Microsoft and Sony both announced upgrades to their gaming systems this year but Nintendo chose to release an entirely new console. It is a Frankenstein machine of sorts that combines elements of the traditional home console with a tablet. Say hello to the Switch, an evolution of the Wii U.
The name “Switch” perfectly suits the console. The central idea of Switch is the ability to easily switch between a fixed console setup and a portable setup. Nintendo is being very picky about details so we do not know much about the specifications or intricacies of the device. However, we do have a lot of details to talk about.
The Switch is essentially a tablet with a dock. We presume the tablet has most of the firepower built in and the dock has some extras to supplement it. In its basic setup, the Switch connects to your TV and comes with a controller – just like any generic console. The tablet can be removed from the dock to continue your game from the TV. Here’s where things get interesting. The Switch controller (which does not look very ergonomic by the way) can be dismantled on the fly and then attached to the tablet. This forms a Wii U game pad like form factor. We appreciate this ingenuity as full scale games NEED a proper controller and Nintendo has taken a leap to integrate this into a major commercial product.
With the controller attached to the tablet, you can resume whatever game you were playing on the go. Nintendo did not stop there with the ideas though. The first look video showcased a scenario where two players used each half of the controller to play Mario Kart on multiplayer thus indicating that they have wireless capabilities and can be used independently.
Our main concern with the Switch comes in the form of power and third party developer support. One must wonder how much hardware Nintendo was able to pack into a portable tablet. The first look video showed Skyrim being played on the tablet and we know that requires considerable processing power. Nvidia has also come forward saying that a version of their Tegra CPU powers the device. Still, we are unsure how to compare the raw capability of the Switch with mainstream consoles.
Nintendo has an excellent selection of titles developed under their own brand name but third party support has left more regular gamers wanting from the company. Nintendo released the names of some big companies who have pledged support to develop for the Switch but until we see any compelling modern day titles, we will reserve judgement.
The Nintendo Switch is truly a unique addition to the console race and comes with the promising ability to take full scale console games on the go. This portability does bring up the existence of the Nintendo 3DS, the best-selling mobile gaming device currently, and how the launch of the Switch will affect consumer demand. Would Nintendo even gamble to discontinue the 3DS in favor of a more versatile approach?
Only more details can quench the thirst of the gaming world. As it stands, Nintendo has been very quiet about details regarding the Switch and their plans for the future. We do not have a price yet but a March 2017 release date has been mentioned. Nevertheless, Nintendo has succeeded in drawing the attention of both the casual and hardcore gaming community and is looking to make a big splash soon.