Nintendo’s new video game console, the Switch, is nearly available. There’s just a few more days until March 3, when the console goes on sale for $US299.
But, out of the box, there are some things the Nintendo Switch isn’t able to do without a major update. That’s right: the first thing you need to do with the Nintendo Switch, after setting it up, is download an update. Another bump in the road between you and that sweet new “Zelda” game, we’re sorry to say.
What kinda stuff is in the update? This kinda stuff, says Nintendo:
- “Access to network features, such as Nintendo eShop, online gameplay, ability to share images to social media, etc.”
- “Ability to link Nintendo Accounts to your Nintendo Switch console.”
The most notable thing is the lack of access to the eShop, Nintendo’s digital storefront. That’s the place to buy new games, digitally, and it’s also the place where Nintendo’s Virtual Console lives — the digital storefront that sells games from Nintendo’s vast back catalogue of classic games (like the original “Super Mario Bros.” for instance). Nintendo has yet to say exactly how Virtual Console will work on the Switch.
All that said, we’ve got a Nintendo Switch that Nintendo sent over, and we’ve been using it without the update (the update doesn’t actually launch until “just prior to the Nintendo Switch launch on March 3”). While the console is extremely limited without the update, it’s able to play “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” without any problems.
It’s not clear how much of the Switch’s internal storage (32 GB) will be taken up by the update — as it stands, the existing storage shrinks to 25.9 GB from the operating system alone. The Switch’s storage can be expanded dramatically with the use of micro SD cards (sold separately), so storage isn’t a huge concern.
What is a real concern, however, is being able to play games on your new Nintendo Switch on March 3. If you’re thinking about buying a digital version of any new games rather than picking up a copy of, say, the new “Legend of Zelda” at store, you may be out of luck — without the update, there’s no way to access the digital storefront to buy and download any games.
And, if history repeats, there may be problems downloading that update on day one. When Nintendo’s Wii U launched back in 2012, a day one patch was issued that added much of the console’s functionality — servers choked, and downloads took hours for most people. Not exactly an ideal day one experience with a brand new, expensive luxury item.
We’re staying hopeful for now. Besides, if you really want to play a game immediately on your Switch, the physical copy will get that done.