the glimpses that we saw, didn't look half bad either.
While Microsoft and Sony try to outdo each other with high-powered graphics, Nintendo brings mobility to the table with decent graphics for its games. It's a smart approach.
<h3#2 The Marketing
You have to hand it to Nintendo; it sure knows how to make the Nintendo Switch look damn attractive in the preview trailer.
You see a guy sitting at home playing Zelda. He's relaxed on the couch with the a controller. Then BAM! You see the Switch logo pop up on the screen accompanied by the sound of Japanese taiko sticks clapping. Then you see the man get up, dismantle his controller and lot it onto a tablet on the Nintendo Switch's main unit. Now it's a portable gaming device.
From there, it's like a never ending magic trick where every time you see the Switch logo on screen it will be followed by another mind-blowing feature reveal. It culminates with an e-sports battle on stage using the Nintendo Switch. The video conveyed exactly how the console and all its bits work together without having to utter a single word.
The video shows us the many different scenarios where you can use the Switch and makes an attempt to woo gamers from different walks of life. The sound of the taiko sticks clapping, which I will forever associate with the Switch, also subtly harkens back to Nintendo's Japanese heritage. Genius.
#3 The Long List Of Game Partners (Oh, The Possibilities!)
We've already seen that The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim will be part of the games line-up for the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo has also revealed a long list of developer partners that will be making games for the new console. It's nice to see some big names on the list, especially Bethesda, since the company explicitly had steered away from developing any games for the Wii U.
Nintendo has a long history of clashing with third-party developers but it had been trying to win them over for the Switch. Looks like their efforts has paid off, even though we're still not sure what kind of games these developers will make for the new console.
You can find the full list of game partners here.
The Nintendo Switch Launch: What We Didn't Like
#1 Is It A Tablet Or Not?
The preview trailer was good at showing us how the loose bits and pieces of the Nintendo Switch fit together. But one thing we couldn't figure out from the video was whether the detachable screen is, in fact, a touchscreen tablet. It doesn't show anybody touching the screen for anything.
If the console formerly known as NX can work as a portable gaming device and a fully functioning tablet, with apps you would expect from something like an iPad, it would be a major drawcard for consumers.
We are also in the dark when it comes to battery life, which is important for any portable device.
#2 Can We Please See More Gameplay?
Yes, we thought the preview trailer for the Nintendo Switch did a great job at showing us how the console works physically, but we only got a few seconds worth of games being show. We wanted to see more gameplay footage so we can assess how games would run on the Nintendo Switch. Give us more gameplay footage, Nintendo!
#3 The Pricing
There's no official word on the pricing and Nintendo said it will be announcing that information closer to the release date. But according to PC Advisor, Tesco in the UK accidentally leaked the pricing. The UK supermarket chain had a webpage for the Nintendo NX which listed the console price as £349. The page has since been taken down.
If the information is correct, this converts to $AUD560.67, and we haven't even factored in the Australia Tax yet. Yes, the detachable controllers are a bit of a novelty and the portability of the Switch is quite attractive, but is it worth around $600?
Nintendo said it definitely won't be selling the Switch at a loss like it did with the Wii U. Let's hope the company will still be able to make the new console affordable.