After much speculation, including my own, we finally know that Nintendo has a new console coming out soon – the NX is officially the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo hinted that they would be dropping some big information, and then posted a video:
After the reveal, there are some things we know, some things that are speculated but unconfirmed, and some things I really hope will be part of this new exciting package.
Things We Know
What we know is that sometime next March, we will be treated to Nintendo’s newest console iteration, and that the WiiU is now a thing of the past.
The new console has eschewed the virtual reality experiments of its contemporaries, and gone for the portability angle full bore. The video shows the console on full TV, played on the go via a tablet looking device, and also being used with a kick stand for multiplayer, also on the go.
I am personally very excited to see all the portability options. I love my 3DS and Vita for their ease of playing anywhere, anytime, and I like to use the WiiU pad for its remote play as well. While the PS4 allows full remote play with the Vita, its really only effective on some titles, and depending on connection, unusable for some. Xbox has gone with remote play via PC. Switch will be the first to have full portability, at least from what we’ve seen.
Gone are the days of discs – to be re-replaced by cartridges. This is a major change from recent convention, but makes sense given the portable nature of the console, where a spinning disc would simply be impractical (see PSP).
We also know there will be several different controller options, notably none of which are the Wiimote (thankfully, as I was not a fan). Their is the Joy-Con which snaps apart to then snap onto the tablet. There is a pro-looking controller, and also the ability to use the Joy-Con’s as little tiny gamepads.
We also know a little about the games. Of course, the highly anticipated new Zelda game was on full display, but so too were a Mario game, a Mario Kart game, Splatoon, and even Skyrim. Nintendo is well known for its first party titles, so a Mario platformer was inevitable. Given the constant criticism of Nintendo’s lack of third party support, they’ve also released of their Switch partners.
What is Speculated
For as much as we know, what is really interesting is what we just aren’t quite sure about. Internet sleuths have scrutinized the video for any hints of hidden or unannounced features.
One such feature is touchpad compatibility. The video does now show any touchpad mechanics, but the tablet device lends itself to such a feature, not even mentioning Nintendo’s history with touchpads. It is rumored that their is touchpad controls, but that they are not highlighted due to the misconception that the console is simply another tablet.
Another question stemming from the touchpad debate is the lack of backwards compatibility. Nintendo has said that the system will not support the physical compatibility with 3DS or WiiU titles. This may be intentional language, or it might mean Nintendo is making a clean break with all previous console titles.
We are also in the dark on the internal specs, but we do know it will involve Nvidia hardware. Further, we don’t what this means for battery life. In the video, there is venting on the tablet, suggesting that the system will at least be attempting to chug some power, but that also threatens battery life. The 3DS was originally marketed as having a 5 hour battery life.
Speaking of the 3DS, it may be the last dedicated handheld in Nintendo’s proud lineage. Given the focus on portability with the Switch, it doesn’t exactly make sense to have a separate handheld device. If the 3DS is truly the last of its breed, then that does hold one exciting prospect – mainline Pokemon games on the big screen.
What Needs to Be Included
While this portion is really just my opinion, there are some features that simply must be included if Nintendo wants to be competitive. Using some of their handheld prowess to inject a new flavor in the console market could really help them get over the hangover of the WiiU.
First, the Switch needs to have a clean, modern online account system. Having the account tied to hardware, and not to the software, makes the current system an utter mess. The friend code system is similarly confusing, and just makes the whole thing clunky.
Second, Nintendo should get as much of its backlog onto the system digitally as possible. Getting all NES, SNES, N64, GBA and even more recent generations should be available for full download on the store. If I can get an emulator and ROM up and running in 15 minutes on a phone, certainly Nintendo can make it happen with the Switch.
Third, Nintendo needs to come out guns blazing with some sweet launch titles. We already know about the new Zelda, which is exciting. A new Mario, preferably one that doesn’t keep using “New” in its name, would also be a great draw. Maybe get a true sequel in the Paper Mario series? The other obvious candidates can also be thrown around including Metroid, Star Fox, Smash, Pikmin, and others. Of course, these are a lot of first party titles, but those really are the lifeblood of any Nintendo system.
All in all the announcement was met with a lot of excitement. While the public at large will always find elements to grumble about, the whole portability gist seems to be a strong-suit that appeals to enough folks.
As we here more in the coming months, the capacity of the Switch to shake-up the scene will become more clear. For now, let the wild speculation continue.
What are your thoughts on the Switch? What games and features are you most looking forward too? Will this be able to bring Nintendo’s home console business back online? Comment below!