By Tommy Robbins. Been waiting for that Nintendo NX reveal? Look no further!
That’s right, Nintendo finally emerged from their sterile, next-century technologial wonderland on Thursday to reveal the highly anticipated mobile/home gaming hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo has been very secretive about their new console in the prior months, but that didn’t prevent the errant leak here and there from making gaming enthusiasts nearly topple over with speculation. It has been rumored for a minute now that the next Nintendo console would attempt to close the gap between home and mobile gaming, and it would appear from this enthusiastically corporate-brand trailer that speculation was right on the money this time.
The reveal trailer, which clocks in at just over 3:30, shows a lot of impressive new functionality options for the upcoming Switch, as well a step towards graphic fidelity the likes of which were previously unheard of for a Nintendo console.
First, the Nintendo Switch seems to place the majority of its power inside of the mobile component of the console. This means that it likely won’t rely on remote play options that allow you to play from the console at home (similar to PlayStation’s Remote Play options on PC or PS Vita). Instead, the portion that resides at home seems to be a rather congenially unobtrusive stand for our entertainment centers, which isn’t that thoughtful. “At home, Nintendo Switch rests in the Nintendo Switch Dock that connects the system to the TV and lets you play with family and friends in the comfort of your living room,” Nintendo said in its press release.
At-home functionality? Check. So how does the mobile stuff work? Well, as the reveal trailer shows, the handheld portion of the Switch is simply lifted out of the Nintendo Switch Dock. At this point, you’re left holding something that resembles a sleeker version of the Wii U gamepad, with controls that are placed on either side of an HD display. “Gaming springs into action by removing detachable Joy-Con controllers from either side of Nintendo Switch,” the press release continues. “One player can use the Joy-Con controller in each hand; two players can each take one; or multiple Joy-Con can be employed by numerous people for a variety of gameplay options.”
This multi-use controller format is pretty impressive. Watching the video allows this to play out a little more discernibly. Once out in the wild, the handheld portion of the Switch has removable controllers (called Joy-Con controllers). Once removed, these slightly resemble the Wii nunchucks, if not a bit more compact. (No intimidating street-level criminals, I fear.) These can be used as dual controllers for a single player, shared with other players for shared/split screen multiplayer, and they can even be attached to a controller stand-in for a more traditional controller feel while on the go.
Be on the go! Like these hip, young, test-marketed actors!
Another impressive feature of the Nintendo Switch is the potential for online multiplayer while on the go. Unplug your Switch handheld, meet up at the park, a coffee shop, even on the bus, and play with or against other Switch owners face-to-face. The console recognizes others in the area and allows for pairing, though we aren’t sure of the limitations of this feature as of now, aside from the inevitable time you’ll lose with police describing the dude who stole your Nintendo Switch while you were playing Zelda at the local Jimmy Johns.
With so much attention on mobile gaming, it’s hard to believe the home portion of the Nintendo Switch can perform on the level of Sony and Microsoft’s home consoles, but Nintendo seems to be leaning into entertainment in the living room just as much as on the go. The Switch will also sport a full featured controller, with a form factor similar to that of an Xbox controller. Switch is making sure to offer something a it more substantial than the Wii controllers of the past. Progress!
Nintendo is stepping up their game in the realm of visual fidelity, remaining a hallmark in the world of home gaming consoles in the process. The gaming giant released a list of developers and publishers who are on board this crazy train, and some of the names on this list verify that Nintendo does, in fact, intend to release the kinds of games that would have never been released on their previous consoles. Some of the notable names include: 505 Games, Activision, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Capcom, Electronic Arts, FromSoftware, Havok, Konami, Square Enix, Telltale, and Ubisoft. The message is clear — Nintendo Switch has the wider gaming world by the short-and-curlies.
If this sucker is, in fact, as powerful and versatile as its reveal shows it to be, the decisions between Nintendo and other console manufacturers may be tougher than ever before.
Nintendo Switch is slated to become available to the public in March of 2017.