In a relatively surprise move, Nintendo has released some details about their upcoming next-gen console, which we now know will be called the Nintendo Switch. A modular system, it will of course provide in-home single & multiplayer gaming. However, it also appears that the Switch will allow gamers to continue playing their games anywhere, anytime, and with whomever they want.
The eponymous gaming giant also posted a video on their YouTube channel, which details the hybrid between an in-home console & a portable device. The Switch will also go back to Nintendo’s roots of using cartridge-based games, as opposed to the current industry standard of discs. In the video, a demonstration is shown of the core of the console being lifted from its home-based “Switch Dock” station, and controller accessories being used to play a Zelda game while the user is traveling. In addition to these features, it appears that a standard wireless controller can be used.
With this announcement there are going to be some questions we must ask.
What’s powering it?
**UPDATE** It will be running a custom Tegra processor
So, it looks like one of the obvious questions has been laid to rest is that it’s a hybrid gaming system that is not only portable but also connects to a television. From the trailer, not only do we see someone playing Zelda but also playing it on the go which raises a few questions. What processor is going to run this system? Also what about storage? Can gamers add storage or is it proprietary? Will it be powerful enough to possibly compete with the likes of the Xbox One and PS4 and if not, will the Switch have to worry about 3rd party support? Remember in the last 2 or 3 console iterations, Nintendo has not attempted to create powerful, beefy systems to keep up with their competitors. This has created a rift with 3rd party developers who chose not to have to make watered down games to fit Nintendo’s ecosystem. It’s safe to assume that before this game launches we will know all of the specs. By the way, since this game system is portable, what will the battery life be like?
What does this do to the Nintendo 3DS system?
This is the bigger question that comes to mind. Nintendo’s 3DS system is Nintendo’s money maker right now. Earlier this year forecasters stated that sales for the 3DS would be short this year. While numbers may have been up back in August, the question is when the Switch releases, will it spell the end of the 3DS? Until we know what the specs are, we can only ask how will the Switch work in tandem with the 3DS or will these systems work separately. It should make gamers wonder how they’ll reconcile having 2 portable systems. If the Switch catches on, will it push the 3DS further back in the pile?
What will be the price point and what games will be at launch?
**UPDATE** VentureBeat has some information on the games featured in the trailer but still no information about price point of games, the medium these games will be in or if they will be available at launch.
The answer to this question hinges upon the first two topics. Depending on what’s running the system, Will the cost be closer to the other 2 home competitors, the Xbox One and PS4 or will it be closer to the 3DS? This is where it gets tricky for the Switch. If it’s an under powered machine priced in the range of the other 2 consoles, then it’s the Wii U all over again. Gamers will not be so quick to forgive Nintendo with another console failure. On the other hand, if it’s priced competitively with the Nintendo 3DS, it may be a signal to some that Nintendo may be trying to replace the 3DS with this hardware. Even for gamers that already have a 3DS, will they be willing to have another handheld system made by the same company to keep up with? Only time will tell. Since we saw Zelda running in the trailer, gamers should ask if this will be a launch title? What will it be about and what other games will be available? Again, that will come about later but the Switch needs a strong line up at launch to bring the fans out.
So what other questions do you have about the Switch? What are you excited for? Tell us in the comments.