Earlier this week, after much anticipation, Nintendo finally gave us a first look at their upcoming video game console. The once rumored “Nintendo NX” has officially been announced as the Nintendo Switch and the gaming community has had a lot to say about it. The reactions range from disappointed to optimism. For months leading up to Nintendo’s press conference the internet was ablaze with supposed Nintendo “NX” leaks and rumors. These rumors ranged from the unlikely to factual as we have found out after this weeks bombshell of information. Without getting to far into the politics and personal preferences of gamers we wanted to take a look at the new console and what we know about it as of the Nintendo press conference.
What we know:
One of the more prominent rumors was that Nintendo’s next system would be a true handheld and home console hybrid, which appears to be the case. Nintendo revealed that the console would include what appears to be a 7″ tablet style display, with controller attachments, and touch screen capabilities. The unique design of the console allows for the player to seamlessly transition from the comfort of their home to gaming on the go.
The conference also showed us that the console will indeed use a cartridge based format for games. Many people had speculated that with the release of Nintendo’s newest console they would be returning to cartridge based games. With today’s advances in technology, cartridges are now capable of holding dozens of gigabytes of data on a cartridge the size of your average postage stamp. This will allow Nintendo to have larger worlds, faster characters, and all around a more magical experience we have come to know and love from the gaming giant.
The video reveal is and was a lot to process, but one of the things we noticed in the video was a new “pro” style controller for the system. The last two home consoles released by Nintendo, players had the option of purchasing a pro controller. These controllers offer better control and all around a more universal controller styling. The Nintendo Switch Pro controller looks to be similar to its predecessors with a few changes made. The analog sticks for the controller seem to be inverted, similar to the Xbox 360 controllers. The controller also appears to have a matte finish on the paddles, leading one to believe a more textured grip as opposed to the gloss finish on Nintendo’s previous pro controllers.
There was much speculation as to whether or not the Nintendo Switch would play Nintendo 3ds games or not due to the fact it uses cartridge based games. Nintendo has since put that speculation to rest and announced that the Nintendo Switch will not support 3ds game cartridges.
What we can Expect:
First impressions on the Nintendo Switch have left a lot up to the imagination. It is often difficult to compile information on a new system once it is announced, and most cases we are left desperately waiting for more news from Nintendo. While this is still the case for the Nintendo Switch, the information given has led us to a few expectations.
Firstly, Nintendo has stated multiple times, and stands by the original release window of March 2017. As of writing this article there is no pre-order available through retailers. While there is some concern on Nintendo’s ability to meet their own deadline, as well as demand, this would not be the first time Nintendo has had a console reveal so close to scheduled release. In the past Nintendo has had a habit of revealing new hardware with some times as little as months before its release date, like the Wii U having its release date of December 2012 announced in September of the same year. There is no surefire way of telling whether or not there will be any delays seen in the release of the Nintendo Switch, but with Nintendo’s track record, its unlikely we will see a delay.
What is arguably the most important piece of information released thus far is the list of developers working on titles for the Nintendo Switch. One of the most common faults attributed to the Nintendo Wii U was the lack of third party support. When there are no developers willing to work on games for your system, it becomes hard to market and sell you console. The list of confirmed developers for the Nintendo Switch is borderline staggering. The list includes video game giants like Bethesda, Atlus, Capcom, Square-Enix, Bandai Namco, Fromsoftware, Konami, NIS, and many many more. These developers are collectively responsible for some of the most ground breaking and critically acclaimed games of the last few decades. With third party support from this super group of developers the Nintendo Switch will have no foreseen shortage of titles.
Nintendo has always seemed to have an infatuation with peripheral device’s for their consoles. From the Pokewalker on the DS, Amiibos on the Wii U, even down to the AR cards for the Gameboy Advance, Nintendo is always trying something new. Although there are none confirmed as of writing this article, one can only assume we will see any number of peripheral devices to bring more depth to the experience.
What we still want to know:
Now that the veil has been removed and we finally got our look at the next Nintendo console, we are still left with a few questions. The video released by Nintendo showed a number of features and game play samples without going into a whole lot of detail, leaving the internet and consumers to speculate and formulate possibilities of their own. While most of these are still entirely speculation, its still nice to see what the community gets right and wrong after release.
We touched on this point previously, but lack of third party support was one of the faults people found in Nintendo’s Wii U. With the video release we saw gameplay clips from developers, but the biggest one seen was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Skyrim is notorious for being a larger game that requires not only a significant amount of processing power, but adequate storage space. The fact that Nintendo’s new console is capable of running Skyrim is enough to celebrate, but the fact that it is able to accomplish such a feat on a portable display is almost to good to be true. There is currently no word on whether or not the game shown was Skyrim or its HD remaster, slated for release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC later this year. The idea of the Nintendo Switch being able to run the latter of the two is almost hard to imagine, but we would still like to know what other games we have yet to see or hear anything about from other developers.
When marketing a tablet or portable electronic device, a key point to accentuate or mention is battery life of the device. With one of the core features on this new system being portability the community is curious as to how long they will be able to game on the go. A few other specs were not mentioned during the conference as well such as mobile network options, controller compatibility, online play, backwards compatibility, and other key specs most users look at when deciding on a new console. At this point in time all we can do is wait for more information as it comes.
Whether you are a fan of Nintendo or not, you can not deny the impact they have made on not just the video game community but pop culture as a whole. From the golden cartridge era, to the underappreciated newer consoles, Nintendo has always found a way into our homes and hearts. But with their last two home consoles widely regarded as failures or unsatisfactory I think it is nice to see Nintendo taking such a huge step in the hardware department. We don’t know a whole lot of information at this point but what we have been told is definitely a step in the right direction. The design and creativity behind the console leaves the door wide open for the future of how gaming hardware will be designed, as well as approached. The amount of third party developers already working with or suggested to be working on Nintendo Switch software makes its potential library at least on par with the other major home consoles, and opening the possibility for even more.
While the firestorm of speculation and rumors rages on, one thing is for sure though, come March of 2017 we will all get to make our own decisions about the Nintendo Switch!
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