On October 20th, Nintendo finally ended their silence on the long rumored successor to the Wii U. Enter the Nintendo Switch, which is due out next March. Based on the information we have now, the Switch sees Nintendo returning to more experimental hardware design that calls back the wonder felt when the world first saw the original Nintendo DS and the Wii.
In a brief, but jam-packed teaser put out by Nintendo yesterday, we got our first glimpse at the features that will come with the system, and it did not disappoint. Confirming the leaks that have been floating around for a long time now, the Switch will be a unique home console-portable hybrid with detachable controllers. This was a concept that was pretty hard to grasp, but Nintendo did a marvelous job of showing the possibilities that this would bring.
Essentially, the Switch’s portable configuration sort of resemble’s the Wii U’s tablet controller, but the twist is that the hardware is on-board and it does not need to stream from a nearby console. The magic happens when you want to play your system on a TV. You can connect the screen portion of the console to a dock that hooks up to your TV, and the detachable Joy-Con controllers become a regular full-format controller, or two separate, smaller controllers for multiplayer. You can also detach the controllers while the system is undocked, meaning that this will allow for on-the-go multiplayer action.
Visually, the Switch is a sleek and beautiful piece of hardware that looks comfortable and ergonomic in its portable form as well as with its docked controller mode. We don’t know much about the hardware itself yet, but it looks like it will at least be able to run games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and very notably, The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition, which is coming out on the PS4 and XBox One in just one week.
There are a couple of unanswered questions, however. Will we be losing the dual-screen gameplay brought by the Wii U? The trailer does not make this clear. On one hand, this is sad, because it feels like this was an underutilized feature on the Wii U, but it also seems like a more than worthy sacrifice for the versatility of this new system. We’re still not sure how powerful the system will be, or what the battery life will be like. Additionally, we’re going to have to wait and see what games will officially be launching with the console. They did announce an impressive list of third party developers who are on-board with the Switch, but lest we forget, the Wii U made the same promises and under-delivered spectacularly in this regard.
I won’t lie, as a Nintendo fanatic, I’m going to be buying this either way. But I’m happy to say that I’m actually really excited by the technology Nintendo is creating here, and it’s nice to see them return to being an innovative, inventive producer of gaming hardware.