It's been a big week in gaming news, with the official announcement of the Nintendo Switch, a gaming console that doubles as a handheld. The system has a screen-bearing, portable core that is built to snap into a charging dock that connects it to your TV. Despite the excitement, there's still a lot of questions surrounding the new system. Does it have a touchscreen like the Nintendo 3DS and WiiU? Will it boast a graphical advantage over Nintendo's current, struggling console? Is the Switch also a long term replacement strategy for Nintendo's popular handheld lines? If so, why isn't there an option to buy it cheaper as a handheld-only?
In answer to that last question, a source inside Nintendo recently told Let's Play Video Games that while a handheld-only version of the console may be available at some point, Nintendo is leaning into the Switch's unique niche as a hybrid system. Apparently, the company wants to avoid consumer confusion and the possibility of someone buying a discount, handheld-only option, only to realize it can't output to a television.
A Nintendo representative recently clarified to Polygon that "the main function of the Nintendo Switch Dock is to provide an output to the TV, as well as charging and providing power to the system." While this doesn't affirm any greater purpose for the dock - such as graphical scaling for television or a cooling setup - it also doesn't rule out additional functionality. This makes it difficult to know whether the dock's manufacturing cost will be a significant enough factor in the system's price tag to even warrant a separate, marginally less expensive, handheld-only release.
Speaking of additional functionality, Polygon also reviewed some of the patents Nintendo filed for the Switch in advance of its reveal. If all the items in this patent are still part of the system, the Switch will include a touchscreen, gyroscope, GPS, compass, motion tracking, an image recognition system, and a projector which expands the games out onto a flat surface (or your hand). The image recognition would assist the system in controlling gameplay, counting fingers, or detecting items that the player is holding. The projector would assist in functions like giving the player a virtual baseball to play with by using gestures.
Are these additional functions something you would like to see in Nintendo's new console? Would you be more likely to buy a Switch handheld than a hybrid console? Let us know in the forums and stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on the Nintendo Switch as they hit.
The Nintendo Switch is expected to release in March of 2017.