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Nintendo's NX Console Becomes Nintendo Switch

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 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.

  • captaincharisma
    this reminds me of SNK's Neo Geo X hybrid console but it was preloaded with games and no online capability so it wasn't great:

    http://www.trustedreviews.com/neo-geo-x-gold-review
    Reply
  • Dantte
    Tegra processor with a dedicated Pascal GPU in the dock... Nintendo may have the hardware performance lead on Xbox and PS4 Pro.

    On a side note, is that a dual HDMI connection on the side of the dock? If the Switch is going to have dual display support, Nintendo should just take my money now!
    Reply
  • wifiburger
    you know what, it looks too good to be practical i'm sure there's some flaw to their design

    both Microsoft / Sony didn't go with nvidia, so I'm not buying this garbage Nintendo hardware
    Reply
  • esco_sid
    I am not sure if that dock is anything more than just a port replicator/charger to connect it to the TV but i guess we will find out later on but if that's all it is this is basically a tablet with accessories which in my opinion would be a fail on Nintendo's part as tablet would probably have enough harwdare to only run games at 1080p at best and wont be able to compete with new consoles from sony/microsoft as far as GPU performance. But if their games are very good it might be appealing to casual gamers.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    18755110 said:
    Tegra processor with a dedicated Pascal GPU in the dock... Nintendo may have the hardware performance lead on Xbox and PS4 Pro.

    On a side note, is that a dual HDMI connection on the side of the dock? If the Switch is going to have dual display support, Nintendo should just take my money now!

    There isn't a dedicated GPU in the dock, all of the hardware is contained inside of the tablet. As far as we know at this time, the dock is just a connection hub basically.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    18755143 said:
    you know what, it looks too good to be practical i'm sure there's some flaw to their design

    both Microsoft / Sony didn't go with nvidia, so I'm not buying this garbage Nintendo hardware

    There isn't any reason to suspect the hardware is going to be garbage. Both Microsoft and Sony have used Nvidia GPUs before (original Xbox and Playstation 3). They just didn't this time, probably because they got a better deal from AMD. It also might be they opted to use AMD so they didn't have to make separate deals with Nvidia and a third company for the CPU. Nintendo on the other hand is probably going to use ARM processors inside of the Switch. They could use a different processor, but it is most likely ARM.
    Reply
  • why_wolf
    another huge question is battery life. Sure it's cool if it can play Skyrim on the go but not if it only lasts an hour.

    Really the only thing confirmed today is what the physical thing will look like, everything else is unknown.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    First, it's worth noting that hardware power has no influence on a console's marketability. Whenever Nintendo had the most powerful console on the market, it was the worst-selling. For instance, the Gamecube was much more powerful than the X-Box and PS2, but was a commercial failure. Conversely, whenever Nintendo had the least powerful console, it was the best-selling. The original Wii was severely behind the PS3 and 360 in terms of power, but outsold them massively. It's not hardware that sells consoles, it's games.

    And that's where the Wii U fell down. It completely alienated the third-party developers with its unconventional control system that even Nintendo themselves couldn't figure out how to implement properly. It was poorly marketed and confused customers more than excited them, and no third-party developer wanted to touch the thing, so it never had anywhere near enough games made for it to draw in a crowd.

    And that is what Nintendo seems to be attempting to fix here. The control scheme is perfectly ordinary. It's just two joysticks, some buttons, no touchscreen, no motion controls (not that they're demonstrating, anyway). Just straight-up ordinary controls. Finally. The Switch should have no problem getting ports from other systems and new third-party games altogether. And where there are games, there are players eager to spend money.

    There are still some unknowns to be discovered, like battery life. And how to replace the battery when it starts breaking down. But at the very least, even if battery life is awful, it can still function as an ordinary console just fine, even though that would be a bit disappointing.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    Also, this makes me wonder if all of the nVidia Shield stuff that's basically evaporated was just marketed research and development for what would become the Nintendo Switch SoC.
    Reply
  • iPanda
    I want to see specs. If it can't properly drive games at 60fps then I can't justify purchasing it.

    Already see how poor that looks with the current consoles.

    Most of the games do not appeal to me, so the cross-platform titles are out of the question (as they probably would run better on the other consoles).

    Does nintendo support the trend of mods on the console games?

    Are the controllers running bluetooth, wireless or a combination of the two?

    Will it include shadowplay? nvidia game stream?

    I guess it is pretty stacked against my usage. Definitely can't use it for media player (no blu-ray player). So this is especially for a cloud-based person.
    Reply