Editorial by Dungeonbuster

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch Reveal

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch Reveal

The Nintendo Switch was revealed on Thursday confirming much of what the rumors said it might be – a hybrid device for both mobile and traditional gaming at home in the living room. Although the teaser put to rest a number of questions about the system, it also asked a lot more with the answers to those likely coming over the next few months now that everyone knows its name. But in case you missed the teaser, or are curious about the system, here's a very brief and general overview.


What is it?

It's Nintendo's newest home gaming system slated for release in March, 2017.


A home gaming system? So is it a console? Or a new portable?

It's actually both. The Nintendo Switch fulfills both roles thanks to a docking station that hooks up to a device like a TV allowing you to play its games on a much larger screen. Conversely, you can also undock the Switch and take it with you like a tablet with two Joy-Con controllers attached (and which can also be separated) along its sides. It's almost like a beefier version of the Wii U's tablet.


What multiplayer capabilities does it have?

Going by the video, it will function much like how Nintendo's 3DS does now -- wireless, local multiplayer. It will likely also support internet-based multiplayer as well.


I saw Skyrim on it. But it's a five year old game so I don't get what's so exciting.

Given the technical requirements for their flagship titles, and how relatively underpowered Nintendo systems have been since the Xbox days, it's not too much of a surprise that Bethesda's biggest games haven't made their way over to any of their systems in decades.


But showing off Skyrim was important for two big reasons. One, it shows that Bethesda is willing to step back into Nintendo's camp, a move that could also reflect Nintendo's successful campaigning behind the scenes to line up talent behind the hardware. It's not as if they haven't made stuff for a Nintendo system before, but Home Alone for the NES is a long way off from Morrowind or Oblivion.


In a relatively recent interview with Metro, Bethesda's Pete Hines indicated that the issues preventing their flagship titles from appearing on Nintendo's hardware have been technical ones. Rather than compromise their accepted level quality for their biggest titles, they simply chose not to go the Nintendo route. The Switch seems to have convinced them that it would be a good fit this time around.


Two, it's probably safe to guess that this was the remastered edition of Skyrim. Skyrim is five years old, but the remastered edition is pretty much an HD remake of the game and no slouch when it comes to hardware requirements. Skyrim is also crazy popular.


Okay, so is it more powerful than the Xbox One and the PS4?

This one is harder to answer since Nintendo hasn't released any hardware specifics yet. What we do know is that Nvidia updated their blog to proudly note a custom Tegra chip is behind the Switch. The Tegra is the same tech that is being used in their Shield tablets and portable game systems as well as being used in the automotive industry such as in self-driving vehicle tech.


The question on everyone's mind is what kind of Tegra is it. If it's a custom variant of Nvidia's X1, it could be technically more powerful than the PS3 and the 360 by a comfortable margin. Back in July, Eurogamer ran a story that pointed to the X1 as the possible chip of choice by Nintendo.


There is also a bit of speculation that it could be a newer Tegra customized and based on the Pascal architecture being used in their latest GTX 1070 and 1080 uber cards making it a bleeding edge piece of tech even if it's shaved down from its bigger siblings. We'll probably know more next year as Nintendo is keeping mum about those details according to Takashi Mochizuki , a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, following an interview with Nintendo's President, Tatsumi Kimishima.


So, not as powerful as the Xbox One or the PS4?

Again, that's hard to say without knowing the specifics. At the same time, Nintendo is more apt to focus more on the unique experiences that their platforms provided as opposed to chasing hardware specs.


How is the battery life?

No one knows yet.


Touchscreen support?

Nintendo's not saying at this point.


What games will it launch with?

Not certain, but Nintendo's marketing hit all the right buttons with the lineup shown during the teaser with a new Splatoon, the new open-world Zelda, and Mario Kart as contenders among others.


The Switch's press release section also has a long and impressive list of developers that have signed on to support it including Bethesda, Electronic Arts, FromSoftware, Platinum, Square Enix, Starbreeze, Telltale, and even Konami. Epic Games, via Twitter, also confirmed Unreal Engine 4 support for the Nintendo Switch.


However, ultimately, this is also another piece of info that Nintendo apparently won't be talking about (again according to the Wall Street Journal's, Takashi Mochizuki) along with whether or not the system will be region locked.


I have a lot of Amiibos...

And if a Nintendo Switch game supports it, so will the system


How much will it cost?

No one knows this, either, but traditionally, Nintendo has pushed to keep the price of their systems relatively affordable. Michael Pachter, the financial analyst at Wedbush Securities who has often chimed in on the video game industry, tweeted that he expects to see the system priced at $200 - $250 which includes the dock and an extra controller. If it can hit that, he believes it could be “likely a big success”.


Is it really using cartridges?

Well, not the big grey kind albeit something close. It's likely using the Game Card format that its handheld systems (like the 3DS) have been using, although custom made for the Switch as seen in the teaser.


Will it be backwards compatible?

Famitsu asked Nintendo about this and the answer was that it “would not be compatible with Wii U discs” (the teaser did not show an optical disc drive). Nintendo apparently also confirmed to Famitsu that 3DS Game Cards won't work in it, either. Perhaps down the line, there may be peripheral like an external drive to allow some degree of compatibility but it's too early to tell.


So are you excited?

The Switch is a far more aggressive change from their traditional split of handheld vs. living room. The impact on their handheld line plus the usual hype of a new Nintendo system can be intoxicating topics of debate. It's hard not to get caught up in the very idea that Nintendo is rolling out something new and seeing it now can be as fun as their games.


The reaction on Wall Street was a bit different. Nintendo's shares are still largely buoyed by the Pokemon effect of Pokemon Go with ADR shares holding steady in the low $30s. They perked up on Thursday by about 2.45% peaking at $32.83 before falling nearly 7%, hitting a low of $30.33, on Friday, as investors woke up the next day apparently feeling less than impressed by the device. Nvidia's shares also perked up by nearly 2% to a high of $67.95 on Thursday before falling as low as $67.08 on Friday.


I'm excited to see where Nintendo will take this but it really comes down to the games, a point that, a little over thirty years ago, Nintendo's Hiroshi Yamauchi obsessed over with the Famicom (and, depending on who you talk to, was a huge reason for Nintendo's strict control of what games could appear on their system during that era). Where we go from here is all Nintendo.




Dungeonbuster quests to discover old games and new, sometimes writing about them when not being devoured by a grue or in space hiding behind an asteroid. You can follow him @Dungeonbuster on Twitter.

Editorial by - 10/23/2016 4:43 PM433 views

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Comments

DarkTetsuya
DarkTetsuya
10/23/2016 5:05 PM

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I'd heard the portable unit's battery life was only three hours ... but I really hope that isn't the case, or just a prototype thing, or something.

I'm definitely extremely excited for this new system, I really like just how versatile it is! although I was discussing this with my s/o last night, I think she was concerned about losing the tiny controllers.

But I'd be willing to bet some third party company is already thinking about a carrying case for the handheld so you could pack all your controllers/games/other accessories and the system.
Dungeonbuster
Dungeonbuster
10/23/2016 9:23 PM

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Reply
I hear that! I'm sure a lot of third-party companies are already planning things around the Switch in anticipation. I've also read people already joking about losing the Joy-Cons on a trip somewhere because of how small they seem.

I also read a few guesses about the battery life. IIRC, the Tegra Shield tablet can have a pretty awful battery life depending on the settings you play your games at making it fall into that range you mentioned, so they might be thinking about that. I have a feeling it won't be super great, but I'm also hoping it won't be terrible, either. I guess we'll see!
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