Nintendo finally revealed the hybrid game console previously known as the NX with a new trailer that shows off its design, planned games, and official name: Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Switch Console Design
The Nintendo Switch consists of several individual pieces, including a display, two detachable controllers, and a docking station. The display portion of the system appears to be the most important, as it allows the Switch to be used as a portable game console.
The two detachable controllers each look like half of a typical gamepad. They attach to either side of the display when it’s used as a handheld gaming device, and they can also be connected to the skeleton of a more traditional game controller when the Nintendo Switch is used as a home console.
Nintendo built a stand into the display that allows it to be propped up on a table, counter, or other flat surface. When the console is set up thusly, the detachable controllers can be used wirelessly, allowing for a more comfortable gaming experience and multiplayer games to be played on a single display. Although some games will likely require one player to use both controllers, the trailer also showed two people using one detachable controller each.
These features will make it easier for people to play games with their friends while they’re on the go. Unlike many other handheld game systems, The Switch doesn’t require anyone to purchase a second controller, bring their own system, or rely on a network connection -- everything is included in one device. This might not be the case for gaming on the big screen, however, as the trailer shows a more traditional game controller that might have to be purchased separately.
In the trailer, that separate controller was used when the Nintendo Switch was connected to a television set via its docking station. The station appears to be used to charge the console, too, and to allow multiple controllers to be used for multiplayer games.
Hardware & Software
Following the launch of the Nintendo trailer, Nvidia announced (opens in new tab) that the Switch uses a Tegra processor designed exclusively for the console. We weren’t given exact details on core count, but Nvidia implied that the Switch’s GPU is based on the Pascal architecture. The GPU is also reinforced by a revamped physics engine, new code libraries, and specialized game tools. The system also uses a new API codenamed "NVN."
“The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance,” wrote Nvidia. "The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses.”
Nvidia also said that the SoC has enhanced hardware for accelerating video playback and audio effects.
We also got a peek at some software titles that will run on the Switch. In addition to supporting the upcoming Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the trailer also showed the Switch running a game that looks like the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mario Kart, an unnamed basketball game, and a new Mario title.
As a few of these are Wii U games, it appears that Nintendo may be porting its Wii U titles to the Nintendo Switch. If this is true, then the Switch could launch with a solid library of games.
Can The Switch Save Nintendo?
The Wii U has had lackluster sales since it was introduced four years ago, and many gamers have questioned whether or not Nintendo will be able to survive in the home game console market. Others have also questioned if Nintendo should turn its attention to producing games for other devices rather than its own.
Though the company has struggled in the home console market in recent years, it should be noted that sales of Nintendo’s handheld game systems have been strong. The company has sold more than 200 million Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS handhelds combined over the last several years, with software sales for these devices exceeding 1.2 billion units.
Given this information, it would be natural for Nintendo to focus its attention on the handheld market, but the Switch does more than that. Thanks to the docking station, the Switch is able to function just like a home game console, which may attract gamers that want a device for gaming at home and on the go.
Nintendo didn’t give us an update about the Nintendo Switch’s price or release date, but it is expected to be released sometime in March 2017.