On the 20th of October, 2016, Nintendo finally revealed their elusive NX title to the world. The Nintendo Switch (as it was now known) was shown to be a hybrid handheld gaming system and home console. The bulk of the system was contained within a device that resembled a tablet. You can plug it into a dock, in order to play your games on a television screen, or the console can be played as a handheld device, by simply removing it from the dock. The Switch has a controller that consists of two separate pieces, that can be connected to either side of the handheld mode of the system or plugged together into one. The initial trailer had a focus on local multiplayer, which could be accomplished through the many methods of playing the console (hence the name Switch).
Nintendo has just shown the Nintendo Switch Premiere to the entire world. We are here today to break down all of the reveals and important information about Nintendo's latest console. From the release date to the launch line-up.
Here are 15 Things We Learned From The Nintendo Switch Premiere!
15 The Release Date
During Nintendo's April 2016 investor meeting, they announced that their new NX console was going to be released in March of 2017. This was one of the first things revealed about the console (even before its real name). As we didn't get any more information about the console until October of 2016, there were many months of speculation about the system. There was even a lot of concern, as we knew nothing about the system until only a few months before it's release (leading to speculation that Nintendo had something to hide, as the Switch did not appear at E3).
The Nintendo Switch Premiere revealed that the Switch will be released all across the world on March 3rd, 2017. This is a step in the right direction for Nintendo, as previous systems did not get a simultaneous release across the globe. The Wii U was actually released a few weeks earlier in North America and Europe than it was in Japan. The Wii also had a similar, sporadic release schedule.
14 The Price
This is one of the biggest factors for any console purchase. While the initial leaks were incorrect about the cost, the Switch has a reasonable price that most will find acceptable.
The Nintendo Switch will release at retail for $299.99 in the U.S. and $399.99 in Canada. This will be around £280 in the UK and 29'980 yen in Japan. This puts the price range of the console around that of the updated models of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (the Slim and the S), but below the price of the PlayStation 4 Pro (and most likely, the Scorpio).
It seems that a lot of the earlier leaks about the system shipping at $250/£200 were incorrect. This is a shame, as such a big price gap between the Switch and its competitors would have been a huge incentive for the casual fan. It remains to be seen whether this similar price will sway consumers away from the other home consoles, especially considering the huge line-up of games that is currently available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
13 The Unique Controllers
One of the most featured parts of the Nintendo Switch Premiere was the unique control scheme of the console. Each Nintendo Switch system will come with two "Joycons". These can be slotted onto the side of the portable mode of the console (the tablet form) or fused together, Power Rangers style, into a more traditional controller.
The two Joycons can act like motion controllers (similar to the Wiimote), with a gyroscope built into each one. The right Joycon has a camera that can accurately detect the distance and shape of objects. Both Joycons have a feature known as "HD Rumble", which seems to be a more advanced version of the rumble feature found in most modern joypads. According to the premiere, this feature is so accurate that you can tell how many pieces of ice are falling into a glass, from the feeling of the rumble alone.
Like the Wiimote, the Joycons will come with wrist straps. The button layout is such that the individual Joycons can have all of the functions of a regular controller. The D-Pad is now segmented so that the directional buttons can act like regular buttons when the Joycon is separated from the system. Each Joycon also possesses small shoulder buttons (which cannot be seen when they are connected to the Switch).
12 The Battery Life Of The Portable Mode
When the Nintendo Switch was revealed to have a handheld element, the fans wondered about the length of the battery life. If this system is meant to be in the same hardware league as the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, then it can't be that good, can it?
According to Nintendo, the Switch's handheld mode will have a battery life of around two to six hours. This puts the battery in roughly the same timespan as the one used in the new Nintendo 3DS XL.
The amount of time a battery lasts will depend on what you are doing with the console. Things like the brightness of the screen, having the Wi-Fi switched on and using the system's speakers will drain it more quickly. Whether you find this amount of time acceptable will depend on how much you want to use the Switch as a handheld system. It might be possible to replace the battery with a stronger one (as can be done with the Nintendo 3DS), but it is a shame that some people will want to do that straight out of the box.
11 The Internal Storage Is Almost Non-Existant
This might be the second biggest misstep of the Switch (#1 is worse, but this comes pretty close). The Nintendo Switch comes with 32gb internal storage, with the possibility of increasing it through an SD card.
One can only wonder what the people at Nintendo were thinking with this. Even the most basic models of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One come with 500gb of space. This is going to be a major issue for Nintendo further down the line, as more and more games require installation files (even with a disc) and need large patches to run the online mode. As it stands, the mandatory installation of a single triple A game (say, Final Fantasy XV for instance) is bigger than all of the Switch's internal storage. This was one of the Wii U's biggest faults and it seems that Nintendo hasn't learned their lesson. On the plus side, at least increasing space through an SD card is easier/cheaper than buying a hard drive that requires its own power source.
For players who like to purchase games digitally, this might be a deal breaker.
10 Paid Online Services
One of the biggest advantages that Nintendo has had over Sony and Microsoft is the fact that their online service for games has always been free. This is about to change.
According to the Nintendo Switch Premiere, the Switch will be bringing in a paid service in order to use the online multiplayer for games. This has some sort of functionality with smartphones (the details of which were unclear). You won't need to start paying until the fall of 2017, however. Whether Nintendo will give away free monthly games (like the ones you get with PlayStation Plus or Xbox Games with Gold) remains to be seen.
On the plus side, Nintendo also revealed that they will be doing away with region locking. This controversial restriction that forced you to only be able to play games from your specific region was one of the most annoying aspects of the 3DS/Wii U line. With the Switch, it seems to be gone for good.
9 The Local Multiplayer Will Support Eight Players
The original reveal trailer for the Nintendo Switch showed people connecting several Nintendo Switch's (in their handheld form) together, in order to play local multiplayer games across several systems.
During the Nintendo Switch Premiere, it was revealed that a maximum of eight Switch systems can be linked together for local multiplayer games. This is a decent number, as games like Splatoon, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. tend to use eight as a maximum number of players anyway. With the functionality of the Joycons, it seems like the Switch will be a great portable system for bringing to other people's homes (just remember to bring your charger).
With a maximum of eight players, it's a shame that games like Overwatch or Star Wars Battlefront could not fully be enjoyed as a local multiplayer experience on the Switch (if they are ever released for it). It might be possible for Nintendo to lift this restriction in the future if there is a demand for it. As it stands, eight players is more than enough for most games.
8 The Share Button!
Nintendo has finally decided to stop hurting themselves with archaic business practices!
As some people guessed from the button layout on the Joycons, the Nintendo Switch has an equivalent to the "Share" button (like the one seen on the PlayStation 4 controller). At launch, this will allow players to take screenshots and upload them online. Over time, this functionality will be increased to include video capturing and sharing.
This change in stance means that Nintendo will finally stop taking videos down from YouTube. There are a lot of famous video game reviewers and streamers on YouTube who stopped covering Nintendo games entirely, due to the fact that they kept getting content matched/taken down. All of the other gaming companies have been enjoying the benefits of free advertising and promotion that YouTube brings, while Nintendo has been acting like spiteful children. With the Switch, it seems that Nintendo is ready to embrace the sharing of their video games.
7 No Deluxe Editions Announced
One of the most peculiar things about the Nintendo Switch Premiere was the fact that there is only two versions of the console available at launch. The only difference between these two systems are the colours of the Joycons (one has a grey set of controllers, the other has a set of red & blue).
This is unusual, as most gaming companies tend to have multiple versions of a console at launch. There is usually a standard edition that comes with the console and a single controller (and maybe a cheap game). Alongside this, there is also usually a deluxe edition, which comes with multiple controllers, more internal space, a big name launch title and maybe a fancy new colour/skin for the system.
As it stands, all we know of the Switch console at launch is the price. There was no mention of any pack-in games with the system. This is a glaring omission, considering the fact that the Switch is out in a few weeks. Are the people who are pre-ordering it just going to get a system with no games?
6 No Mention Of The Virtual Console
One of the ways in which a new console can help boost its launch line-up is by including a few tried and tested games from a previous system. Nintendo may have the strongest back catalogue in video game history. If their launch line-up for the Nintendo Switch was lacking, then they could have mentioned that they were bringing the Virtual Console service from the Wii U over to the new system. This would have vastly increased the number of games available at launch.
As it stands, there was no mention of a Switch version of the Virtual Console. All of the rumours of GameCube games being added to the service for the first time are, as of yet, unfounded.
One positive thing about paying for the online service of the Switch is that Nintendo has an amazing collection of old games that can be given away for free. You only need to look at some of the shovelware that gets given away on PlayStation Plus each month. Old Nintendo games can only be an improvement in this regard.
5 The Return Of The Amiibos!
The amiibo line of figures has been one of Nintendo's biggest money makers of the last generation of consoles. These tiny toys have been printing money since they first arrived. There is hardly a Nintendo fan out there who doesn't have own at least single amiibo.
With the decline of the Skylanders and Disney Infinity line of toys-to-life figures, there are many fans who were worried that Nintendo might decide to abandon the amiibo line. This was fuelled by reports of amiibo sales declining over the past year. This led to speculation that the Switch may not include any amiibo functionality at all.
The fear was finally put to rest during the Nintendo Switch Premiere. It was revealed that the right Joycon contains an NFC reader. This means that amiibos are sticking around for a little while longer. We have until they stop selling completely, or until Nintendo runs out of characters before the amiibo line finally dies.
4 New Info On First Party Games (Splatoon 2 & Super Mario Odyssey)
During the initial Nintendo Switch reveal trailer, we saw what appeared to be an updated version of Splatoon for the Switch, as well as a new Mario title.
For the first party Nintendo line-up, they revealed only a few games. The first was 1/2 Switch, a game that is meant to show off the functionality of the Joycons. One of the ways in it did this was with a quick-drawing gun contest. The second was Arms, which looks like a mix between Punch-Out!! and Splatoon. It is a fighting game that stars a series of wacky characters, who fight each other with spring-loaded boxing gloves. The game seems to be focused on using the motion controls of the Joycons. It actually looks pretty good... but it isn't coming out at launch. Arms has been given a "Spring 2017" release window.
Now to move on to the two biggest games revealed during the Nintendo Switch Premiere. What we originally assumed to be an updated version of Splatoon for the Switch is now a full-blown sequel, called Splatoon 2. We were shown numerous new weapons and abilities (one of which was clearly based on the two Joycons) during the Premiere. It doesn't seem like there is enough new content to call it a full sequel, but there might still be more to show. Nintendo will have lots of time to show it, as it has a release date of "Summer 2017".
The other big game was Super Mario Odyssey. This is a new 3D Mario game, where he travels to new alien worlds. Mario travels to a (comparatively) realistic looking version of New York City. Honestly, this level looked terrible. It had an uncanny valley feel to it, that made it seem like a mixture between Mario is Missing and Sonic '06. One of the gimmicks of the game is that Mario's hat now a pair of eyes on it. What effect this has on gameplay remains to be seen (a possible hint at VR functionality?). The rest of the levels looked great at least and the game looks like it will be amazing... when it is released. Super Mario Odyssey has been given a release date of "Holidays 2017".
3 Lots Of Third Party Support (Eventually)
One of the biggest issues with the Wii U was a lack of third party support. Nintendo was forced to rely on their own games for most of the console's lifespan. It seems that they have rectified this issue with the Switch, as a large portion of the show featured representatives from major developers, who talked about how excited they were to be producing games for the Nintendo Switch.
This segment would have been the highlight of the show... had the representatives actually been given anything to reveal. Suda 51 only had a picture of Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes to show to the audience. EA had a picture with Fifa written on it (though a brief clip of a football game was shown later during the show). The poor Sega representative had nothing. He just came out and said that Sega is totally working on games (honest) and are dedicated to the Switch.
The highlight of this segment was the few developers that did have some footage. We are getting Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a new Square Enix game called Project Octopath Traveller (which kind of looks like a Tactics Ogre game), a compilation of both the Dragon Quest Heroes games, a new Shin Megami Tensei game (with a trailer that showed no gameplay), an announcement for Dragon Quest X and XI (for Japan). Fire Emblem Warriors was also announced, which is believed to be a Hyrule Warriors style game that uses Fire Emblem characters.
Some of these games looked amazing. The problem is, we saw very little of them and none of them had any release dates.
2 Brief Snippets Of Old & New Games Coming To The Switch
At one point during the Nintendo Switch Premiere, there was a segment where many games were shown on the handheld screen of the Switch. These were rapid-fire videos of games that had yet to be announced for the system. Most of them are already available on other consoles.
The footage of these games was brief, but we could make out a few of them clearly. Alongside the other announced games, there is Minecraft (as most people predicted), I Am Setsuna, Rayman Origins, Lego City Undercover, a Dragon Ball Z game (possibly Xenoverse), Farming Simulator (feel the hype), Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, Skyrim, a Sonic game (possibly Project Sonic 2017, which had previously been announced for the NX), Just Dance 2017, a Dynasty Warriors game, a Street Fighter game, Bomberman, a multiplayer Tetris or Puyo Puyo game, a snowboarding game and what appears to be a Switch version of Fast Racing: Neo.
With the exception of a few games that had previously been announced for the NX, all of these were new reveals. It's a shame that none of them was given release dates. At the very least, it does confirm that there will be a library of games on the Switch (eventually...)
1 Where Are The Launch Games?
After watching the Nintendo Switch Premiere, one cannot help but feel that Nintendo should hold off the release of the console for at least another six months.
Of all the games mentioned during the presentation, only two were confirmed for a launch release. One of these was a party game called 1/2 Switch, which looks like a shovelware game for the Wii. The other is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which admittedly looks awesome, but is also coming out for the Wii U as well. Will the Switch version of Breath of the Wild be different enough to justify the cost of a whole new console?
Nintendo might announce more games over the coming weeks, but the time to do so was today, not later. The lack of a strong launch line-up will likely turn off a lot of players. This in term may have the ripple effect of low initial sales, leading to the third-party publishers pulling their support. It might have been wise for Nintendo to have delayed the release of the Switch until summer 2017, in order to have had a few more games for the launch.
In conclusion, the Switch has some amazing features and we are very excited to see what is coming up further down the road. As of right now, however, we don't know if you should buy a Switch on launch day. It might be smarter for the consumer to wait until later in 2017 when more games have been released for the system.