Nearly three months after the Nintendo Switch was shown for the first time, pertinent launch details on Nintendo’s dual console-handheld have finally been revealed. Nintendo addressed the world from Tokyo on Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. On January 13, Nintendo is hosting a “Treehouse Live” livestream at 9:30am ET, while introducing the Switch to the press at an event in New York City. Given the gap between the initial reveal and now — not to mention the console’s forthcoming launch in March — speculation on the machine has intensified in recent weeks.
Nintendo’s Switch reveal event on January 12 focused both on the console’s hardware specifications — yes, it has a touch screen — as well as a selection of games the console will be receiving within the first few months of release. The New York City event is expected to offer up more details on games and go even deeper into the Switch’s features, and will be the first opportunity for press to try it out. You can watch both shows on the livestream embedded above, as well as through Nintendo’s official site, Twitch, and YouTube. If you’re unable to stream the show, however, rest assured that Nintendo will post updates to its Twitter throughout the show.
Everything we have heard about the Switch up to this point can be found here, but this is what we know, think, and hope to hear during this week’s press bonanza.
Price point and models
The Nintendo Switch releases on March 3 worldwide for $300. It will be available in both a gray configuration, which you can see above, as well as a “red/blue” configuration, which includes colorful versions of the Joy-Con controllers. Unlike the Wii U, there is no “deluxe” version with increased storage capacity or extra features, and the console does not come bundled with any games.
System specifications and features
The last two generations of Nintendo platforms have toyed with conventional ways to play video games, and the Switch will continue this trend. As seen in the reveal trailer, the console is a hybrid platform — a home console for the living and a portable powerhouse on the go.
The transition between the portable display and television screens should be seamless, allowing users to simply detach each Joy-Con controller panels from each side of the Switch, attach them to the Joy-Con grip, and place the portable unit in the dock for console play. Nintendo will likely confirm that all of Switch’s system processing power is drawn from the portable unit, though this was not specifically mentioned during its most recent event.
Nintendo started utilizing touch screen functionality with its DS line of portable hardware, and carried that tradition to the Wii U. Both lines of hardware have single touch capabilities — the screens can only register one finger at a time. The Nintendo Switch changes that, introducing a multi-touch capacitive screen that falls more in line with contemporary phones and tablets.
The Nintendo Switch features a 6.2-inch, 720p display, and is capable of outputting to televisions at 1080p. Nintendo insider Emily Rogers said prior to Nintendo’s January 12 event that the console would be capable of upscaling to 4K in its “docked” mode, but Nintendo has not confirmed this.
Multiple control schemes
The Nintendo Switch features multiple control configurations for a wide variety of play. In addition to the standard portable configuration of the console, which features a Joy-Con controller attached to both sides, the console can be placed on a table using its included kickstand and the controllers can be removed. This allows two players to each hold on Joy-Con for use in multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and 1-2 Switch, the latter of which makes minimal use of the console’s screen. To help with controlling games that make heavy use of the “L” and “R” buttons, an included strap device can be snapped onto individual Joy-Cons, providing more prominent buttons.
In its “docked” configuration, players also have a few choices for controlling games. The included “Joy-Con Grip” holds the two Joy-Cons on either side to mimic a traditional controller, and is the default setup for playing with a television out of the box. Also available is the Nintendo Switch “Pro” controller, which retails for $70 and closely resembles the Pro Controller seen on the Wii. It comes with a translucent, smokey plastic body.
The Joy-Con controllers feature both motion control and an IR sensor, which is capable of discerning hand shapes such as “rock” in a game of rock-paper-scissors.
Both the Pro controller and the left Joy-Con feature Nintendo’s new “capture” button. Currently, it allows users to take screenshots, but video support will arrive in the future. Joy-Con controllers also feature what Nintendo calls “HD Rumble,” which gives more accurate physical feedback to players — the presentation used the feeling of filling a glass with ice as an example.