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Can Nintendo's $299 Switch Stand Against The PS4 And XB1?

At its press event in Tokyo, Nintendo gave us new details on pricing, games, and various modes of play for its upcoming Nintendo Switch. Although the console is certainly unique, its $299 price tag may be a hard sell.

Nintendo said that the system’s built-in battery should last between 2.5 to 6 hours depending on the game. It can also play games while charging over a USB Type-C cable. The Switch has 32GB of storage space built into the console itself, part of which is reserved for the system's OS. This can be expanded via microSDXC cards to hold additional games.

There is also different hardware built into the two Joy-Con controllers. The Right Joy-Con contains the system’s NFC chip as well as an IR camera that can detect the shape and distance of objects from the controller. The left Joy-Con has what Nintendo calls HD Rumble, which is a realistic vibration technology, and a button dedicated to taking screenshots.

The company also announced its new Joy-Con Strap accessory that will be available for the Switch upon its release. This is a wrist-strap for  the Joy-Con that also extends the L and R buttons on each controller.

The system is designed to be used in one of three different modes of play. Nintendo already introduced the TV and Handheld modes when it first announced the Switch, and the company has now informed us that the system can also be used laying flat in Tabletop mode.

Nintendo will also provide free online multiplayer gaming services for the Switch when it's released. This service will be free until this autumn, after which time the company will turn it into a subscription service.

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Although the Nintendo Switch is technically a home game console, the company is clearly focused on making the system equally well suited for mobile gaming. This was made clear by the Switch’s unique controller design. The company is also making a notable effort to encourage multiplayer games. The Switch can connect wirelessly to up to eight Switch devices for multiplayer games. This multiplayer network does not require a Wi-Fi connection. This could prove highly useful when you want to play with others in areas with a limited or non-existent internet connection.

The presentation also included the announcement of several new games coming for the Switch. This includes a new Mario game called Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. There is also a fighting game called ARMS that takes advantage of the system’s motion controllers to box your opponent until they are knocked out. Another game called 1-2-Switch literally has players face each other in an old-west-style showdown.

Nintendo said that there were over 80 games currently in development for the system, but not all of these will be available at launch. To help increase the library of games for Switch owners around the world, Nintendo opted not to implement any sort of region lock.

Nintendo plans to release the switch on March 3, 2017 for $299.99. There will be two configurations available at that time: one that is solid black and one that is black but with neon red and neon blue Joy-Cons. Each Switch will come with the Switch Dock, a left and right Joy-Con, two Joy-Con Straps, the Joy Con Grip, a power cable, and an HDMI cable.

With a $299 MSRP, however, we have to question how well the system will fare against the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Although these other consoles are older, both can often be purchased for around $250, and they have a much larger library of games. This could be an early sign that the Switch will struggle, much like its predecessor, the Wii U.

New Nintendo Switch Games
GameRelease Date
1-2-SwitchMarch
ARMSSpring
AtlusN/A
Dragon Quest IN/A
Dragon Quest IIN/A
Dragon Quest XN/A
Dragon Quest XIN/A
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimN/A
Fire Emblem WarriorsN/A
Mario Kart 8 DeluxeApril
Snipperclips - Cut It Out, Together!March
Splatoon 2Summer
Super Mario Odyssey2017 Holiday Season
Xenoblade 2N/A