After years of waiting, Nintendo’s finally got a new video game console on the way: the Nintendo Switch.
It’s a hybrid console — you can play it at home, on your living room television, or you can take it on-the-go. Here’s what we know about the console thus far:
- It’s called Nintendo Switch.
- It’s scheduled to launch in March 2017.
- Nintendo has a gaggle of games starring its most prominent creations in the works.
There’s of course much more to the Switch than that, but Nintendo isn’t offering a lot of explicit details just yet. Thankfully, the Japanese game company released a trailer to debut Nintendo Switch that tells us a lot more. Here are the coolest things we discovered!
Top, far left: This is the Nintendo Switch itself, in home console form. The tablet-like portable bit is dropped into the 'Nintendo Switch Dock' like bread into a toaster. The dock connects to your TV, so you can play the same games on-the-go and at home. Nintendo says the Switch is a home console, 'first and foremost.'
Top, middle: As you see in the image here, a woman is playing an unannounced Super Mario game. She's holding a traditional gamepad, and playing the game on her television. With Nintendo Switch, the Japanese game company is making a push toward more traditional video game consoles.
Top, far right: That said, you can take Nintendo Switch with you anywhere. The portable game console you see in this image is just the tablet-like bit seen in the first image, but removed from the Nintendo Switch Dock. It's also got controllers snapped onto each side, making it into a portable handheld game console.
Bottom, far left: No game discs here! The Nintendo Switch uses cartridges, similar to those used with Nintendo's 3DS handheld. It's likely that Nintendo Switch also has an online service for buying and downloading games digitally, but Nintendo hasn't announced as much yet. It's also not clear how much internal storage is in the Nintendo Switch handheld (or if there is any in the Nintendo Switch Dock).
Bottom: middle: Nintendo envisions a future where you'll bring your Nintendo Switch with you, set it down on a table, and play multiplayer with friends. Given that the screen looks to be in the seven inch range, and that the controllers are incredibly small, we're betting this won't be a much-used feature. Still! It's pretty neat that you could set it up somewhere and challenge a friend to, say, a match in the latest Mario Kart.
Bottom, far right: These are the aforementioned small controllers. These snap onto the sides of the Switch screen, turning it into a portable console. They can also be used individually, or snapped onto a controller at home for a more traditional experience. Nintendo's calling them 'Joy-Con' -- like joystick and controller, all at once.
As you see above, the Joy-Con slide onto the sides of the screen, turning it into a portable handheld game console. Each controller has a thumbstick and four main buttons. They can be used with the screen, detached from the screen, or at home with the Nintendo Switch Dock.
We're betting that what you see above is exactly what'll come in the box when Nintendo Switch arrives in March 2017: the Nintendo Switch Dock, the tablet-like console, and a home gamepad with the detachable Joy-Con in-tow. Notably, the controller is actually called the 'Joy-Con Grip' -- since you can detach each side of the Joy-Con bits and attach them to the Switch tablet, the Grip acts as a means of turning the Joy-Con into a more traditional gamepad.
Here's a look at the Joy-Con Grip gamepad being used. It looks a bit unwieldy, but certainly workable.
The Joy-Con Grip gamepad has two offset analogue sticks, and four buttons on each side. There are also shoulder buttons, and triggers on each side -- the standard gamepad setup nowadays, more or less.
This is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Nintendo's been making the Pro line of gamepads since the original Wii -- a way for people to play Nintendo games with a relatively standard gamepad. The Nintendo Switch is no exception: this generation's iteration of the Pro controller looks an awful lot like an Xbox One gamepad. The thumbsticks are concave and offset, and there are four face buttons on the right side.
Don't expect this guy to ship with the Nintendo Switch next March -- it's almost certainly going to be sold separately.
Top, far left: One example Nintendo gives of how the Switch can be used is in the car, on-the-go. In this instance, someone has purchased a Switch mount; then, the Joy-Cons are detached and used as two individual gamepads. If they look tiny, that's because they're hilariously tiny. While it looks like a lot of fun to play a new 'Mario Kart' game in a car, we're betting most folks will either play alone or wait until they get home (where there are normal-sized gamepads).
Top, middle: Here's a closer look at the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It's a pretty standard gamepad. It's not clear if you can use it without the Nintendo Switch Dock -- could one of the 'Mario Kart' contestants above be using one instead of the tiny gamepads in the example? Perhaps, but who wants to carry a gamepad everywhere?
Top, far right: Nintendo smartly built a kickstand into the read of the Switch tablet. The company envisions this being used for multiplayer gaming and in-flight gameplay -- we envision it as an easy way to watch a movie on the Switch. Nintendo hasn't confirmed Switch as a multimedia device, but we'd be shocked if it weren't capable of as much.
Bottom, far left: As seen here, the Joy-Con Grip comes together via slidable attachments. Each side of the Joy-Con gets attached to the Grip by sliding it on. We're anxious to see how this works in practice -- the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of hardware rattling around in a bag.
Bottom: middle: Though Nintendo Switch assuredly has an online infrastructure for multiplayer gaming, you can play with friends locally, wirelessly. This kind of local multiplayer is a standard on Nintendo's handheld consoles, so it's a no-brainer to bring it to the Switch.
Bottom, far right: When you're done living life out loud, playing games outside, simply plop the Switch tablet into the Switch Dock and it becomes a home console instantly. You can even leave the Joy-Con attached to the tablet and use the Pro controller.
Nintendo's only shown one video of the Switch in action. In it, people play a new 3D 'Super Mario' game, a new 'Mario Kart' game, an unnamed basketball game that looks suspiciously like the NBA 2K series, and Bethesda Game Studios' 2011 masterpiece 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' (a remastered version of 'Skyrim' is launching this year on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One -- this is very likely that version).
You can tell that it isn't 'Mario Kart 8' for Wii U because Boo isn't in that game. Also, there's no item switching in 'MK8.' We're gonna take a wild guess right now that this game is called 'Mario Kart Switch.' $10! Right now! On the table!