Nintendo has announced its next system. It’s called the Switch, and it looks incredible.
The basic concept is that the Switch is neither a home console or a portable system—it’s both. Nintendo toyed with the concept with the WiiU, which had a controller with a built-in screen. But that controller was tethered to the system; in other words, you couldn’t use it to play a game outside of the house. The above video makes a strong point of showing how the Switch can be played at home, in a park, on a plane… anywhere.
The video also shows off a variety of ways you can control your game as well; using the detachable “Joy-Con” controllers in a variety of permutations, or with a separate controller altogether. There is an emphasis on people playing together, which is not surprising at all from the Big N. In addition to the previously announced The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there’s footage of (presumably new) Super Mario, Mario Kart, and Splatoon games. Oh, and Nintendo announced support from a huge list of third party companies as well.
So yeah. This looks awesome.
The WiiU, Nintendo’s current console, didn’t connect with a wide audience. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t a great system—it certainly is, with lots of fun games and a pretty cool concept. But it had limitations, and Nintendo seems to be ditching the motion-controls of the Wii and is instead doubling down on portability. The company has always been great at handhelds (the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, DS, and 3DS series have all been successes), and now they can focus on delivering games that work for one system that is both meant to be played at home *and* on the go. People look at their phones/tablets/smart devices on their couches and when they’re far from home. Why should gaming be any different?
Important launch details such as price, games available, and exact date are still to come. And there are other questions: is the screen a touch screen? How will the system handle backwards compatibility? What will become of Virtual Console purchases? And why oh why are they launching in March, three months AFTER Nick’s Marathon?
Answers to those burning questions notwithstanding, it certainly appears that Nintendo has come up with a nifty new way to game. I’m in.