Nintendo announced a whole bunch of details about the upcoming Switch console last night in Tokyo, including the price, release date, and new games that are coming to the console. And while we may still have questions about Nintendo’s new hardware, we now have a clearer picture than ever about what Nintendo’s vision of the future of video games looks like.
The Nintendo Switch is coming March 3rd
First things first. The Nintendo Switch will be released internationally on March 3rd for $299.99. The Switch will be available in two versions: either a console with all-gray Joy-Con controllers, or one with a Neon Red and Neon Blue Joy-Con set.
As for accessories: the more traditional Pro Controller will cost $69.99, while extra Joy-Con pairs will run $79.99 each, with individual Joy-Con costing $49.99. Each Joy-Con controller, whether purchased individually or paired, also includes a wrist strap attachment. Extra Joy-Con Charging Grip controllers will run $29.99 with the ability to recharge the Joy-Con controllers, replacement Switch Docks will be $89.99, and a Wii-esque Wheel accessory will run $14.99 for a set of two.
Alongside the Switch, Nintendo has announced several launch titles for March 3rd, headlined by the highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and minigame collection 1-2-Switch.
The Switch gets some specs
Nintendo also finally answered some of the biggest outstanding questions about the Switch hardware. The screen was confirmed to be a 6.2-inch, 1280 x 720 resolution display, with up to 1080p output available on a TV set when docked.
When used in handheld mode, the Switch gets between three and six hours of battery life on a charge, depending on the demands of the games being played, but can be easily recharged on the go through a USB-C port. The Switch has 32GB of internal storage, which can be further expandable with microSD cards. And, in a first for a Nintendo home console, the Switch won’t be region locked, meaning that games from anywhere in the world will work on any device.
More Joy-Con features unveiled
Nintendo also showed off some new features for the modular Joy-Con controller. The mysterious square button on the left Joy-Con was announced to be a Capture button for quickly recording gameplay screenshots, and eventually video clips at some point farther down the line. Additionally, each Joy-Con controller will have full motion control functionality, similar to the Wii Remote, for motion gameplay, along with advanced haptic feedback that Nintendo is calling “HD Rumble” for even more immersive gameplay.
When using the Joy-Con controllers undocked, either for cooperative play or motion gaming, Nintendo is including a wrist strap attachment that can be clipped onto the inside of the controller halves to help prevent flinging them into your TV or nearby friends. Additionally, Nintendo revealed that the Switch-facing side of each Joy-Con contains shoulder buttons, allowing each Joy-Con half to be used as a full controller. The wrist strap attachment has the added benefit of making those shoulder buttons somewhat larger and easier to press.
Furthermore, the right Joy-Con controller contains an IR camera that Nintendo claims is able to identify the shape and locations of objects. For example, the Joy-Con can distinguish between a hand throwing rock-paper-scissors motions, as well as determine how far away it is from the controller. And as noted earlier, the Joy-Con will come in Neon Blue and Neon Red colors at launch, in addition to the previously seen gray.
Games! Games! Games!
It wouldn’t be a new Nintendo console without some new games, and Nintendo came prepared with a wealth of new games for the switch. Leading the charge is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which will be a flagship launch title for the new console.
But Nintendo also showed off a new Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, an open-world sandbox game that looks to be a successor to the classic Super Mario 64, and adds real-world locations and an anthropomorphic hat to the series when it releases for the holiday season later this year.
Nintendo also announced two new titles: 1-2-Switch, a party game collection that will be available at launch that showcases the Joy-Con’s wide range of features, and ARMS, a motion-controlled boxing game.
Additionally, a sequel to Nintendo’s colorful shooter Splatoon — Spatoon 2 — was announced for the summer, which adds new levels and weapons to the mix. Nintendo also showed off several new RPGs for the Switch, including Xenoblade Chronicles 2, four Dragon Quest games, a new entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series, Project Octopath Traveller from Square Enix. Also announced at the presentation was Fire Emblem Warriors from Koei Tecmo, who had previously developed Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U.
Several other Switch titles also made brief appearances at the Tokyo event, including an announcement that EA’s FIFA games would be returning to Nintendo’s consoles after a four year absence, along with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, NBA 2K18, Minecraft, Steep, Rime, Sega’s upcoming Project Sonic 2017, and an upgraded version of Mario Kart 8 titled Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. Nintendo also noted that over 50 companies have expressed interest in creating games for the Switch, with over 80 games already in development.
Nintendo is charging for online play
It’s a sad day in the gaming world, as Nintendo announced that online service for the Switch will require a monthly fee starting in the Fall 2017. According to Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, “Users will be able to try out Nintendo Switch online services for free during a trial period after launch,” after which the Switch will transition to a paid system for online service. While it’s a little disheartening to see the last free online multiplayer system go, it could be a sign that Nintendo is finally ready to take internet services more seriously with the Switch.