The video game console market is in a state of upheaval, with changing audience demographics and rapidly-evolving technology leading industry stalwarts to rethink how they approach the often tumultuous industry going forward. Sony will release an upgraded Platstation 4 in an attempt to meet demands for more power, while Microsoft is banking on a new console currently known as “Project Scorpio”.Meanwhile, “Golden Age” gaming mainstay Nintendo – still smarting from the soft reception of its unique Wii U console – has been teasing the release of a mystery project at one point referred to as The NX; rumored to be an attempt to radically redefine the console, handheld and mobile markets from the ground up.
Now, the mystery is (partly) over: Nintendo has finally unveiled their next potential game-changer: The Nintendo Switch.
Officially revealed with the release of the above trailer, The Nintendo Switch promises to bring entirely new gameplay and interface possibilities together with the classic characters, franchises and unique aesthetic sensibilities fans know they can only get from Nintendo – a name that, at one point, was so ubiquitous as to be synonymous with the entirety of video games itself.
The device now revealed turns out to be very much in line with what months of rumors and fan-speculation had predicted: The Switch is effectively an exponentially-upgraded successor to the Wii U, expanding on that console’s “second screen” concept in the form of a modular console that can be transformed from a home-based unit with a traditional controller and television-output to a handheld portable by attaching the component parts of the joystick (or “Joy-Cons”) to a portable screen that rests (and, presumably, charges) in the home docking station. Among the most eye-catching potential reveals: The system appears to use memory cards – or a combination of memory and downloads? – in place of discs for its games. If so, this would make The Switch the first major home gaming console to return to solid-state media since the Nintendo 64.
Additionally, noted games industry pundit Emily Rogers has reaffirmed a previous claim (not officially substantiated by Nintendo) the the system will be “100% region free,” meaning that games would work in any console regardless of which region they were published:
As I previously reported in my September 2nd post, Nintendo Switch is 100% region free.— Emily Rogers (@ArcadeGirl64) October 20, 2016
In a break from prior instances of Nintendo marketing, the reveal trailer avoids (for now, at least) highlighting the company’s traditional child and family audiences in favor of showing off how the console might fit into the social-gaming lifestyles of young professionals; with a focus on players being able to move seamlessly from playing at home to taking the same game with them to an event or to run an errand. The Joy-Con’s multiplayer modularity also get heavy placement, including impromptu sessions at social gatherings and even in the car (as passengers, obviously.) Most unexpectedly, the trailer concludes by showing off the device’s prowess as the center of a hypothetical eSports competition.
The trailer did not show off too much in the way of actual games, though what was there should set plenty of tongues wagging: An untitled new 3D Mario game is glimpsed at the midpoint, along with the previously-announced Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild and what are presumably ports, remasters or sequels to Mario Kart and the Wii U smash Splatoon. But it’s not just first-party Nintendo franchises getting in on the action: An unnamed basketball title was also featured, along with the first appearance of Skyrim on a Nintendo console. While a full launch schedule for games has yet to be revealed, Nintendo is already boasting an impressive lineup of third-party partners who’ve committed to bringing games to the console:
The Nintendo Switch is expected to be released in March of 2017. Stick with Screen Rant for more news about this exciting new console as it develops.