Following over a year’s worth of rumours, Nintendo have finally announced their newest console, the Nintendo Switch. Previously known by its codename NX, the console was revealed in a three-and-a-half-minute trailer released this afternoon.
The video confirms a number of leaks suggesting that the Switch would be a home- and portable-console hybrid. The console has the ability to be played on the move with a 720p, six-inch touchscreen display, but can also be docked into a hub for more performance when playing on a television. The new controller, named Joy-con, comprises three parts: asymmetric right and left modules which contain a joystick and number of buttons each, and a central section that includes grips.
The right and left modules are shown to have a number of uses when detached; not only can they be used as-is to form a Wiimote-and-Nunchuk-like combination, but they can be attached to the screen to form the full portable console or act as two individual controllers in their own right for multiplayer gaming.
For those who prefer more traditional controllers, Nintendo also revealed the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, the successor to the popular Wii and WiiU Pro Controllers.
Local, yet portable, multiplayer appears to be a prominent feature of the Switch. Not only does the console, by default, have two controllers with it wherever it goes, but two or more of the screens can also be used alongside each other for wireless play, allowing its multiplayer to function like that of a traditional handheld system such as the 3DS.
In this vein, Switch games will be distributed on portable, 3DS-like cartridges rather than optical discs like the WiiU, Xbox One or PS4. The final scene of the trailer shows what many will hope is a new emphasis for Nintendo: e-sports. Eight players dock their NX screens and pull out their Pro Controllers for a 4v4 match of Splatoon in a front of a roaring crowd. Though Nintendo has been previously known for heavily restricting e-sports on their consoles and IPs, they have made strides in recent years to embrace the scene. Nintendo and e-sports fans alike will hope that this is representative of continued progress on the issue.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the trailer, however, was the appearance of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, due to be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC later this month. Not only does this show that the Switch will have at least comparable power to Microsoft and Sony’s consoles, both whilst docked and on the move, but it represents a vital step in regaining the backing of third-party developers.
A lack of third-party support has been Nintendo’s Achilles heel for two decades now, but an announced list of nearly 50 third-party developers and publishers, including the likes of Bethesda (Fallout, Elder Scrolls), FromSoftware (Dark Souls, Bloodborne), Take-Two Interactive (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption) and Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones) alongside old staples like SEGA, Electronic Arts, Square Enix and Ubisoft is a promising sign of things to come.
All of this is positive for Nintendo, whose last home console, the WiiU, was judged to be a failure, due in no small part to inadequate marketing and a lacking game library at launch. This trailer is a positive step forwards in terms of marketing, and is far more reminiscent of the exciting campaign preceding the original Wii rather than the lacklustre one in support of the WiiU.
The console is due to be released in March 2017, and with speculation that it will launch with Triple-A titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim alongside a newly hinted-at Super Mario game, the Switch might just prove to be the revival that Nintendo needs.