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.

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.

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New Nintendo Switch Games
GameRelease Date
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
Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • blackmagnum
    Nice, try Nintendo, but the price! Next!
  • hotroderx
    That price is way to high for a premium niche product. I don't understand why they didn't create a Wii Successor! Not Wii U a Wii... that had the horsepower of a PS4/Xbox One... combined with motion controls and Optional VR headset!. Seriously that would have been worth the price of entry! special if it was around the 299 mark. It give people VR like they want! It also allow them to have motion controls inside a more limited space. Instead we end up with a over price thing! I call it a thing cause I really don't think it knows what it is! At 299 the only people its going to sell too are people looking for exclusives such as Mario, Zelda, and Metroid.
  • Decends
    It's already bad enough you are using outdated hardware from 2014! Now you want to charge $300 for it to? Hahahahahahah, NO. I rather just buy a Nvidia Shield TV. And if you try to make any pokemon (trainer, mystery dungeon, ranger) games exclusive to the Switch and not available on 3DS. That is where you will get the middle finger to your entire company from me and i'm sure A LOT of other people as well.
  • Yes, the Switch can stand against the Xbox One and PS4, because it's mobile. With that price? Not so sure, but the 3DS had a similar price, which didn't take very long to drop sharply.
    The real question is: can it stand against smartphones? I mean, it definitely offers a better gaming experience than any smartphone, but how many people will carry around both a Switch and a smartphone? I know I will, but most people aren't like me.
  • uglyduckling81
    Not sure there are many people willing to spend US$300 for a portable gaming device with 2 hours of battery life.
    Nintendo should probably just turn themselves into a Gameboy and game dev company.
    Release their games on all the other platforms and make a bucket load of cash.
    Their consoles have been garbage since the N64.
  • ern88
    Look up AMD Discovery tablet on YouTube and tell me Nintendo didn't steal the idea from them for the Switch!!!
  • blackbit75
    The USB port is blue. Blue Usb ports use to be 3.0
    Comparing the autonomy of a 5 year old device 3DS XL it is not fair.
    Despite being a fan of Nintendo since Nintendo 64 to Nintendo Wii, with Nintendo 3DS, I don't see success gaining market over previous years with this device. I hope being wrong, since I love their software too. A shame now I don't own any Nintendo device currently. I gave my Wii as a present for a place with children with problems, since I didn't use it. Now I would love to play Zelda Ocarina of Time + Expansion, Windwalker, Twighlight, ...
  • coondawg
    "I don't understand why they didn't create a Wii Successor! Not Wii U a Wii... that had the horsepower of a PS4/Xbox One... combined with motion controls and Optional VR headset!"

    Pretty sure there's a rule at Nintendo strictly forbidding anyone from mentioning VR ever again. I would not expect Nintendo to go this route any time soon, if ever.
  • CaedenV
    Ya... I was hoping to get this console, but nope. Price aside, this is just not a good console.

    1) Too many parts. I mean seriously, you have the console, a dock, 2 'joy-cons', 2 joy-con bumpers, cartridges (seriously?), and a power adapter (shared between the dock and the console, so it is going to get moved). Too many moving parts to get lost or damaged... it just screams poor design.

    2) No games. I mean, this is nothing new. I still play soooo many old NES, SNES, and GC games on my PC. And no, it is not some odd sense of nostalgia because I didn't have these consoles growing up (It was all about PS and PS2!). I discovered them as an adult, and they are genuinely fun to play, so I play them. With so many great games I decided to try the Wii... and Zelda was OK, but not fantastic, and I got lots of mileage out of Mario Cart racing... and that was about it. But at least at $20-40 a pop we tried several titles out and I feel like we got our money out of the system.
    Now we look at this new console, and... there is a fantastic looking Zelda game... and that's about it. Seriously? This is the company that made Punch Out, Paper Mario, MarioRPG, Metroid, and so many other fantastic games, and we get one now, and a horrible looking Mario game in the fall?

    3) Price/Performance/what everyone else is saying. While a secondary concern, the price is just wrong on this thing. Xbox One and PS4 are both more powerful consoles that can do more, have a larger game library, and look better on screen, and they are both under $300. $100 for a 2nd controller? Seriously? $80 for the pair of joy-cons, plus $20 for a hunk of plastic to put between them is outrageous! $60 games? for THOSE games? Sure, I'll drop an easy $60+ for Zelda... but the rest of those games look terrible. As a PC gamer who typically pays $10-30 for games this seems insane.

    That said, I now have kids, and a nintendo console may be a great way for them to be introduced to gaming... but the more I look at this thing, the more I wish it was a Wii2. Parents want a traditional console that we can monitor on the TV, with games that are 'safe' to play, and with simple controls that we don't have to constantly step in with to help... and if the parent's can have some fun with it too then great! But no, this has lots of parts, several more 'mature' titles coming to it, complicated controllers... this thing is a mess not aimed at me, or my kids. Nintendo done messed up big this time. I just hope there is some other way for me to play 'breath of the wild' before it all becomes vaporware.
  • Gilles_2
    in europe preorder are at 329 euro on amazon, couple of joycon to play with a friend cost 80 euro,...
    Nintendo is totally killing its console before the launch, they could just have called it Wii U 2 since the destiny is the same