by Ryan Cox `18
The long-awaited successor of Nintendo’s Wii U, codenamed NX and later named Switch, was formally previewed to the press and public in a live-streamed conference held Jan. 13. The new console boasts an impressively versatile design with the ability to function as a traditional home console, a handheld device, or a hybrid of the two , using a touchscreen tablet-like device as a sort of miniature monitor, and a traditional controller.
According to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, the Nintendo Switch is neither a tablet gaming system nor a handheld successor to the 3DS; rather, “it’s a home console you can take with you and play anywhere and with anyone.” Throughout the presentation, Nintendo executives reiterated that the 3DS is not being eclipsed by the Switch, and games for the company’s still-popular handheld console will continue to be released.
In an attempt to reconnect with hardcore gamers, Nintendo attempted to push the competitive aspect of the system and the more engaging quality of the Switch’s games. The hybrid nature of the Switch means that more powerful games can transfer to a handheld setting and may be attractive to hardcore gamers. However, Fils-Aime said, “I think that the initial consumer for Switch will be more young adults with disposable incomes, given the price points and the large library. In the end, we want people of all ages engaging with Mario and Zelda, and the content that’s available across both platforms.”
Most recently, Nintendo has attempted to remain relevant and present in the gaming industry by breaking with its apparent resistance to popular trends in gaming by releasing its first few mobile games, including Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run, and by releasing the NES Classic to cater to the trend of rebooting nostalgic cultural icons. The Switch presents an additional opportunity for the company to get ahead of its competitors: Microsoft, Sony, and the growing list of mobile-gaming developers.
The Nintendo Switch will be sold for $299 at release. The 6.2-inch touch screen tablet (roughly the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, for comparison) is the main unit for the system and uses cartridges rather than discs, alluding to the handheld aspect of the system. The “Joy-Con” controllers help convert the Switch into its different forms. The two halves slide into the tablet for handheld play, or can slide into an adapter that allows the two halves to work like a traditional controller.
According to Tech Crunch, the Nintendo Switch is “an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink console designed to learn from the mistakes of the Wii U while bringing together positive lessons from both it and its predecessors. The result is a system that can be played as both a sit-down living room console or a portable, if slightly unwieldy, system.” The Nintendo Switch will be released on March 3 nationwide, while pre-orders for the device are currently available.