Nintendo officially unboxing their fresh console-handheld hybrid reminds us of one thing: the system launches in nine days. It's really happening!
If you've been paying close attention to our Nintendo Switch coverage you'll realize the unboxing doesn't really tell us anything new. But it's still interesting to see the device out in the wild, and we do get to see the tablet and the JoyCons sized up in two different handsizes, giving use perspective on the actual size of the system itself.
Remember that the Nintendo Switch doesn't come with any games or actual game software pre-loaded onto it, so the $299 price just gets you the system by itself. The Switch comes with 25.9GB of usable storage memory, two JoyCon controllers, JoyCon straps, a JoyCon Grip that doesn't charge the JoyCons, the Switch tablet "console," a dock that's required for TV Mode play, an HDMI cord, and an AC adapter for charging the Switch on-the-go and supplying power to the dock.
The Nintendo Switch will release on March 3, 2017 for $299. Check below for a massive catalog of everything we know about the console so far:
Up until now Square Enix and PlatinumGames have been pretty cagey about NieR: Automata's PC release. All mention of the PC port was scrubbed from multiple official game sites, leading many to question a delay or cancellation. Now we can confirm the PC port is indeed coming, and we know the reason behind the silence: the PS4 may have timed exclusivity.
In a recent gameplay video, Square Enix accidentally revealed that NieR: Automata's PC version will launch on March 10, 2017 on Steam. The game will launch first on PS4 and then three days later on PC. Shortly after the video went up, Square Enix yanked it and replaced it a revised video that scrubs out any mention of the PC port. See a side-by-side below.
So what's going on here? It appears Square Enix and PlatinumGames signed a deal with Sony to not discuss the PC port's release date until after the game has shipped on PS4. I long thought that this was a marketing deal, especially since scrubbing any mention of a competing platform from a site just reeks of an exclusivity deal.
The Nintendo Switch will launch with Dragon Quest Heroes I & II in Japan, and if you want to play it digitally you'll have to invest in expandable Micro SD cards: the game is literally too big to fit on the system's onboard storage.
Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid has a paltry 32GB of onboard NAND flash memory, which converts to 29.8GB, and 4GB of that is taken up by the Switch's OS. This leaves gamers with 25.9GB of memory that's actually available for game downloads, saves, screenshots and other content. Although most Switch games are small, if you plan to download your games digitally you'll want to make use of the Switch's supporting up to 2TB Micro SDXC cards and pick up some expandable memory.
But there's a particular launch game that will exceed the Switch's max available memory by 6.1GB: Square Enix's Dragon Quest Heroes dual-port. Nintendo's Japanese site confirms that Dragon Quest Heroes I & II will clock in at a massive 32GB on the Switch. As the name suggests, the game isn't just one game but two sizable hack-and-slash RPGs, so that's why it's so huge.
Platinum Games and Square Enix have been pretty cagey about Nier: Automata's PC release date and now we know why: piracy. The game likely won't release until an adequate DRM solution is found, and Square Enix may not go with Denuvo this time.
Nier: Automata's PS4 version is set to release in two days in Japan and March 7 in the West, but nor the publisher or devs have locked in a PC release date. The Steam port is still listed as "2017". In fact, any mention of the PC version is missing from the game's official North American site, the Japanese site, and even Platinum Games' official gamesite. This led many to believe the game may be cancelled on PC.
But Nier: Automata's game producer Yosuke Saito confirmed that the PC port is still happening. Saito goes on to say there may be a "slight delay" for the PC version until the team can find an adequate anti-piracy measure. Saito also wants to ensure the game runs smoothly on PC, claiming that "certain recent games" ran badly on the platform, and this isn't acceptable for Nier (Saito is likely talking about Mutants in Manhattan, which was locked to 30FPS on PC).
While gaming in handheld mode, Nintendo's new Switch console actually runs quite cool and only hits a max of 37C in demanding games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
While attending a Nintendo Switch event a Swedish gamer took some FLIR images of the system in handheld mode to see how hot the device gets. Considering the Switch can deliver dedicated on-the-go gaming, thermal heat mitigation is extremely important, and we're happy to report the device runs pretty cool. Thanks to recent teardowns we know the Switch is actively cooled by a fan system that works in tandem with an L-shaped heat sink, and, of course, the customized and highly efficient 20nm NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip.
Three games were shot with FLIR images: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which would be the more demanding of the three games, Snipperclips: Cut it Out Together!, and Splatoon 2. In all of these scenarios the Nintendo Switch was in handheld mode and being charged by a USB Type-C charger, so that means these temps could actually be cooler. Mario Kart 8 ran an average 25.2C and peaked at 37.6C; Snipperclips ran at about 24.3C on average and peaked at 35.7C; and Splatoon 2 hit an average temp of 21.2C and hit highest peak thermals of 35C.
Horizon Zero Dawn has been receiving some amazing compliments so far, and after Digital Foundry's analysis on the PlayStation exclusive, it looks like it's the best-looking PS4/PS4 Pro game to date.
The game maintains its 1080p resolution on the PS4, but the beefier PS4 Pro can run Horizon Zero Dawn at 4K - while performance, stays roughly the same. We're looking at a "near-locked and well-paced" 30FPS, with "very few drops below" 30FPS - with both of these drops in performance happening at the "same spots regardless of the console", which means we should see updates for Horizon Zero Dawn that will improve those dips in the near future.
Guerrilla Games harnessed the additional horsepower inside of the PS4 Pro to not only crank up the resolution to the non-native "checkerboard 4K presentation" - but the graphical detail is increased. There's higher antistrophic filtering and texture resolution on the PS4 Pro version of Horizon Zero Dawn. There will also be an update pushed out on day one for Horizon Zero Drawn that will offer a high-performance option.
The PS4 Pro version of Horizon Zero Dawn clearly looks better, with Digital Foundry providing some side-by-side comparisons of the PS4 and PS4 Pro versions.
A gamer recently bought a Nintendo Switch early and showed off the system's startup screens, revealing that the console-handheld hybrid only has approximately 25.9 GB of the advertised 32GB of onboard memory will be available for games, downloads, and screenshots.
The Nintendo Switch is supposed to come with 32GB of flash storage. However, as any tecchie will tell you, the advertised memory isn't what you actually get (and here's why).
Given that a 32GB flash drive will only actually have about 29.8 GB of usable space, we can assess the Nintendo Switch's customized operating system takes up about 4GB of space by default, leaving about ~26GB left over for gamers to use (29.8GB - 25.9GB = 3.9GB). To give you an idea of how much space this actually is let's say you plan to install Zelda: Breath of the Wild digitally on the Switch, which clocks in at 13.4GB. After installing that one game you'd have 12.5GB left over for other games--but fear not, Nintendo Switch games are rather minute!
GDC 2017 kicks off next week, with a big tease of Ghost Recon Wildlands and the terrain tools and technology video for the game.
The developer must be proud of its work into the terrain and landscapes of Wildlands, which do look absolutely amazing, and now we have a tease of what will come at GDC 2017. I'm going to be on the ground at the time, and have this session locked into my calendar.
Ghost Recon Wildlands will be released on March 7 for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
NVIDIA is expected to unveil their GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card during their event at GDC 2017 next week, but the GTX 1080 Ti has been teased... with Halo Wars 2.
Halo Wars 2 is coming soon, with Microsoft and developer THQ Nordic listing NVIDIA's unreleased and unannounced GeForce GTX 1080 Ti as the GPU of choice for Halo Wars 2's Ultra graphics requirements. We should expect NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti to be a slightly gimped Titan X, which is not a bad thing - 3328 CUDA cores, 12GB of GDDR5X, and 10.8TFLOPs of performance - enough for Ultra settings in Halo Wars 2.
Microsoft is going to shake up the console space later this year with the 4K-capable Project Scorpio console, the fastest Xbox ever made - but Microsoft seems to have moved away from making PC gaming the best gaming platform there is.
Over the years this has happened, even with the release of DX12 and Vulkan, we haven't seen giant technological leaps and bounds from our increasingly faster hardware. But, Xbox boss Phil Spencer talked about Microsoft's commitment to PC gaming heading into the future, something he touched on during the Halo Wars 2 launch party.
Spencer hinted at PC exclusive games that haven't been announced yet, as well as upcoming Xbox One exclusives that will be unveiled in the coming months. We have Crackdown 3 on the way, which should be a big hit when it launches in a few months.