After this week we’ll know a whole lot more about Nintendo’s next console. The company is holding a pair of events — one in Tokyo, one in New York — where it plans to unveil some important new details about the Nintendo Switch, most notably when the hardware will launch and how much it will cost.
We already know the gist of what Switch is about thanks to a reveal trailer back in October. Essentially, it’s a tablet with detachable controllers that connects to a television, so you can play games both on the go and in your living room. But many questions still remain. How powerful will Switch be? What kind of controller accessories will it support? What games will be available at launch?
We’ll have answers to at least some of those questions very soon. Things kick off on Thursday evening at 11PM ET / 8PM PT, and The Verge will be there covering the events live. For now, here’s what we know so far, and what we can expect to learn.
Price and release date
Nintendo has confirmed that we’ll learn both the price and release date for Switch at the event. We already know it will be launching sometime in March, but the price is more of a question mark. Rumors suggest that it will come in around the $250 mark, with a version featuring more storage potentially available for $300.
If true, the price point would make the new device very competitive with the likes of Sony and Microsoft. The recently redesigned PlayStation 4 currently costs $299, as does the 500GB version of the Xbox One S. The lower price point is also in-keeping with Nintendo’s history; the Wii U originally launched at $299.99, with a deluxe version available for $349.99.
Accessories and specs
One of the most distinct aspects of the Switch is its detachable controllers, which Nintendo has dubbed Joy-Cons. The two halves of the controller can snap onto either side of the tablet, but can also be used on their own like a Wii remote, or connected together to form a more traditional controller.
That’s a lot of different control options, but there’s also more in the works. “It may be appropriate to call them accessories,” Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima says of the controllers. “Or it might be better to call them add-on hardware. It's probably more correct to call them accessories. You can assume that there will be a wider array." And there’s a good chance we’ll get to see some of those additional accessories this week.
There’s also the question of just how powerful the Switch will be. Since the original Wii, Nintendo’s hardware has been somewhat underpowered compared to its PlayStation and Xbox counterparts, and that will likely be no different with Switch. We do know that the device features a custom Tegra processor from Nvidia, similar to the one used to power the Nvidia Shield console.
As for the screen, we don’t even know for sure if it’s a touch device, but reports have claimed that Switch will feature a 6.2-inch 720p display that supports multitouch. Given Nintendo’s history with devices like the DS and Wii U, not to mention its burgeoning mobile business, it makes sense that Switch will feature a touchscreen of some sort.
That said, Nintendo isn’t a company that likes to talk a lot about specs. But hopefully we’ll get at least some information on the nitty-gritty of what makes Switch work at its big reveal event.
Games: Zelda, Mario, and more
Of course, the most important part of any game console — particularly one from Nintendo — is the games themselves. The company has said that this week’s presentation will include a look at the Switch’s initial lineup of games. We already know at least a few games that are in the works for the console, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dragon Quest XI, and a new, unnamed 3D Super Mario adventure.
The Switch reveal video also showed off a handful of other titles, including Splatoon, a Mario Kart game, an NBA game, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, though none has been confirmed as actually coming to the console yet. That will probably change on Thursday night.
Reports also suggest that a new Pokémon game is in the works for the console. The Switch will also support Nintendo’s Virtual Console retro game service, and rumors suggest that it will include titles from the GameCube for the first time. There’s also the potential that mobile titles like Super Mario Run will also be available on Switch.
Outside of Nintendo, the console also boasts support from an impressive array of third-party game developers, many of whom will likely be part of the initial lineup of Switch games. Some are expected, including huge publishers like EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Activision. But there are also some surprises. Dark Souls developer From Software is a Switch partner, as is Persona studio Atlus, Fallout creator Bethesda, and Nintendo’s mobile partner DeNA.
Some of these third-party games are likely to be ports, such as the previously mentioned Switch version of Skyrim. But given the console’s unique design and controllers, there should be at least a few original games that take advantage of the hardware.