Nintendo's new home console is almost here. Dubbed the Nintendo Switch, this hybrid game console is playable both at home on your TV, as well as on the go thanks to a portable design featuring detachable controllers and an on-board battery. Here's everything we know so far about the Big N's eye-catching new console, including its price, release date and launch lineup.
Price, Launch Date and Nintendo's New Online Network
The official launch date of the Nintendo Switch is March 3, 2017, and it will cost $299.99. In addition to the Switch, Nintendo will also debut its new Switch online service at launch. The service will be free initially, but will require a monthly subscription (at a price to be announced) starting sometime in the fall of 2017.
At launch, the Switch will come in two color schemes, one with the neon red and blue Joy-Cons, and one with two gray Joy-Cons. Aside from the difference in color, both versions will have the same specs and price.
Specs and Play Styles
Thanks to its innovative detachable Joy-Con controllers, the Switch will offer three different play styles: tabletop, handheld and traditional living room console mode.
After much speculation, Nintendo also confirmed that Switch will indeed have a 6.2-inch screen with capacitive touch and a 1280 x 720 resolution. The Switch will also feature a USB-C port for charging and video output, which is a pretty big deal since previous Nintendo system's have often opted for proprietary ports.
Unlike previous systems, the Switch will not feature a region lock, so owners will be free to buy games from any country without worry.
Joy-Cons: A Myriad of Ways to Play
The Switch's Joy-Con controllers are one of the most important features about the new console and a major way the Switch stands out from its competitors. The Joy-Cons can be connected to the Switch console when you're away from home and using the system as a handheld, or connected to a dock to transform into a more traditional controller when you're playing at home on the couch.
The right controller features an NFC reader, for use with Nintendo's Amiibos, while the left Joy-Con features a new share button for posting clips and images to social media. The Joy-Cons can operate together, or independently, each serving as a miniature controller thanks to additional buttons placed on the rail that normally connects the Joy-Cons to the Switch.
Both Joy-Cons have built-in gyrometers, accelerometers and unique rumble motors that Nintendo says will let you feel like you're holding a cup filled with ice cubes. Nintendo even says the rumble motor are so precise, users will be able to sense whether there are one or two ice cubes in that cup.
The Joy-Cons will also come in a variety of colors including neon blue and red, and like Wii-motes of old, they will come with wrist straps, too. Joy-Cons can also be purchased separately for $79.99, while the Joy-Con charging grip will cost $29.99.
Games: What We Know So Far
We already knew that the next Zelda game and a handful of third-party titles are coming to the Switch, but here is a full list of games and release dates confirmed for the Switch.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March 3, 2017) - This is clearly the headline game for the Switch and will feature Link in his biggest and more immersive adventure yet.
- Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017) - This is what you've been waiting for, a brand new full-length Mario game. Mario will visit unknown counties, and based on short clips from Nintendo, he will have new abilities including a hat throw, animal riding and more.
- 1,2 Switch (March 3, 2017) - A multiplayer quick-draw game that seeks to capitalize on the Joy-Cons various features.
- Arms (Spring 2017) - A new boxing game with active motion-based controls.
- Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)- The sequel to Nintendo's breakout first-person paint-spraying shooter.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Release Date TBA) - This is the follow up to Monolithsoft's open-world RPG and looks to carry on the franchise's signature playstyle and large, expansive landscapes.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28, 2017) - A enhanced version of Mario Kart 8 with new tracks and features for the Switch.
- Fire Emblem Warriors (release date: TBA) - Not much was shown about this game, but it has been confirmed that this will be the next game in the Fire Emblem series.
- Shovel Knight (Spring 2017) - A port of the existing game, but with additional campaigns and new characters.
- Skyrim - This one had long been rumored, but on Nintendo's official Switch livestream. Todd Howard himself confirmed that Bethesda's sprawling RPG will be getting a port for the Switch.
- EA Sports FIFA (Release Date TBA) - A soccer game built to fully take advantage of the Switch's unique features.
- Dragon Quest 10, Dragon Quest 11 and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 for the Nintendo Switch
There are also a number of upcoming untitled games from companies including Atlus, Square Enix and Suda 51.
If you're like most people, just watching Nintendo's livestream wasn't enough. Thankfully, Nintendo will be hosting six preview events over the next couple months where you can go test the Switch out for yourself. Here are the times and dates for each event. Just be careful, the events are first-come, first served, so make you get there bright and early.
Toronto - Sunday, January 29, 2017
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Hall A, 255
Doors open at 10 AM, lines will not begin forming until 7 AM.
Washington D.C. - Sunday, February 12, 2017
Location and time TBA
Chicago - Sunday, February 19, 2017
Location and time TBA
San Francisco - Sunday, February 26, 2017
Location and time TBA
Los Angeles - Sunday, March 5, 2017
Location and time TBA
For those planning to attend an upcoming gaming convention, Nintendo will also have the Switch available for demos during PAX South (Jan 27 to Jan 29), PAX East (March 10 to March 12) and SXSW (March 16 to March 18).
While it's a little disappointing that Super Mario Odyssey won't be ready at launch, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild available on day one and more than 80 other third-party companies already signed on to make games for the Switch, Nintendo's new console doesn't seem like it will lack for games. Then you add in the Switch's innovative controllers, adaptable hybrid design and the company's legendary first-party support, and the Switch could be well on its way to ushering in a new golden age for Nintendo.