After months and months of speculation from the gaming industry, Nintendo has chosen to debut details of its next video game console online, rather than at a large industry press event.
The "Nintendo Switch" is the name the Japanese gaming giant has settled on for what was known as the "Nintendo NX" in industry circles. It's a hybrid of a portable console like Nintendo's successful line of 3DS systems and its last game console, the less-successful Nintendo Wii U, which had a tablet-like touch-screen controller.
Here's five things you should know about the Nintendo Switch:
1.It's all about "Joy-Con" detachable controllers and mobility
Nintendo is hoping that the Switch's most attractive feature will be its portability. Nintendo says, "By simply lifting Nintendo Switch from the dock, the system will instantly transition to portable mode, and the same great gaming experience that was being enjoyed at home now travels with you." What enables this is a set of detachable controllers called "Joy-Con" that clip into the sides of the screen. Nintendo says the controllers are versatile: one player can use two of them, the Joy-Con can be split so that two players can use a set or gamers can revert to a more traditional "Switch Pro Controller" instead.
2. Want one? You'll need to wait until March
There's no official release date, but Nintendo says March 2017 will be the release window for the Switch. That puts it right in line with South by Southwest 2017 and given Nintendo's participation in past festivals, we wouldn't be surprised if there's a big Nintendo Switch event in Austin around that time. No price has been announced, but given the competition, it wouldn't be surprising if it landed at about $400-$500.
3. Multiplayer gaming appears to be a big focus of the Switch
Judging from Nintendo's trailer, the Switch won't be a solitary gaming experience. A big hit from the Wii U, "Splatoon," is featured in the commercial and it shows multiple people playing together using different controllers, but with the same Switch console. Will Nintendo place a big bet on e-sports gaming in the future? You can bet on it.
4. Familiar faces and a few surprises in the games shown
Nintendo released no official list of titles for the Switch, but in the video trailer, we see a Mario game, a Zelda game ("Breath of the Wild," previously announced), some version of the game "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim," "Splatoon" and a version of "Mario Kart." Will these be backward-compatible versions of the Wii U titles or completely new iterations? That we don't yet know. The list of publisher partners for the Switch include Activision, Eletronic Arts, Telltale Games, Capcom, Bethesda, Konami, Ubisoft and many others, 48 in total.
5. There's another Austin connection
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