MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – At a press conference on Friday, January 13, Nintendo revealed new details about its upcoming game console, the Nintendo Switch, beginning with its price and worldwide launch date.
The Nintendo Switch will officially release on March 3, 2017 with a $299 price tag.
According to some analysts, $300 is the level that could make or break demand for the device.
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed the Switch will not be region locked. Players will be able to play released software globally, allowing for importation of games from another region.
Nintendo also announced it will have its own paid online service for the console. At launch, online services will be free for a specified trial period after launch. It will then become a paid service in the fall of 2017. Details will made available on the paid service at a later date.
The Nintendo Switch's tablet features a kickstand, allowing people to bring it and watch their games from anywhere. The Switch tablet has a battery life of anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours. It has a 6.2-inch capacitive touch screen supporting 1280x720 resolution.
The console itself has 32GB of storage, which is expandable with a microSD card. The console base has USB ports, which likely means it'll serve as potential avenues for more storage, if not charging.
At the very least, the Switch supports USB Type C charging through one of the said ports. It also features local wireless connectivity that allows for up to 8-player wireless gaming.
The press conference continued with an explanation of the Joycon controllers of the Nintendo switch.
The controllers feature motion controls and have individual gyroscopic controls on each Joycon. The Joycon also has screen capture and sharing capabilities, with the right controller also having a near field communications (NFC) reader and an Amiibo read-write system.
Joycons will also feature a motion IR camera on each Joycon, detecting hand movements and distance in fron of the controller, and will have an HD rumble feature to provide haptic feedback.
Aside from the console and Joycon functions, a related smartphone application will allow for chat, friend invites, parental controls, and other features, though the monthly fee is required to maintain full access to the app.
More than 80 games are said to be in development for the Switch. Some of the games revealed for the Switch include 1-2 Switch and Arms, two party-type games for the Switch Joycon controllers.
Also announced was Splatoon 2, a follow up to the Wii U's hit game Splatoon, and it is slated for Summer 2017.
Mario is also getting a new game in the form of Super Mario Odyssey. This is Mario's latest open-world sandbox, following in the footsteps of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
Monolith Soft announced Xenoblade Chronicles 2, while Koei Tecmo announced Fire Emblem Warriors.
While Atlus showed off a video of an upcoming, new Shin Megami Tensei game for the Switch, Square Enix introduced a new RPG, currently called Project Octopath Traveler.
Bethesda Game Studios also officially confirmed that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. Electronic Arts, on its end announced EA Sports FIFA for sports gamers.
Of course, those looking forward to grabbing the Switch for a dose of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be pleased to know that the game is scheduled for release on the Switch's launch day: March 3, 2017.
Pre-orders for the Nintendo Switch in Japan will begin on January 21.
Analysts say Nintendo's Switch will be crucial for the company, which needs a hit product to offset the flagging fortunes of the Wii U and its handheld 3DS device, as rival Sony racks up huge sales of the PS4 – Sony has sold more than 50 million units globally since its debut in late 2013. – with reports from the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com