After months of teases, Nintendo announced that its next console, the Nintendo Switch, will be available worldwide on March 3, 2017, and will cost $300 in North America. The company announced the news during an unveiling event in Tokyo Thursday, January 12.
Each console will be bundled with a Joy-Con controller, wrist straps, Joy-Con dock, Switch dock, and an AC adaptor. The Pro controller will be sold separately from each of these packages. The console will ship with two color variants, one with black Joy-Con controllers and another with a blue and red Joy-Con. Both models will be sold for the same price.
The company also confirmed that the system, a hybrid fusion of both a handheld and a console when docked, will support online services compatible with mobile smart devices. On unspecified mobile devices, presumably iPhones and Android, you’ll be able to invite friends to play games with you on the Switch no matter where you are.
As shown in the initial teaser, two players can split the Joy-Con pads — called “sharing the joy” — which connect to the console via infrared sensors. In this form, the joy-cons can be paired with a strap peripheral, which also adds pronounced “+” and “-” trigger buttons. Both the joy-cons and straps come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, and red. The console’s Joy-Con controllers will support motion controls, and feature a hypersensitive HD rumble feature.
Thus far, Nintendo said that its console will launch with a proof-of-concept party game geared towards families and friends called 1 2 Switch, which features a compilation of various mini games. Unlike previous Nintendo platforms, the Switch will not be region-locked, meaning you can finally import all those Dragon Quest games that inevitably only come to Japan without buying an imported console. Other games confirmed for the Switch include The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim, Super Mario Odyssey (December 2017), and a new motion-controlled boxing game called ARMS (spring 2017).
The battery life of the Switch, according to Nintendo, will last somewhere between 2.5 and 6 hours. Optimistically assuming it lasts closer to the latter, this is good for players looking to enjoy lengthy Splatoon 2 sessions, which, by the way, is also coming to the Switch in summer 2017.
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