Friday, January 13, 2017
Yesterday Nintendo held a big press conference where they finally divulged a few details on the upcoming Nintendo Switch. Here's the quick deets I was most interested in:
The Price is $299 and it launched March 3rd. You get 32 gigs of storage and you can upgrade that through standard SD cards. Games will be sold on memory cards the same they're been selling portable games for years. It has a USB-C charger and they say it gets anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours of battery life depending on the game. So honestly you can probably count on the 2.5 hour thing. For $299 you get the basic system which comes with the docking station and two joy-con controllers. If you want extra controllers or something that resembles a standard controller you're going to have to pay extra. You can use up to 8 joy-con controllers, no word on how many standard controllers you can use but I'm guessing at least 4. You can also wirelessly network 8 Switches together for old school lan like gaming.
The quiet kicker here is that on-line gaming will require a subscription service, something that's new for Nintendo. No price announced yet. Sounds very similar to the X-Box gold/silver subscriptions in that you can use it on-line for free but if you want to play games you have to pay. They'll be kicking in a free game from their virtual console every month to help ease the pain.
There was a lot of info on the new joy-con controllers. As some speculated they do have motion sensors in them and an infrared camera. They also have some sort of advanced accelerometer and rumble feature for more feedback when you're swinging the thing around like a goofball. Sounds like some games will use these features and some won't. You can probably count on all the Nintendo published games will take advantage of it and all the third party games will ignore it.
I didn't see anything on the price of games but it's been my experience with the WiiU that you're going to be paying $59.99 for all the new hotness. There's always some deals to be had out there but some Nintendo games retain value like crazy. Pretty sure Mario Party on the Wii still costs $49.00 at gamestop. Skyrim was confirmed as were the usual Nintendo staples like Mario, Zelda, Splatoon 2 and an upgraded Mario Kart 8. EA said a version of FIFA would be available and the fine folks at Sega said "we'll get back to you, but we're working on something". That seemed to capture the 3rd party support sentiment pretty well. It's getting versions of Rayman, Street Fighter II and Bomberman but it's not like they announced Call of Duty or Assassins Creed or anything. Without having to program for the extra screen like you have to with the WiiU I would expect 3rd party support to be better, but it's still Nintendo and I don't see it being 100% embraced by game makers.
So there you have it. On paper (and in youtube clips) this looks like a fun system. Yes it's going to be underpowered compared to the Xbox One or the PS4 but you can't play either of those on the bus. Nintendo is definitely pushing innovation and functionality over graphics and horsepower. You listen to old school gamers and they talk about how graphics aren't as important as gameplay and having fun, we'll good news Nintendo has a new system just for you. Hope you remember how to play 4 player split screen, no peaking at someone else's screen.