So Nintendo has finally given most of the official information regarding the Nintendo Switch, so let's dive right into it, and I'll wrap up with my opinion and review of both the conference and the Switch.
Hardware / Software Overview:
The Nintendo Switch will launch on March 3, 2017 in most regions worldwide. It will cost $299.99 USD, $29,999 in JP, and EU you guys just have to wait and see what your local retailers charge. There is still no mention of the type of Tegra processor in the Switch (X1 / X2 / P1) and no confirmation on the RAM, but other key components have finally been verified. The Switch has a 6.2-inch, multi-touch capacitive touch screen panel with a native resolution of 1280x720 (aka 720p). It has 32GB of internal memory that can be expanded via microSDXC. And it has a battery life ranging between 2 1/2 hours - over 6 hours. The battery drains faster depending on how demanding the game is as well as brightness. AAA games like Zelda will likely produce a battery life of around 3 hours according to Nintendo; however, you can charge and play the Switch via it's USB Type C port. The Switch will be Region free, and feature both up to 8 player local gaming, online gaming, with voice chat and more features.
There were no details about the systems OS or multimedia, but something similar to Wii / 3DS / Wii U is expected along with multimedia staples like Netflix, Hulu, etc... However, for the first time ever Nintendo will now be charging for online gaming starting fall 2017 with a paid subscription service with the details listed below.
What's in and out of the Box?
The system comes with the console, a left and right Joy-Con, wrist straps for the "Joy-Con", the Joycon grip holder, the Switch Dock, a HDMI, and an AC adapter. There will be 2 models at launch one with 2 gray joycons, one with a Neon Blue Left and Neon Red right "Joy-Cons".
You can also buy several of these items ala cart as well:
Pro Controller: $69.99
Joy-Con Controllers: $79.99
Single L or R Joycon: $49.99
Joy-Con Charging Grip: $29.99
Nintendo Switch Dock: $89.99
Joy-Con Wheel: $14.99
There are 3 playstyles: TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, and Handheld mode.
TV mode as expected has you dock your Switch and connect your HDMI to the Dock and allows you to play games on your TV. You can remove your Switch from the dock to access the other 2 modes and play your games on the go seamlessly. Tabletop Mode allows you to use the built-in kickstand and play games with shared Joy-Cons allowing 2 players to play on a single Nintendo Switch. While Handheld mode attaches the Joy-Cons to the Switch letting you play solo on the go.
There are two Joy-Cons, a left and a right. Together they make up the controller for the Switch and offer a traditional offset non-parrelle thumbsticks both MS and Nintendo have continues to use. The D-pad and minus button are positioned on the Left Joy-Con and the Face buttons and the plus button on the right Joy-Con. There is also a Square butter on the let Joy-Con for taking screenshots, and a home button position on the right. When the Joy-Cons are removed for tabletop play you can turn each Joy-Con sideways and use them as individual 4 button controllers with a single thumbstick and L and R shoulder buttons now revealed at the top of the controllers. The Joy-Cons also have built-in motion controls for games that require them, but the biggest evolution to the Joy-Cons would be Nintendo's new HD rumble technology. This provides better sensing and vibration technology to determine things such a weight in games.
Nintendo announced quite a few $60 (confirmed via Nintendo's website) that are coming to the Switch or in development, and here's a list of those games:
1 2 Switch (looks like Wii Sports meets Wario Ware) $50
Snipperclips - Cut it out, together! (A paper cutting, puzzle game) $20
Has Been Heroes
Zelda Breath of the Wild $60
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Wii U port with more content and a better Battle Mode) $60
ARMS (A Stretch Armstrong over the shoulder boxing game with Ninjas, Robots, Mummy's, and more) $60
Splatoon 2 (dual wielding, new weapons, special weapons, stages, and more)
Super Mario Odyssey (3D, sandbox-world, with various real and fantasy locations (NY-esque location, Jungle, crystal food stage, Forest stage, stylized spanish stage, Castle stage, Pyramid / Egypt stage, and more)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Minecraft: Switch Edition
Fire Emblem Warrior
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
Dragon Quest 10
Dragon Quest 11
Dragon Quest Heroes 1
Dragon Quest Heroes 2
Project Octopath Traveler
Wii style game
Shin Megami Tensei
Developers / Engines working on Switch
Epic Unreal Engine 4
50 other companies working on games, and over 80 games in development.
And that was the wrap up of the Nintendo Switch Event. Now my opinion.
I think the event could have been handled much better than it was. The most excitement I had for this event was waiting to get home to watch it. Everything else was just all around meh, beside Zelda, Mario, and just finally seeing games in general coming to the Switch. The entire thing was exactly what you'd expect from a Nintendo E3 event, cheesy cringeworthy moments, poor speakers / translators, and just all around meh until the games are shown.
For what is supposed to be their next big thing in gaming, and a console launching in just a couple of months there was a complete lack of content shown to be launching on March 3rd. Literally 4 games were shown for launch. There should have been a significant focus on what was going to be there at launch from both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd parties.
But enough about the event let's talk about the Switch itself.
My hype for the device was at a high of 9/10 going in, but after the reveal it had dropped down to a 6, and only because of the love I have for my best friend and his admiration for Nintendo (and mine for Zelda) has it peaked back up to a 7 (just 1 point ahead of the Wii U for me, which I sold quickly).
The price was the first knock to the system. $299 isn't expensive for a console, but it does become expensive when you compare the hardware and price to the competition, and it becomes expensive when you compare the cost to that of Nintendo's prior handhelds. The 3DS struggled to sell at $249, meanwhile the Switch is $299 with $60 games and $50, $70, and $80 controllers, paid online service, only 32GB of memory meaning you're looking at another $40 for MicroSD and instantly the Switch is looking like another Vita if not worse for demanding upfront cost. It all makes you wonder why there isn't a Switch version that comes without the dock if it's selling for $90 on it's own.
They discussed all hardware details except for the main things tech-fans wanted to hear, which is what Tegra are they using Tegra X1 as rumored or Tegra X2/P1. If they're still using Tegra X1 then the Switch is ridiculously overpriced considering both the NVIDIA Shield Tablet (K1) and Shield TV (X1) have been $149 and less bundled with games and an extra controller plenty of times in 2016. I would give Nintendo a pass on this since they never reveal this kind of information, but considering they explained EVERYTHING else, I have to take that pass back. The 720p screen isn't really an issue, and as expected it upscales to 1080p for HDTV gaming. But the 3 hour battery life for AAA games is quite disappointing, but again expected.
I also don't mind paying for online serivce, but Nintendo hasn't proven their online is worth any kind of fee, and the details listed in the charged service offer horrible incentives. A single NES / SNES game for the month is not incentive, and their explanation of online voice chat makes it seem as if you're using a 3rd party device via the app to voice chat which would be a huge fail on their part.
I wasn't a fan of the Joy-Cons at first, and I'm still not 100% sold on them, but the reveal did a lot more for them and they seem well thought out, if not the most thought out part of the console.
The biggest issue I have with the reveal is the sheer amount of missed opportunity. Where were the best of Wii U ports that the Switch and second chance sales those games needed, where was the western 3rd party support, where was Virtual Console support, where were the +10 launch titles not just 4, why does this thing seem so expensive when looking at all the secondary cost.
I feel like Nintendo has pretty much lost the western market already with a combination of price, lack of 3rd party support, and subscription cost for what is often deemed a completely inferior online service with few games to take advantage of it. The Switch seems poised to take on Japan and offer an unparalleled experience over there, but I don't see anyway for the Switch to turn around the 50% decline in handheld sales the 3DS suffered this generation with it's current position. I see so much potential in this device, but once again Nintendo has taken a 2 steps forward 1 step backwards approach to their console, and left a lot of wasted potential out in the ether.
I wish Nintendo the best of luck, the Switch looks like a great platform, but one that most casual / kid gamers will pass on, as well as most western gamers ignoring the Switch.