Nintendo's will soon bring the Nintendo Switch to market, a games console comprised of a portable tablet-like device and a docking station for home play. It is different, interesting and we we've already had our hands on one.
It's due to launch on Friday 3 March with pre-orders open although most vendors have already sold out for day one. You might be able to pick one up from a store on the launch day itself, or there'll no doubt be new stock arriving soon after.
Here's everything you need to know about the new Nintendo Switch.
What is Nintendo Switch?
The late Satoru Iwata first revealed his company was working on a new games console in March 2015. Codenamed Nintendo NX (but reported as "Project NX" originally), the new console was said to be "a brand-new concept".
"As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX'. It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year," Iwata said.
The machine he was referring to is the Nintendo Switch, as initially revealed on Thursday 20 October 2016, although he sadly passed away in summer of 2015 so didn't get to deliver that news himself.
The end result is a hybrid machine that comes with a 6.2-inch HD screen and clip-on "Joy-Con" controllers that can also be used independently as mini gamepads. In this "handheld mode" you can use the Switch remotely, when travelling or in a different room.
When you slide the screen into a dock, however, you can then play with it on a big screen TV. The graphical resolution is upped in that case and the Joy-Cons can be clipped to a normal-style game controller.
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When is the Nintendo Switch release date?
The Nintendo Switch will launch on Friday 3 March in 31 European territories, including the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Portugal and Russia. South Africa will get the console on the same date too. The US will of course also get the console.
You can pre-order the console from a number of retailers, but as we explain above most if not all have already run out of their initial stock allocation.
How much does Nintendo Switch cost?
The Nintendo Switch costs £280 in the UK, $300 in the US and 29,980 Yen ($260) in Japan. That's pricier than originally rumoured and a tad more than rival consoles on the market.
Prices for accessories and games have been revealed too. Games cost between £40-60. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is officially priced at £59.99, for example, but is available for less from places like Amazon.co.uk. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is priced at £49.99, but can also be found cheaper elsewhere.
Nintendo has also revealed that membership to a subscription service, much like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, will be required for online play. It will also entitle the member to a free virtual console or two per month, although they are likely to expire at each month's end. The tipped price for this will be between 2,000 and 3,000 yen (around £14 to £21 at the current exchange rate).
What does the Nintendo Switch look like?
As stated above, the Nintendo Switch is essentially made of one tablet-like device with a 720p, 6.2-inch screen that can then be added to. The two Joy-Con controllers clip either side when portable, giving a Wii U GamePad-style experience. They then come off when the console is slotted into a docking station, so you can use the Switch like a regular console connected to your TV.
When docked, you can clip the Joy-Con controllers onto a separate Joy-Con grip accessory to make a fully-fledged gamepad.
What's more, each of the Joy-Cons can be used as a basic controller individually, allowing for two-player games when out and about. The Switch tablet unit has a kickstand so it can remain upright, like a portable TV, providing another option for gaming on the go.
What are the Nintendo Switch specifications?
We've know what it looks like and what it's like to play, but we will still have to wait to find out detailed hardware specs, as Nintendo has yet to publish them.
Nvidia has previously stated that it is making the processor inside the console and a spec leak claimed that the CPU and GPU will be based heavily on the Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset - much like the new Nvidia Shield Android TV box. We still believe that to be the case.
It effectively means it has 256-core Maxwell graphics processing and an octa-core processor. It should also be capable of 4K Ultra HD video playback, although it is said to have a HDMI 1.4 output so will only be able to play 4K video at 30fps.
We're not entirely sure of differences in resolutions when gaming at present, but Nintendo has confirmed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild runs in 720p in handheld mode, 900p when docked. That's similar to early Xbox One and some PS4 games, so we expect other and future titles to get up to 1080p when hooked to a TV.
We also know that the internal storage of the Switch is limited to a measly 32GB, but you will be able to expand that greatly through an optional microSD card.
What is the Nintendo Switch software like?
Few have seen the Nintendo Switch operating system and user interface so far, but those who have say it is similar to the thumbnail menu system of the Wii U and 3DS. There will be access to the Nintendo eShop, naturally, and you can download and play digital games.
One thing we do know for sure is that there will be no video streaming services installed from launch. Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other media services could be added in time, but Nintendo said that it is focusing exclusively on games initially.
You can find extra details in our Nintendo Switch preview.
What games are available for Nintendo Switch?
Nintendo has released details of many of the games that will launch for the Nintendo Switch, but only a few of them will actually be available from the launch date of 3 March. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be available from launch day along with 1-2 Switch. A few third-party games will also be released around that time.
Other games that will launch during 2017 include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and motion beat-em-up Arms.
We've had a chance to play some of these new titles, so you can head to the below for a closer look at some of them:
- Zelda Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch preview: Prepare to lose your breath
- Super Bomberman R preview: A sparkling retro gem for the Nintendo Switch
- 5 Nintendo Switch games to pre-order first, and one well worth the wait
While there won't be a huge array of games at launch, Nintendo has revealed a full list of developers, publishers and other software partners, so you can get an idea of what games to possibly expect in the future. You can see them all below:
- 505 Games
- Activision Publishing, Inc.
- ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co.,Ltd.
- ATLUS CO.,LTD.
- Audiokinetic Inc.
- Autodesk, Inc
- BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
- CAPCOM CO., LTD.
- CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
- DeNA Co., Ltd.
- Electronic Arts
- Epic Games Inc.
- Firelight Technologies
- FromSoftware, Inc.
- GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC．
- HAMSTER Corporation
- INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
- KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
- Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
- LEVEL-5 Inc.
- Marvelous Inc.
- Maximum Games, LLC
- Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
- Parity Bit Inc.
- PlatinumGames Inc.
- RAD Game Tools, Inc.
- RecoChoku Co.,Ltd.
- SEGA Games Co., Ltd.
- Silicon Studio Corporation
- Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
- SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
- Starbreeze Studios
- Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
- Telltale Games
- THQ Nordic
- Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
- TT Games
- Ubitus Inc.
- Unity Technologies, Inc.
- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Web Technology Corp.