Nintendo’s entry into the ninth console generation is the talk of the town, but how will it actually work and what will it offer?
The console codenamed NX was officially announced as the Nintendo Switch on 21 October 2016. It was unveiled via a lively trailer that demonstrated the home/handheld hybrid in action, including its detachable Joy-con controllers, six games and traditional gamepad support.
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On 13 January, Nintendo revealed finer details on the Nintendo Switch through a live stream from Tokyo, including different SKUs, Joy-Con functionality, online play and over 30 titles (including a new Super Mario title).
Now that the Nintendo Switch has been outed, let's take a look at everything you need to know before it releases in Australia on 3 March 2017.
Nintendo Switch Games
Nintendo has over 100 titles planned for release. The list included stalwart franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario and Bomberman R but also a huge selection of quality indies like Shovel Knight.
What games were available at launch?
After Nintendo's Switch stream, five games were announced for launch. These were quickly followed up by a selection of indies available through the eShop.
|Just Dance 2017||Ubisoft||Party||$66.99|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||Nintendo EPD||Adventure||$89.95|
|Super Bomberman R||Konami||Action||$99.95|
These are the titles that Nintendo announced for launch, though other developers like System 4 (Constructors HD) have claimed their titles will also be available at launch.
The full list of games for Nintendo Switch
Nintendo subtly revealed more than 30 games at its January Switch event. We combined those titles with rumoured and leaked titles in one comprehensive list.
Nintendo Switch hardware
The Nintendo Switch will come with the Switch tablet, a dock with HDMI output and two Joy-Con controllers. Here's everything we know about Nintendo's hardware.
With all these detachable parts, what is the Switch exactly? Technically the tablet at the console's core is the Nintendo Switch. The console itself is exclusively sold in a package that included the Switch Dock, two Joy-Con controllers and all the required cables.
Nintendo Switch Price
For a more detailed breakdown on how much the Nintendo Switch costs around the world, check our Switch price comparison. Otherwise, the Switch is sold in two different SKUs at the same price.
|Nintendo Switch Console Grey||$469.95|
|Nintendo Switch Console Blue and Red Neon||$469.95|
Thanks to our 10% Goods and Services tax, the Nintendo Switch is a little pricier in Australia than it is in other countries (but New Zealand has it worse).
Nintendo Switch Specs
Before the official announcement, the Switch's specs were undoubtedly the hottest topic when it came to wild rumours. While we know a lot more about the console itself, there's still a lot we don't know, like exactly how powerful the Switch's custom Nvidia Tegra chipset is. Here's what we do know about the Switch's specs.
|Processor||Custom Nvidia Tegra-based system-on-a-chip (SOC)|
|Expandable memory||Up to 2TB (Micro SDXC)|
|Audio||2 speakers, 3.5mm headphone hack|
|Battery life||3 - 6 hours|
Whether it's placed in the dock, tabletop mode or handheld, the Joy-Con controllers are an essential part of the Switch's hardware.
The Joy-Cons come in grey and red/blue neon variations. They are also compatible with various accessories, like a charging grip and wheel frames. Here's how much they will cost you in Australia.
|Joy-Con set (2)||$119.95|
|Joy-Con individual (1)||$69.95|
|Switch Charging Grip||$39.95|
|Switch Wheel Accessory||$24.95|
The Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers share a similar button layout to the Wii U gamepad, with the exception of a share button and altered joystick placement.
The Joy-Cons boast new features like HD Rumble and an IR Sensor. The former simulates real-world sensations, like rattling ice in a glass, and the latter can identify movement, shape and distance. For example, you could play scissors, paper, rock and the Switch would be able to identify the action of moving your hand, how far it is from the sensor and which action you chose.
The Joy-Con controllers are quite small when separated. Here are the specifications for the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons.
|Battery life||Approx. 20 hours|
Nintendo Switch third-party support
A huge roster of publishers, software developers and middleware partners have expressed their support for the Nintendo Switch. Among them are some huge AAA names like Activision and Bethesda, and some exciting prospects like FromSoftware. Dark Souls 3 on the go anyone?
Here is a full list of companies throwing their weight behind the Nintendo Switch:
Our Nintendo Switch wishlist: What came true and what didn't
Before the Nintendo Switch was announced and rumours were flying like a cow from the 1996 classic Twister, we had some high hopes for the mysterious little console. With some insight from said rumours and a little bit of industry expertise, we came up with a wishlist of things we wanted from the Nintendo Switch. Heres' what came true and what didn't.
Here's what didn't come to fruition.
- The Switch has to match or exceed the PS4 and Xbox One's processing power: In retrospect, this was a pretty lofty expectation for a console/handheld hybrid.
- It needs a busy schedule of games: One of the Switch's main criticisms has been its limited launch lineup.
- It needs to meet the expectations of modern media hub, including streaming and socialising: Nintendo's Kit Ellis confirmed to Business Insider that the Switch would not have multimedia apps at launch.
Here's what did come to be.
- It needs to be friendlier for developers: Despite a mixed public reaction, the Switch has been welcomed with open arms by the indie community. Suda 51 said when he graced the stage at the Switch event "the dev environment is probably as good as everyone is hoping. I feel it could even connect indies and AAAs".
- It needs to modernise the Nintendo Network: For better or for worse, Nintendo is modernising the Nintendo Network with the Nintendo Switch Online Service. We don't know whether that's the final name. However, we do know it will do away with friend codes, allow cloud saves and offer free monthly games in the same way PlayStation and Xbox currently do.
This is what's left of our Nintendo Switch wish list.
- It should be virtual reality aware: Though it's been heavily rumored, Nintendo has not yet officially announced any VR plans for the Switch. On closer inspection, the Switch is prime for a Gear VR-type setup that utilises the console's detachable screen. The Switch's HD Rumble Joy-Cons are also prime for the Switch.
- A focus on traditional gaming ahead of gimmicky controls: We won't be able to answer this one for at least another year when we have a substantial library to judge. So far it's a healthy balance of both. Games like 1-2-Switch show off the Joy-Cons capabilities, where The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild more or less uses a traditional controller scheme.
- It needs to intelligently connect and amplify Nintendo’s suite of mobile games: We'd love to know the answer to this one. Will Nintendo's iOS and Android games like Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes be available on the Nintendo Switch? The Switch's tablet design would suggest so but so far nothing has been announced.