After months of being known only as the mysterious “NX” project, the world now knows what Nintendo’s next big gaming console gambit is going to be. The company’s transformative handheld/home-unit modular console is now officially known as the Nintendo Switch, following Nintendo’s release of a three-and-a-half-minute trailer showcasing the console in action.
Beyond the name and the basic concept of a console that eliminates the separation between mobile and stationary gaming, full details about functionality, power, pricepoint and even what games are planned for launch on the Nintendo Switch are currently under-wraps. Nintendo has now revealed plans to provide consumers with more information about the console (one that some see as a make-or-break product for the storied gaming giant), near the start of the new year.
Revealed on social media by Nintendo’s various international bodies, an official in-depth presentation involving the Switch and the full details of its planned March 2017 launch will stream on January 12th. Details of the timing and full content of the stream have yet to be announced, though many are expecting a variation of the company’s popular “Nintendo Direct” video presentations. Those annual streaming events were spearheaded by late former CEO Satoru Iwata and allow Nintendo to lay out its plans and upcoming product launches in detail for fans and the press simultaneously.
While the Nintendo Switch has been received with cautious optimism from longtime Nintendo fans and members of the gaming press, other facets of the industry have remained skeptical. Concerns over the console’s ability to match the power of competing devices from Sony and Microsoft were immediately apparent, along with questions as to the viability of the company’s apparent decision to forego disc-based game storage (as opposed to solid-state memory – the first major console to do so since the Nintendo 64 in the mid-1990s).
Confidence within the company’s corporate structure has also been mixed, with Nintendo’s own investors reported to be unhappy overall with the decision to continue making proprietary consoles. For years now, many investors (and industry analysts) have encouraged the ubiquitous gaming mainstay to abandon consoles and (in some cases) traditonal gaming altogether in favor of the lucrative mobile/smartphone market. Nintendo is set to belatedly enter the latter with Super Mario Run later in the year.
The looming shift to another new console after the sluggish sales of the Wii U unit following a tumultuous few years for Nintendo – ones which saw the company rocked by the death of beloved CEO and “public face” Satoru Iwata, as well as an unexpected softening of long-held stances against mobile platforms and movie adaptations of its products. Whether the Switch represents another major shakeup or a return to status quo for the company, that remains to be seen.
The Nintendo Switch will be launched in March of 2017.