While firm details are still being released, here’s what the industry knows right now:
- The Switch will offer a home console with a portable unit.
- The tablet will dock into the console to connect to the television.
- The tablet can be removed without disrupting gameplay.
- The game will continue running on the tablet.
- The console will come with detachable controllers appropriate for the tablet.
- Players can turn the controllers sideways for multiplayer use.
The Switch is due to be released sometime mid-March of next year—which will be a long wait for the millions of fans already anticipating its release. With nearly 20 million views in six days since the console announcement, the First Look at Nintendo Switch YouTube video has broken records. The just over three-minute video shows players enjoying a game at home. Then multiple players take the game to various places including a dog park, an airport, an airplane, and a car. While the first marketing video shows all adults enjoying the gameplay, adults with children will immediately recognize the value of this console for family trips involving long travel times. Like many Nintendo systems, this console continues to honor the company’s focus of community gaming. Instead of merely enjoying a game from the comfort of a couch, now friends can play together virtually anywhere.
A Step Forward
Unlike the Wii and Wii U, Nintendo’s Switch is an entirely new system from the ground up. Many fans who purchased both systems in the past felt disillusioned in the promises made by Nintendo and the reality of the Wii U; the Switch is more of a peace offering of sorts, and should bring back gamers disappointed with Nintendo’s last console offering. In fact, the company clearly stated the Switch is nothing like the Wii U’s GamePad; this new console will focus on a single-screen experience only. Both developers and gamers have a chance to explore an amazing new platform, and both parties are chomping at the bit to do so.
These new systems promise uniqueness and individuality; it will not simply mirror the PS4 or the Xbox One. The system’s portability without losing gameplay is already drawing significant attention and kudos from the gaming world. Of course, this portability will only work in Wi-Fi ranges; but since most people can create hot spots on their own, the area of gameplay seems nearly limitless. Nintendo shared that battery life for devices will be long to sustain extended gameplay as well. And while honoring the new, Nintendo also honors the old: co-op playing. However now, players aren’t limited to the couch; they can literally take their Switch tablets and controllers and play anywhere they’d like.
Nearly 50 developers have already signed on to create games for Switch. Love the Unreal Engine 4 platform? Well, on October 20, 2016, Epic Games tweeted that they would be partnering with Nintendo to bring games created by Unreal Engine 4 developers to Switch. The support for Nintendo’s latest venture is strong; IGN quoted Ubisoft stating that “…Nintendo could again redefine the way we play games…” while NIS America stated: “We are very excited about the possibilities that the Nintendo Switch brings to the gaming space.” Warner Bros. also commented: “Nintendo continually innovates to develop unique technology for gamers…”. Other notable developers who’ve signed on to create games include Activision, Bethesda, CAPCOM, EA, CodeMasters, Sega, and Atlus. Nintendo’s strong partnerships with leading developers will definitely result in some amazing games for this platform. It’s likely that fans will also see some favorites on the Switch; with such an extensive back catalog, Nintendo may offer some of its most beloved characters in new realms. While no developers have released titles that will be available on the Switch, rest assured there will be amazing ones.
The Master’s Plan
Nintendo announced that Shigeru Miyamoto will be designing games for Nintendo’s latest platform. The producer of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and many Wii games will likely be designing games to extend some of these franchises as well as completely new games for the Switch. Designing for Nintendo since 1977, Miyamoto has the experience, creativity, and freedom to design some truly unique and forward-thinking games. Perhaps forthcoming games will surpass the critical acclaim that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time garnered after its release. Mr. Miyamoto assumed the role of acting Representative Director of Nintendo after its president’s death in July 2015. Since September of 2015, he’s served as the company’s Creative Fellow. Mr. Miyamoto’s gaming philosophy has always centered on game mechanics; his games offer choices and challenges to players instead of relying on hyper-realistic graphics. The new Switch games will likely focus on this gameplay offering players interactive games that resonate among many demographics.
While the Switch won’t be available in time for the holiday season, its debut in early spring will likely result in a crush to obtain it. The company estimates that it will sell in the neighborhood of 2 million systems by the end of March; experts believe this to be a conservative estimate. Nintendo’s CEO Tatsumi Kimishima did share that some buyers will have the opportunity to try the Switch before its anticipated release date. While the company has not yet released the price, industry experts hypothesize that the console system will be in the $300-$350 range for the United States market; it will likely see a price point around 350 pounds in the U.K. Save that holiday money—it looks as though Nintendo’s new innovation will be worth the money.