So I’m gonna do something that everyone else is doing: analyzing Nintendo’s newest console which was revealed a few hours ago. The only difference is that I have a piece of information that the big outlets don’t seem to have picked up on yet. But I’ll save that for last(And by the time I post this they may have picked it up and put an article out on it.).
First things first, we have to take a look at the console itself and its base accessories. Seen in the picture above are the three primary parts of the Switch: The Joy-Con control sticks attached to a controller hub, TV docking station, and the Switch device itself inserted into the dock. These three things are the core of the Switch ecosystem. You can play at home on your television or you can take it on the go for handheld play. When at home, you can use Joy-Con controller or you can use a new version of the Pro controller:
As noted by Kotaku already, the new pro controller has a layout reminiscent of both the GameCube controller and the Xbox controller with its diagonal analog sticks and diamond arranged face buttons. So if you don’t want to use the Joy-Con controller for at home play, this controller is for you. It’s also familiar for gamers used to other systems.
The Joy-Con controllers can be detached from their hub and slipped onto the Switch handheld device for when you’re on the go. However, they serve even more functions than that. The Switch handheld device has a kickstand so you can set it on a stable surface and play hands free. Though, when I say hands free what I mean is that you don’t have to hold the device, you only need to detach the controllers and either a) reinsert them into the hub to make a controller, or B) Hand one stick to a friend and play multiplayer on the device, sort of like back in the days of the NES and SNES when controllers were just small bars with a few buttons. And while it wasn’t show in the trailer, rumors stated that these Joy-Con controllers also function as motion controllers like the Wiimote and Nunchuk. That remains nothing more than a rumor, but something tells me that Nintendo wouldn’t be so quick to abandon motion controls even if the primary control input is now standard controls.
Now, no system would complete without games, and Nintendo seems to have lined up quite the third party backing in addition to their first party efforts. We have the obvious Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario titles coming to the Switch, and Splatoon and Mario Kart were also seen in the trailer, though whether they’re ports or entirely new titles remains to be seen. As far as third parties are concerned, we already have Just Dance, Sonic, and Dragon Quest confirmed for the Switch, and the trailer showed off Skyrim(More on that in a bit.) which means Nintendo is now more open to serious, mature experiences than they were before(Here’s to hoping their bad localization practices stop.). That’s a plus because their audience will expand beyond small children, young teens, and families in general. Now they can capture that hardcore audience that wants to play Nintendo games, but doesn’t see much of a reason to invest in another system just for Nintendo titles that don’t always peak their interest enough.
Platinum Games(Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising, Vanquish), Square Enix(Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Star Ocean, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Hitman), Spike Chunsoft(Danganronpa), From Software(Dark Souls, Armored Core), Activision(Call of Duty, Destiny), Warner Bros.(Mortal Kombat, Injustice), Atlus(Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, Etrian Odyssey), Bandai Namco(Gundam, Naruto, etc.), all of these big names mean great things for the Switch if they’re all on board this early. Hopefully that support will continue well into the consoles life cycle rather than dropping hard like it did for the Wii U.
This will be a briefer section considering what it’s about. The Switch utilizes cartridges like you would find on the 3DS, though likely with a much larger storage capacity. The Switch, whether it’s the handheld device or the docking station, does not appears to have a disc drive which means that it will not be backwards compatible with the Wii U physically. Obviously digital is another thing entirely, but for right now it looks like it is only backwards compatible with 3DS(possibly, don’t quote me on that.). This was likely a necessary move as the Switch is part handheld and the games need to be able to fit into the device and they need to be easy to take with you on the go. I don’t think I need to tell you how clunky carrying around a backpack full of discs would be. Cartridges mean smaller cases and, if you forego their regular cases in favor of a little pack that can hold multiple cartridges, you can take a ton of them with you without using up a massive amount of space.
And now we get to that little nugget of information I was telling you about. Nvidia, following the reveal of the Switch this morning, has announced their involvement in the development of the Nintendo Switch. The Switch is powered by a custom Tegra processor based on the Pascal architecture.