Last week Nintendo finally took the cover off of its Nintendo Switch. The device takes several cues from both the original Wii and Wii U, along with some new features. If the console lives up to the hype, Nintendo may be restored to its former gaming glory.
The premise behind the Switch is to allow easy gaming at home and on the go with the same device. The Switch is a portable tablet that can be docked in its holder which is connected to a TV to be able to play on the big screen at home. On the road, however, the Switch can be removed from the dock, the controller pieces can be added to each side of the Switch, which has rails to allow easy connection and disconnection, and then games can be played on the go. When the Switch is connected to the dock, the controller pieces can be attached to a grip attachment (sold separately) or used in each hand independently for two-handed use or allow two people to use a single controller. Some games also use motion with the controller to add an additional layer of functionality.
The console does take a lot of cues from the Wii and Wii U, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The original Wii as a major hit with many users. The Switch is more of what Nintendo wanted the Wii U to be, but the technology at the time wouldn’t allow it. The Switch has a 720p display and when the Switch is docked it can play up to a resolution of 1080p at 60fps. Now, the Switch does not come close to the power of an Xbox One or Playstation 4, but it is also much more convenient and portable than those two devices. The Switch's CPU and GPU have not been officially confirmed, however, the CPU and GPU will have less power when the Switch is running on battery power. Speaking of battery power, Nintendo says users can expect 2.5-6 hours of battery life. This is a pretty significant range, but the Switch does charge over USB-C which will allow users to use external batteries to extend the battery life of their Switch.
Nintendo has also announced new Multiplayer services for later in the year, which include chat parties and several other features that Xbox Live and Playstation Network have had for years. People do not know what to expect from the service as Nintendo has always fallen behind on the multiplayer side of things. The Switch does allow for up to 8 independent Switches to be connected to each other for LAN parties, which will be available at launch.
The Switch is now available for pre-order from all of the major retailers for $299.99, and it will ship in March. Early impressions are all positive. Many games have already been confirmed for the device, including Skyrim. Time will only tell how the Switch will impact the gaming community. If it device itself is a hit, Nintendo could have a new king and their former glory back in the gaming community.