Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid is about a core concept: being able to take the system anywhere on-the-go and being able to play with anyone you meet.
The Nintendo Switch is a revolutionary system. It combines multiple facets of gaming--mobile, handheld and console gaming--together in a tightly scaled ecosystem that easily swaps between multiple form factors. It can be taken on-the-go as a handheld, or docked in TV Mode for traditional console play. But it also does something more, something that will make it a sure-fire success: the Switch's detachable controllers make it a portable two-player arcade machine, essentially making it more accessible than most products out there today.
In the past, gamers could only play together on Nintendo's handheld hardware by swapping said hardware or if two players both owned the systems. The Switch changes all that; gamers can detach the JoyCons and hand one to a friend in Tabletop Mode. According to Nintendo director Shinya Takahashi, this is the main core concept of the Switch: "We have walked many roads and really struggled before coming up with the concept," he said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. "We looked back at what Nintendo has done, and when you think about it, it's really been an amusement provider." As WSJ's Takahashi Mochizuki puts it: "The Switch's concept of playing games anywhere with anyone was born."
Valve co-founder and current bigwig Gabe Newell (GabeN) will be holding an official Ask Me Anything session on The GabeN Subreddit tomorrow at 3PM PST/ 6PM EST.
GabeN may address the recent interview with an anonymous Valve employee that declared "Half-Life 3 is dead and never existed".
I'm sure Gabe will be absolutely flooded with questions about Half-Life and whether or not Valve is still a games developer or not, but that doesn't mean we'll get official answers. All we know is that Gabe will indeed show up, it'll really be him, and he'll answer a few questions. With any luck, we'll drop some huge bombs on the PC gaming community...but don't be surprised if he avoids 99% of Half-Life 3 questions.
The Nintendo Switch's included JoyCon Grip accessory recharge your JoyCon controllers--you'll have to shell out another $30 for that extra bit of convenience. This poses some problems for console-owners, and will lead to interrupted play in TV Mode--and here's why.
Nintendo's new Switch console has two different kinds of JoyCon Grip accessories: the stock JoyCon Grip that comes in the box with the Switch that doesn't recharge your JoyPads, and the JoyCon Charging Grip, a $30 peripheral that recharges the JoyCon Grips as you play. Eurogamer reports that the basic JoyCon Grip that comes with the Switch won't have an internal battery nor a USB Type-C port to recharge your JoyCons, and we've corroborated that information via the official Nintendo Switch Fact Sheet that I've included below.
The included base JoyCon Grip only combines the JoyCons into a single controller to facilitate TV Mode play--it does not recharge the individual controllers. Now the stock JoyCon Grip does indicate battery power life, but it has no internal battery to allow recharging.
Nintendo's brand new Switch handheld-console hybrid will launch on March 3 with only 11 games, and half of them are Japanese. Is this enough games? Why aren't there more? We put this launch line up into perspective, and talk about why people are upset--but more importantly, we discuss what the Switch actually is and why it's launching with these specific games.
Like the PS4 and Xbox One before them, the Nintendo Switch's launch games are rather...sparse. But the Switch has major advantages those consoles didn't have--unique, innovative hardware, and games that fully leverage said hardware. But gamers are upset, and rightly so: a huge portion of the rumored games just didn't make an appearance at Nintendo's reveal event...but was that Nintendo's fault, or our own for believing the console would launch with Smash 4, Mother 3 VC, Gamecube Virtual Console support, and a new Monster Hunter game?
Still, though, I can see the points of certain arguments. Although the Switch is region free and can play Japanese games, the lineup is still rather lackluster. With the exception of a few games including Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Disgaea 5: Complete, Dragon Quest Heroes 1-2, and 1-2 Switch, there isn't a lot for me here. And I think a lot of people feel that same way. But the Switch is something new; Nintendo is asking us to trust them. For all we know, 1-2 Switch or Snipper Clips: Cut it Out Together might be the most fun game ever made. That's the thing: we have to try this games out to really understand what makes them special, and in a way, Nintendo is facing the same kind of barriers that VR faced over the last few years in that "seeing is believing."
Nintendo has officially confirmed that its new Switch console-handheld hybrid will support the SDXC specifcation's maximum capacity, meaning memory cards up to 2TB in size will be compatible with the Switch.
The Switch tablet only has 32GB of on board flash memory, and a single game--Zelda: Breath of the Wild to be exact--can take up half of the console's memory. But Nintendo gets around this obvious storage shortage by allowing users to slot in a Micro SDHC or SDXC card to boost storage space. This is a blessing, but it could also end up being a curse for gamers who want max storage--these cards can be pretty expensive, especially the 2TB options that aren't even out yet.
Now Nintendo has given Game Informer an official statement, saying: "Nintendo Switch is compatible with the SDXC standard, which supports up to 2TB. (Note that 2TB cards are not yet on the market, but the system will support them when they are.)"
Before you get too excited, keep in mind MicroSDXC cards can be rather expensive, especially if you opt in for premium brands.
I was in denial about this particular subject. I thought for sure that Nintendo wouldn't lock online voice chatting on its new Switch console to a smartphone app--I thought it'd be optional, and you'd still be able to hook up your dedicated gaming headset to the Switch's 3.2mm headphone jack while it's docked or in handheld mode and use it to chat. And I was wrong.
As it turns out, the smartphone app is absolutely required for online voice chatting. The app is described as the "Online Lobby and Voice Chat App" and is only accessible by paid subscribers of Nintendo's new online service. So you'll download this app on your phone and essentially use your device as a hands-free mic while you're playing games, and you can hook up earbuds (or possibly a headset) to hear your friends and party members as you play.
"Instead of having some sort of bulky gamer headset, you'll be able to do it right off your smartphone, put in your earbuds that you use for your standard mobile device. We think that's a pretty sweet solution. That's part of the overall opportunity that we see in a subscription service," Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime told Nintendo Everything in a recent interview.
We expected Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid to at least come packed with a game or two, but the company decided to nix the plans and sell the console separately from all games. Here's why they made that decision.
As a gamer, I always love it when console-makers give me a free game when I buy a system. This practice has certainly been culled since the NES days of yore, but Nintendo has somewhat kept it alive--during the Wii golden era, every console came with a free copy of Wii Sports, a game that totally exemplified and showcased the system's unique motion controls.
The Nintendo Switch is very much like its past systems, including the Wii with its motion-controlled JoyCons, but 1-2 Switch, which is basically the Switch's own Wii Sports, doesn't come with the console. But why?
As Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told GameSpot, Nintendo had to cut any pack-in games to ensure the Switch kept its $299 launch price.
"The first decision that we make is, where do we want to be in terms of the hardware price point that's going to be approachable and hit the marketplace we want? And from a US price point, we wanted to be at $299. Certainly, lower is always better, but at a $349 or $399 price point, we just didn't feel that was the right place to be. So we start there. And then it's all about, what's going to be included? Obviously the inclusion of the two Joy-Con, critically important; all the right cables, the dock, critically important. We also have to do this from a financial perspective as well. Once we got to that bundle, it really needed to be at $299 without a piece of software."
Nintendo has joined the modern age its new Nintendo Switch console, and it's looking to supercharge its industry presence--and that means new ways to make money. Contrary to its previous will soon make gamers pay a subscription fee to play online games, and here's everything that will include.
When the Nintendo Switch rolls out on March 3, 2017, online play will be free. It'll stay free until Fall 2017 when Nintendo's new online subscription service launches, requiring uses to pay to play specific games online. Essentially, Nintendo is making its own version of Xbox LIVE Gold and PlayStation Plus, but it'll be much different, and I feel that Nintendo won't be heavy-handed like Microsoft and Sony are. Now it's worth noting that not every game will require the subscription for online play--just "most games."
Subscribing to the service will net you some perks: first off, you'll get to play games online. I expect titles like Splatoon 2, Street Fighter, Dragonball Z: Xenoverse and more to require the sub to play online. Secondly, you'll get a free SNES and NES game every month, but you won't get to keep it--you'll only get to download and play it for that month, and at the end of the period Nintendo will take it it away and replace it with another game. So it won't be like PlayStation Plus or Xbox LIVE's Games With Gold.
The Nintendo Switch's user interface has been a mystery that wasn't shown off during the console's entire hour-long presentation event. Until now, that is.
The Switch's portable Handheld Mode UI was spotted on a Japanese Switch overview video, and shows a very easy-to-use clean-cut UI. We have to keep in mind that this UI is likely for demonstration purposes and may not reflect the same UI we see on Switch launch consoles, but it's a starting point nonetheless.
We're going to break down each part of the UI point-by-point to get a better idea of the system's interface and functionality. So let's get right to it, shall we?
Nintendo's brand new console-handheld hybrid Switch tablet has a 10-point capacitive touch display that will leverage unique TrueSense tech and software to bring engaging experiences to gamers.
Immersion Corporation's TrueSense haptic force-feedback technology has been used in a multitude of devices and platforms, including virtual reality headsets, mobiles, tablets--and now the Nintendo Switch. While the company didn't go into specifics, it did announce that Nintendo's Switch console will use its TrueSense software SDK platform to deliver "immersive touch-based gaming controls to playesr around the world."
"Once it is adapted to the Nintendo Switch system, game developers will be able to use Immersion's TouchSense software suite to design games for the Nintendo Switch system. Immersion's TouchSense software will help developers provide immersive touch-based gaming controls to players around the world.
"Game developers have long known that adding the sense of touch to games heightens the experience and keeps players engaged. Recent research shows that utilizing haptics technology in the gaming experience increases satisfaction and enjoyment during gameplay. With the Nintendo Switch system, game developers can now leverage the sense of touch, providing game players an incredible tactile experience that isn't currently available on any other game system."