NINTENDO’S NEXT CONSOLE is almost here. Nintendo Switch, previously codenamed NX and announced this morning, is on track to release in March 2017. When it’s out, your home and portable play will be combined into one unit: Switch is a tablet with detachable controllers that can dock with your TV, playing its games anywhere.
The hanafuda maker is still playing its hand close to its chest, however, only unveiling a short, three-minute concept video of the Switch, plus a little bit of information in follow-up press releases. Nintendo promises to unveil more information later, including lists of games, system specs, and the all-important price.
For now, here’s everything we know about Nintendo Switch.
It combines home and portable into a single unit.
You can play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on your big-screen TV at home, but why stop there? Pull the Switch out of the docking station next to your TV, and you can take that game on the go. This means more than just convenience: It means that Nintendo’s home and portable game libraries will now be combined into one single platform. No more having to support both the home Wii U and the portable 3DS with separate Mario Kart games—Nintendo can just create one game that’s played by everyone. And you don’t have to buy two pieces of Nintendo hardware to enjoy all the company’s games, anymore.
It has many different control options.
You’ll notice joysticks and buttons on the sides of the Switch. These will let you play Zelda when used in tandem. But you can also break those controllers off, like so many pieces of a Kit Kat bar, hand one to a friend, and play a round of competitive, portable Mario Kart anywhere you like. This will of course mean that each player’s control option is limited to one joystick and a handful of buttons. But many Nintendo games already control just fine with such a setup. You can also play local multiplayer games using two or more Switch consoles.
You also have the option of controlling a game with one controller in each hand, like playing an old-school Wii game with the remote and nunchuk attachment. These controllers are known as Joy-Cons, and you can put them into an accessory called the Joy-Con Grip to create a single controller that’s sort of shaped like a standard gamepad. And if you truly want a standard gamepad experience for hardcore gamin’, you can just buy the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
But the teaser trailer does leave some questions unanswered. Is the screen on the Switch a touch screen? We assume it must be, but we didn’t see anyone touching it. Do the Joy-Cons have motion sensors? I give that about a 50 percent chance, but again, we didn’t see it. Can you use the Joy-Cons to point and click at the TV screen, like a Wii remote? Not sure!