After months of rumors, speculation and anticipation, Nintendo finally pulled back the curtain this morning on the long awaited follow up to the Wii U. The Nintendo Switch is the bold new future of the company that combines their home and portable gaming efforts into one amazing amalgamation of a console.
The Switch is essentially a handheld console with a large high definition screen and detachable controllers on either side called Joy-Cons. The device can also be mounted on a base that stays attached to your television for playing in your living room. Once you mount the system you can then either detach the Joy-Con controllers and snap them onto a central controller base or use a more traditional “classic” style controller. The video also showed off how you can turn the detached Joy-Con sideways into a tiny, almost NES style controller, allowing multiple people to play on a single mobile screen.
The games themselves appear to be cartridge based, similar to a 3DS game. It’s a smart decision considering the mobile nature of the Switch, but I wonder what kind of black magic they had to use to get a game like Skyrim Remastered (shown in the video) onto those tiny carts. I’m also curious about what kind of storage the device itself will offer, with so many people switching to all digital in recent years I hope they offer a solution for gamers who prefer to go that route.
Speaking of the games, we caught quick glimpses of a few noteworthy titles. Mario Kart & Splatoon were shown but it’s not entirely clear if these are ports of the Wii U versions or if they’ll contain extra content. The previously mentioned Skyrim was an exciting surprise and signaled that Nintendo will have (hopefully) some improved 3rd party support and the brief appearance of a new 3D Mario game showed that there also brand new titles on the way. I love the idea of Nintendo’s mobile and console developers joining together to create games for a single device. If that happens there should be no shortage of amazing games to look forward to.
The best thing for me though about the Switch is that appears to be a return to form for Nintendo. Gone are the weird names and the confusing messaging. The Switch is a groundbreaking but also very simple concept. Great games with intuitive controls that you can play at home or away. I’m happy that they didn’t get caught up in the current pissing match between Sony and Microsoft over who has the most powerful machine. That’s not a fight they can (or need to) win. They seem content to stick to what they do best, make great games.
Nintendo promised more details including the exact release date (currently they are only saying March 2017) price, and specs will be coming soon. But from what we’ve seen so far I’m very confident that Nintendo has a great system in store for us. They’ve stripped away the unnecessary gimmicks and gotten back to basics. Amazing games that you can play where and how you want.