Nintendo announced more details on the Switch this week, revealing pricing, release date, specifications, and games. They streamed a press conference style presentation Thursday night and had a Treehouse stream the following day.
Let’s get right down to the details.
Release Date & Price
Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
Notice that the console does NOT include the Joy-Con Charging Grip. The charge grip is a separate accessory that will cost $30.
Speaking of accessories, lets go down the list of what’s available at launch.
Pro Controller – $70
Joy-Con Set L/R – $80
Joy-Con Individual L/R – $50
Joy-Con Charge Grip – $30
Switch Dock Set (extra) – $90
Joy-Con Wheel (set of 2) – $15
That’s a lot of money for an extra set of Joy-Con controllers, not to mention a $70 pro controller that you will most likely want to have if you are playing any fighting game on this platform.
The Switch handheld is a 6.2 inch 720p multi-touch display.
The battery life of the display is 2.5 – 6 hours with a 3 hour recharge time. Nintendo specifically stated that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will run on battery for ~3 hours.
The console will come with a 32GB micro-SD card for storage and is capable of supporting SDXC cards up to 2TB in capacity.
Region-free. You can buy games from other regions and they can play just fine on any Switch system.
Dedicated share button on Joy-Cons and Pro controller. Captures screenshots and in the future, video. Shareable across social media platforms.
The Joy-Con controllers feature:
- IR Camera that can detect distance and shapes of objects (only Right Joy-Con)
- Amiibo detection (only Right Joy-Con)
- Strap accessory that provides better grip and shoulder button access
- HD Rumble – an improved rumble control that gives more precise feedback
The pro controller also includes HD Rumble, gyroscope/motion control support, and amiibo detection. One thing to note is that there are no analog triggers present on any controller.
The Nintendo Network is now going to be a paid service that will allow you to play multiplayer games online, similar to Xbox and Playstation, and will provide a monthly free game to its subscribers.
However, unlike its competition, you will not keep the free game after the month is over. You will then have to buy it in order to play it again. The monthly free games will be NES and SNES games.
Friend management and voice chat will be handled directly from smart devices (phones/tablets) via an official Nintendo app.
March 3rd (Launch)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- 1-2 Switch
- Super Bomberman R
- Skylanders Imaginators
- Just Dance 2017
- Fast RMX
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Disgaea 5 Complete
- Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Splatoon 2
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challenge
- EA Sports FIFA
- Sonic Mania
- I Am Setsuna
- Syberia 3
- NBA 2k
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- New Shin Megami Tensai
- Farming Simulator
- Dragon Quest X / XI
- Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2
- Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition
- New Suda51 title
- Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth +
- Fire Emblem Warriors
Here’s a handy image for some of the upcoming release dates:
Hmm. I honestly would not recommend anyone to buy a Switch at release. The launch lineup is pretty lackluster besides the juggernaut that is Zelda. It’s going to cost a lot more than $300 if you want another set of Joy-Cons and a charging station.
Speaking of the Joy-Cons, holding them individually sideways like a NES controller doesn’t look too comfortable. The problem stems from the size and the positioning of the analog stick and buttons.
Depending on which Joy-Con you are holding sideways, the analog or face buttons will be in the center of the controller which doesn’t look like it feels great. The extra Joy-Con attachment that clips to the side is supposed to provide extra grip and easier shoulder button presses, but I’m not completely sold on that until I get my hands on it.
There’s also so many buttons on the Joy-Con that when gripping both of them in each hand like a Wii Remote causes you to awkwardly press some of the buttons as you are holding them, granted they do nothing because the game knows how you are holding them.
The Joy-Cons also do not have a d-pad which, quite honestly, probably only affects fighting games. D-pads are most commonly used today like buttons, for selecting/switching items instead of movement. So this isn’t really a big issue. On the other hand, no analog triggers seems like an oversight. I don’t play many racing games but isn’t this pretty important? Do they want 3rd party racing titles on their platform?
The price of the accessories seem a bit high and ,although it might be for a good reason, are driving me away from purchasing them. There is a lot of tech inside the controllers with HD Rumble, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and IR sensors which is probably causing the price to be what it is. However, I wonder why the separate Left and Right Joy-Cons are the same price when the right one has more tech in it (IR and Amiibo sensor).
The network stuff is still baffling to me. I know Nintendo hasn’t had a good track record when it comes to online functionality, but I expected something better than this.
Maybe I’m being too quick to judge and I don’t fully understand how it works, but am I supposed to be using a Nintendo App on my smartphone in order to voice chat with someone? Why is this a good idea? Now I have to worry about my phone battery and maybe hooking up a headset to my phone in order to properly voice chat with my friends.
I hope the subscription program is priced appropriately (less than Xbox Live and PSN) because it doesn’t seem to have as much functionality as its competitors. You don’t even get to keep the monthly free game. Can they really not afford to hand out free NES/SNES games to subscribers? Come oooon…
1-2 Switch doesn’t look like a great set of mini-games that I would expect a Nintendo launch title to have. It’s not even included in the console and is priced at $50. Ouch. The mini-games are pretty dumb. Stuff like milking cows, eating sandwiches, sound-based ping pong, and a western style duel. None of this requires you to look at the screen. In fact, Nintendo really wants you to look into the other persons eyes when playing. You really don’t have to do this as each game is pretty much solely based on sound. The demos Nintendo showed off during their Treehouse event even had the players closing their eyes and staring off into the distance instead of looking at each other.
This game is also supposed to be a party game. Something that you will bring to a friends house or parties and play with a bunch of people. Except that since the games are mostly based off sound, you might not be able to hear anything while playing in a party setting. I don’t really get where Nintendo was going with this.
Zelda and Mario look fantastic but I don’t think I can recommend the Switch just yet without getting my hands on it. Nintendo seems to yet again be focusing on motion controls which isn’t what I wanted from a new platform.
Apparently there will be more announcements leading up to the launch on March 3rd.
*I haven’t personally had any hands-on time with the Nintendo Switch. All opinions are based on footage and other previews.*