The Nintendo Switch debuted on October 20th with a proof of concept demonstrating the console’s primary selling point of being a portable home console, or a portable console you can use with your TV depending on who you ask. While not much information has been revealed yet, there are a few details that have been confirmed thus far with more to come. The combination tablet video game console raised some questions as to whether it was a portable console, a controller like the Wii U’s tablet controller, and the purpose that the dock played for it.
Nintendo clarified how the Nintendo Switch works, explaining that the Switch is the tablet itself. The hub merely serves as a charging station for the Switch, that also transmits your game to your television. It uses a kind of puzzling controller that comes in two pieces that can either be put together for one wireless controller when using the Nintendo Switch on the hub or for multiplayer, but the two pieces can be placed on each end of the Nintendo Switch for portable use. Nintendo has not confirmed whether the Switch has a touch screen like the Wii U tablet and all modern tablets, and it’s been confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will not be a dual screen console like the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.
The Switch is powered by nVidia graphics technology, one of the two leading GPU brands and the maker of the nVidia Shield, and is rumored to be roughly as powerful as the Playstation 4. The Nintendo Switch is cartridge based, meaning that instead of buying discs like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One you’ll be buying game cartridges like the Nintendo 3DS. The Switch, however, is not backwards compatible and does not work with any existing Nintendo physical media. Wii U games and Nintendo DS/3DS games will not work, though we can assume that at some point backwards compatibility will come into play, likely using Nintendo’s Virtual Console platform. The console has no announced Nintendo exclusives yet, but the trailer did show off a few games including ports/remasters of existing Nintendo franchises, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an NBA game and Skyrim. Bethesda’s clarification that Skyrim has not in fact been confirmed on the Switch may mean put a damper on people’s expectations, but at the same time they’re not suing Nintendo for using Skyrim for advertising purposes and therefore there may be a bit of truth to the trailer. Other developers confirmed to be collaborating with Nintendo include EA Games, Ubisoft, THQNordic and other major developers and publishers.
It’s rumored that the Nintendo Switch will launch at a lower price point to compete with other consoles, between $300 and $450 dollars. The release date may be anywhere from Holidays 2016 (which is not likely) to Summer of 2017. Hardware specs, beyond what nVidia has said are completely unknown. Peripherals, bundles, and other product skus like the Wii U vs. Wii U Deluxe have not been revealed. Battery life, perhaps the most important quality in this powerful portable console, is also unknown at this time.