For months, Nintendo's upcoming mystery console, previously codenamed NX, was a major topic of discussion across gaming news outlets and online forums. Ever since The Big N's previous shareholder meeting last March, it seemed as though a brand new NX-related headline was trending almost daily. Every week was proclaimed by fans and spectators as the week, the prophecised reveal of Nintendo's upcoming piece of gaming hardware. This has basically been the norm among Nintendo diehards since the most recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but alas, the days went by and no official announcement was made.
Several months passed, and finally, Nintendo casually announced, via a late evening Twitter message, that the official unveiling of their brand new console would take place the very next morning (Thursday, October 20th). Mere hours later, and Nintendo's announcement video revealing its handheld/home console hybrid entitled the Nintendo Switch took the collective internet by storm. And after nearly a year of Nintendo sharing next to no information concerning this mystery piece of gaming hardware, they've dropped a proverbial bomb on the gaming world.
Even though the preview video came in at under four minutes in length, there is still a ton of information to digest from this absolutely jam-packed trailer. Nintendo and company loaded this promotional video with so much content, in fact, that one or perhaps even two viewings might not be enough process it all. Not to worry, however, as we have compiled a list of over a dozen takeaways from the Nintendo Switch announcement trailer. Potential new games, features, and a fair bit of speculation all lie ahead.
Here are the 15 Things We Learned From The Nintendo Switch Reveal.
15 The Name
What's in a name? If you were to ask Nintendo this question after the release of the terribly abysmal performance (at least in terms of sales) of their previous home console, the Wii U, they would surely reiterate the notion that intelligent branding is incredibly important. Unfortunately enough for the aforementioned Wii U, marketing was not its strong suit. The message behind this last generation console was muddled and confusing, and most consumers were left with the assumption that the Wii U was simply a tablet add-on rather than a new iteration of gaming hardware.
This time around, however, Nintendo has branded its console with a name that not only reflects the console's central gimmick (for lack of a better term) but also separates itself from the last two generations of gaming hardware, the Wii and Wii U, respectively. The name, of course, is none other than the Nintendo Switch. This title might perhaps be a little bit too on the nose, but seeing as how one of the leading factors that led to the failure of Nintendo's previous console was its name and unclear marketing strategy, an on the nose campaign is probably a smart move.
14 The Concept
It has been rumored and reported for months that the Nintendo Switch (earlier referred to by its codename NX) would essentially be a handheld/home console hybrid. It was theorized that The Big N would provide the full home console experience to players both at home and on the go. Not only did this trailer confirm the rumored approach, but it also granted consumers the ability to actually see this piece of hardware in action. While some fans and critics were vocally against this concept from the very beginning, it appears as though the early reaction to the recently unveiled Nintendo Switch is almost universally positive.
Unlike motion controls and second screen touch pads, home console gaming on the go is not a concept that consumers need to experience first hand in order to truly grasp the concept. The usefulness of this product is evident and obvious to anyone even somewhat familiar with gaming. Its idea is simple yet groundbreaking. The only question that consumers had going into the reveal was: can Nintendo pull it off? And if the reveal trailer is any indication, it would appear as though the Japanese gaming giant is off to an exceptional start.
13 Patented Design
Up until the official reveal of the Nintendo Switch, 3D print mock-ups and fan-made drawings of the console were littered throughout forums and web pages across the internet. These designs were, however, based on an actual patent filed by Nintendo that surfaced mere months ago, a discovery that led to countless rumors, theories, and reports that captivated the collective gaming world since last March.
Again, finally seeing this piece of hardware in action changes everything. While the majority of converging rumors surrounding the Nintendo Switch were almost dead on, actually receiving an official confirmation from Nintendo itself is encouraging to say the very least. It also helps that this trailer was very well constructed with a clear marketing strategy.
To describe the Nintendo Switch, one should start, perhaps, with its mobile screen, as the screen is essentially the heart and soul of this console. Within the mobile screen is the chipset and hardware that allow the console to serve as a mobile gaming device. When this device is placed in the Switch's docking port, however, it becomes a home console experience that can stream on the television. It is unclear at this time whether or not the docking port will serve to grant the Switch a graphical and processing boost, as no specs have been released at this time. We do know, however, that the Nintendo Switch will be powered by a Tegra processor which NVIDIA has stated is "based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards."
12 Detachable Controllers
Another integral part of the Nintendo Switch's patented design is the detachable controllers, referred to by Nintendo simply as Joy-Con. Joy-Con both attaches and detaches to the Joy-Con Grip as well as the aforementioned mobile screen. While attached to the Joy-Con Grip, the removable panels come together to form a controller that can be used both at home and on the go. These Joy-Con controllers (which look an awful lot like Nintendo's Wiimotes from previous gaming generations) also clip on to the sides of the mobile screen, transforming it into a portable device that resembles the Wii U GamePad.
While this may sound like a handful of recycled ideas from past generations, the execution as displayed in the trailer reveals that Nintendo has integrated some of their best ideas with the Switch in order to create a gaming console that truly appears to be a technologically innovative step forward for the world of gaming.
In addition to the detachable controllers, Nintendo also prominently displays its Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, not unlike the Wii U Pro Controller, which resembles a more traditional home console experience.
11 Cartridges Confirmed
Another rumor that has surrounded the Nintendo Switch for some time now is the idea that the upcoming console would utilize cartridges rather than optical discs. For many, the idea of returning to cartridge-based gaming feels like a retro throwback to the days of the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64 and so on. Gamers nostalgically recall huffing and puffing into the bottom of their games in order to allow their cartridges to boot up. This memory, however, will probably remain a relic of the past.
Nintendo's mobile devices – GameBoy, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, etc. – have continued to utilize cartridge-based games, despite the fact that new disc technology has since been developed. The fact of the matter is that cartridge gaming has come a long way since the '90s and even the early 2000s. Storage capacity on the cartridges has drastically increased while becoming increasingly less expensive. Not to mention the fact that cartridges are known for featuring faster load times, they're noticeably quieter, and even enjoy significant longevity in comparison to disc-based games.
10 Amiibo Support?
In an attempt to capture some of the ultra-successful Skylanders' market, Nintendo unveiled its very own line of interactive character figures entitled Amiibo during its latest gaming generation. These Amiibo figures, although popular in terms of sales, ended up serving more as collector's items rather than video game enhancement peripherals. One question that arose during the transition from the disappointing Wii U to the reveal of the upcoming Nintendo Switch was: What will Nintendo do in terms of Amiibo support with its future console? This question was not necessarily answered in the latest reveal trailer, but Nintendo did seemingly hint that Amiibo will continue to be supported by the Switch.
Making an appearance in the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer were a handful of Amiibo figures. However, they were not prominently displayed, and the video did not showcase the figures being utilized in any way by the upcoming console. So fans still are unsure as to whether or not Amiibo will actually be supported, but the fact that they appeared in the trailer is, of course, an encouraging sign. It stands to reason that if Nintendo wanted to abandon these figures altogether, they would have most likely excluded them from the unveiling of their upcoming, highly anticipated console. Therefore, hope for continued Amiibo support is alive and well.
Update: Nintendo has since released a statement claiming that Amiibo will, in fact, be supported by its upcoming console, the Switch.
9 Couch Co-Op On The Go
Handheld gaming has had its share of the market for some time now. In fact, one of the biggest gaming franchises of all time – Pokémon – has thrived on portable devices since the late '90s. In general, handheld gaming devices have been a great tool for any consumer looking to have a personal gaming experience. However, Nintendo hopes to change the way we look home console and handheld gaming with the Switch, and two ways in which they could accomplish this is with co-op and split screen gaming on the go.
On the surface, this may not seem like a major reveal, but co-operative gameplay on a single screen is something that gamers have been missing for some time now. More and more titles and franchises opt for online play rather than single screen co-operative modes, but the Nintendo Switch looks to offer this experience, even outside of the living room. This is not to say that online or even local multiplayer is going away, but Nintendo's desire to bring gamers together is evident in this reveal trailer, and it is certainly something to be excited about.
8 Mounts for Mobile Gaming
With the Switch, Nintendo's desire is that gaming will be just as easy on the go as it is in the living room. They truly drive this point home with both the car mount as well as the Switch's rear kickstand. The kickstand is displayed numerous times throughout the trailer, while the car mount is only on screen for a few quick seconds.
What's exciting about the kickstand is that it allows for easy use almost anywhere. Tables, trays, and really any flat surfaces can be converted into a platform on which the Switch can sit. With the kickstand extended, the Nintendo Switch essentially acts as a mobile television and gaming device all in one.
The same sentiment holds true when the Switch is locked into the car mount as displayed in the reveal trailer. The detachable controllers can be used and the screen acts as more of a display rather than a handheld gaming system. This is a simple function, but it reiterates the notion that console gaming can truly happen anywhere and at any time with the Nintendo Switch.
7 Local Multiplayer
Unsurprising, yet still fairly exciting, is the idea that the Nintendo Switch will support local multiplayer, connecting multiple Switch consoles for a co-operative or competitive experience on the go. Again, this reiterates the sentiment that Nintendo wishes to unite gamers, even in a sphere – handheld gaming – that has generally been seen as a personal experience in previous generations.
As stated earlier, the Switch's kickstand allows for the handheld console to transform into a mobile display/home console experience by enabling multiple gamers the ability to play on the same screen at once. However, this is not the only way in which the Nintendo Switch grants gamers the ability to play together, as local multiplayer was also heavily showcased throughout the release trailer. Ultimately, the Switch gives the consumer plenty of options: play at home or on the go, join with friends or enjoy a single player experience, work cooperatively on the same screen, or separately through multiple consoles.
Another interesting addition to the Nintendo Switch reveal was the unveiling of what looked to be Nintendo eSports. Electronic Sports (eSports) – also commonly referred to as highly competitive or professional video gaming – have seen a dramatic rise in popularity in recent years, so it's only natural that one of the world's biggest video game software and hardware manufacturers, Nintendo, would join the movement with more of their own unique titles and perhaps even a brand new console.
Nintendo has a number of games – Super Smash Bros., Splatoon, and Pokémon to name a few – that feature massive competitive communities, but The Big N is still fairly underrepresented in terms of eSports titles. Nintendo has expressed a desire to play a larger role within the eSports community, but they have yet to take any major steps in that direction. Again, if this trailer is any indication, it would appear as though the Japanese gaming company would like to change all of that with the release of the upcoming hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch.
5 3rd Party Support
One issue that has plagued Nintendo, especially in recent years, is its lack of support from third-party software developers. The Wii U, unfortunately, was somewhat difficult for third-party developers to create games for, and as a result, it lacked major AAA titles from franchises such as Call of Duty, Madden, and so on. Various CEO's and higher-ups from within Nintendo have recently stated in interviews that company plans to work alongside major (and hopefully indie) developers in order to bring more third-party titles to the Nintendo Switch.
This was, of course, showcased in the Switch's reveal trailer, in which both Bethesda's The Elder Scroll's V: Skyrim and an unspecified NBA game (presumably Take-Two Interactive Software's NBA 2K series) were showcased. Additionally, a large list containing the names of various publishers, developers, and middleware partners who have already pledged their support for the Switch accompanied the preview video in a press release from Nintendo. Other major supporters include Electronic Arts, Sega, Ubisoft, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Capcom Co. and DeNA Co., just to name a few.
4 Wii U Ports
While it is true that the Wii U's sales figures were absolutely abysmal (not to beat a dead horse here), it should be noted that a number of the admittingly few Wii U owners did enjoy the console overall. In fact, several of the console's games actually rated fairly high among critics and fans alike – Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. Splatoon, Pikmin 3, Super Mario Maker, and Bayonetta 1 and 2, and so on.
Understandably, Nintendo most likely feels as though a number of quality titles went virtually unplayed by the gaming masses and perhaps deserve new life on the upcoming hybrid console. This has led to a number of rumors stating that several Wii U games would be ported over to the Nintendo Switch, and the console's announcement trailer – in which we saw both Splatoon and (presumably) Mario Kart 8 – only serves to corroborate these early reports. Seeing as how a number of Wii U titles went virtually untouched due to the console's struggles, it only makes sense that these games would be ported over to the Switch, hopefully serving to bolster its launch lineup.
Update: It would appear as though the Mario Kart and Splatoon footage that was shown in the announcement trailer is not identical to gameplay from their Wii U versions – entitled Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon respectively. The leading rumor still maintains that these games are both Wii U ports, however, these ports will likely feature additional content and will probably come standard with all of the title's DLC from their previous iterations. Ports still seem like the most likely option for these games, as many consumers have still yet to experience these titles first hand and additional content could serve to attract Wii U owners to games that they may have already played.
3 Missing Features?
With all of the information that we received from this trailer, it's easy to forget about the aspects of the device that were conspicuously absent from the announcement. Features such as touch and motion controls, both of which were the technological cornerstones of the Wii and DS brand respectively, were nowhere to be found in the three-and-a-half minute sneak preview of Nintendo's upcoming piece of gaming hardware. This is not to say that the Switch does not have touchscreen or motion control capabilities, but its omission from the announcement trailer is notable.
Another, possibly less notable omission, is the lack of showcased apps (generally speaking), including the absence of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. The reason that this is less notable is due to the fact that the announcement trailer focused primarily on gaming. With only a brief three-and-a-half minutes at their disposal, Nintendo decided to focus all of their attention on the console's core concept, as well as a number of games that may appear on the Switch. Therefore, these streaming services and apps are most likely available on the upcoming hybrid console. Additionally, a number of rumors have even pointed toward the possibility of 4K video streaming, but this is all still speculation for the time being.
Also missing from this announcement were, well, children -- or really anyone not in their late teens or early 20s. Nintendo has prided itself on being a family-friendly company, but the trailer for their upcoming piece of gaming hardware almost exclusively featured young adults. This is perhaps a move to try and attract an older demographic, perhaps a demographic nostalgic for Nintendo software such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda. Still, it is a notable move that the company decided to feature young adults rather than showcase children and families, not unlike most of their previous promotional material.
2 New Mario Title
Yet another major rumor has a brand new Mario title launching alongside the upcoming Nintendo console. These reports have been circulating for months, but fans may have gotten confirmation and perhaps even their first look at the aforementioned game in the Switch's announcement video.
This brief look at a potentially brand new Mario game does not give us much to go off at the moment, but if this were to be a launch title, or at the very least within the console's launch window, then the Switch would see major releases from two of Nintendo's most prominent franchises, Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
Nintendo may not have had a flashy press conference at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of, if not the most talked about game of the entire convention. Breath of the Wild is potentially a system seller all on its own, but if the game was possibly released in tandem with a brand new Mario title, consumers might be hard pressed to find a console in stock, not unlike its predecessor, the Wii.
1 Release Date
Yes, we already knew the release date of the Nintendo Switch; we were made aware of the release date before we even knew what the thing was called. In fact, it was just about the only aspect of the console that Nintendo had previously confirmed. That being said, many fans and even some inside the industry began to speculate that the console would most likely see a delay, largely due to the fact that a brand new console generation being unveiled this close to launch is somewhat unprecedented, especially from Nintendo, who announced the Wii U over a year before its eventual launch.
Fortunately for Nintendo faithful, the company has remained firm in their assertion that their upcoming console will release in March of 2017. With a little under half a year until the Switch's release, Nintendo can hopefully keep the hype train chugging by peppering in updates and most likely even feature a more traditional, long-form reveal in which they showcase each of the console's unique features and even more yet-to-be-announced games.
Are you looking forward to the Nintendo Switch? What aspect of the reveal trailer did you find the most interesting? Be sure to let us know in the comments section.
The Nintendo Switch will be made available for purchase in March of 2017.