This evening through a worldwide press conference, Nintendo dropped firm details on their new home/portable console, the Nintendo Switch. Well, as firm of details as Nintendo was comfortable with revealing at this time, which equates to very little.
We now know the system will launch in North America and Japan on March 3rd for the U.S price of $299.99 MSRP. No specific running spec details were given during the presentation, but as media gets hands on with the system tomorrow more should be known. Here’s what we do know.
First party games are coming:
- 1-2 Switch
- Super Mario Odyssey (Fall 2017)
- Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March 3, 2017)
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 2017)
Third and Second party support was talked about but not shown as much as it could have been. Here’s the games we do know :
- LEGO City Undercover
- Dragonball Xenoverse 2 (TBD)
- Fire Emblem Warriors
- Xenoblade 2 (TBD)
- No More Heroes (TBD)
- Sonic Mania (TBD)
- Super Bomerman R (TBD)
- Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (TBD)
- Dragon Quest X & XII
- Dragon Quest Heroes I & II (April 28)
- FIFA (TBD)
- Minecraft (TBD)
- Minecraft Story Mode (telltale games) (TBD)
- Rayman Legends (TBD)
- Puyo Puyo Tetris (TBD)
- Steep (TBD)
- NBA2K18 (TBD)
- Just Dance Unlimted (March 3, 2017)
- Skylanders Imaginators (March)
Here’s the rest of the information that we know:
- The system’s retail unit will come with Switch system, dock to connect to TV, left & right Joy Con controllers, Joy-pad controller, AC adapter, and HDMI cable.
- 32GB of internal memory and expandable through SD memory cards.
- Battery life for the system’s portable mode ranges from 2.5-6.5 hrs depending on the game.
- Additional accessories are priced at the following Pro Controller $69.99, extra Joy Con set $79.99, Switch dock set $89.99, Joy-Con charging grip $29.99
- Software is all “region free” meaning if you buy a Japanese game not released in the US, it will be playable on your good old American Switch.
- Amibo support via Joy-con. Your toys still work!
- Nintendo’s online service will be launching in the Fall for a currently undisclosed fee. You will get access to a free NES/SNES virtual console game every month as part of what subscribers get along with online chat and more to be announced.
So now let’s talk about what we saw. Nintendo Switch was something I had high hopes for and after what we just saw, I’m left asking myself do I really want the system right now? It’s not through any fault of the product. Everything we saw about it looks interesting. Being able to fly on a plane and play a full Legend of Zelda game; I’m all about that. The way this thing was presented to the worldwide audience via Japan made it sound as though the people at the head of this company either don’t know what they have or how to be salesmen. While they hid a lot of spec details and additional pricing costs, Nintendo also didn’t do a good job of regionalizing the powerpoints, talking about the games, or selling to the audience outside of Japan. There’s just no sizzle in what we saw. While it wasn’t the 3 Mile Island that the Xbox One announcement event was, it was still pretty bad.
There’s still questions about availablity post-launch, servicing a product with soo many parts to it, and how long 3DS will be supported once Switch launches?
Of course fans with the rose tinted Nintendo glasses are going to sell out pre-orders (Walmart just sold out as I type this) but what about the long term health of Switch in a competitive marketplace. Something third party support is vital to ensuring. Everything announced from EA, KT, Bethesda, and Square Enix are ports of games that have been around for a long time. Does this thing have the power to appeal to an audience that wants comparable experiences to what you get on PC or current console? Elder Scrolls Skyrim was not announced as HD which might be an indication of its limitations. While Nintendo has always relied on addictive gameplay over raw power; it’s a philosophy not many 3rd party developers are willing to invest money building unique experiences if the install base isn’t there early on, beyond the Nintendo fan segment of the market.
The $299.99 system price point is on the high end of what was anticipated. Certainly not unreasonable for the proposition Nintendo put forth. However, as comic book fans you know there’s always a tie-in to the event. Switch has quite a few that will no doubt dig into our wallets. First there’s Nintendo adopting the online service model of Xbox and PlayStation. It’s going to take a lot for Nintendo to win over consumers if they’re charging for the same anciend online infrastructure Wii and Wii U ran. They need to show they understand how to give people value for a service they previously gave freely. Social gamers wanting to play 4-player games via one console are looking at an additional 90 bucks for those fist-sized controllers. SD memory to expand your system won’t be too bad but a good memory card with proper write/read speed is at least another $30. Then the games themselves come into play. Not having a vast launch line up on day one is certainly going to help this but anyone interested in another port of Skyrim or LEGO games is in for a rude awakening once you see Amazon has them listed for $59.99. That’s insane!
Nintendo also announced a Master Edition for Breath of Wild which comes with all the stuff you see below. It looks incredible and for $129.99 would definitely be one of the rare special edition anythings I’d pick up. Think about $129.99 on top of the $299.99 you’ll be spending on the system itself.
Personally, I really want Nintendo Switch to be good. Having strong Nintendo hardware gives the company leverage to challenge competitor pricing; something potentially good for the consumer. When the Wii was at its peak there were times which new games would often be $10 less on the system than PS3 or Xbox 360.
Once that Mario game comes out, yeah, I’ll probably buy it. So far Nintendo hasn’t given me a reason to keep hitting F5 on the Amazon pre-order page, but they still have two months to straighten out the jumble of a message delivered tonight.
For now I’ll leave you with this:
UPDATE: As of 11:45pm, the Switch is available for pre-order at Gamestop.com and Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com, while Amazon has it listed but has not gone live yet.