Back in October, Nintendo released a three and a half minute video showing off their new hybrid console, the Switch, but were scant on details. In Nintendo's first live press conference in years they announced the release date, March 3rd, price, $300, and much more.
In what was undoubtedly a very Japanese presentation, for better and worse, Nintendo's President Tatsumi Kimishima, Producer Yoshiaki Koizumi, and a few others shared more details on Nintendo's latest hardware. In the box you'll get the Switch console, two Joy-Con controllers in either grey or Neon Blue (left) and Neon Red (right), the TV dock, the Joy-Con grip, two straps for the Joy-Con controllers, an AC adapter, and an HDMI cable.
The Switch has a battery life range of 2.5 hours to 6.5 hours, depending on what you're doing. If you're playing Zelda on the go it'll be about 3 hours. Thankfully there is a USB-C port on the bottom, so you can plug in a portable battery pack for more juice. The 6.2 inch 1280x720 screen of the Switch is capacitive, but nothing was said about how it can be used. It also has 32GB of built in storage and a slot for microSDXC cards.
Nintendo will sell additional Joy-Con controllers at $80 for a pair, or $50 individually. Another Joy-Con grip can be had for $30, and the new Pro Controller will run you $70. Ouch.
Nintendo spent a fair amount of time on the detachable Joy-Con controllers. In addition to the accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors, inside there's what Nintendo is calling HD Rumble. They said it was accurate enough to convey the feeling of one, two, and three large ice cubes being added to a glass, as well as water being poured into said glass.
The left Joy-Con has a Capture button which will take screenshots at launch, a future update will enable the capture of video clips, and the system will tie into various social media accounts for sharing. The right Joy-Con has an IR sensor and is able to detect details such as someone playing rock, paper, scissors. This Joy-Con also houses the NFC sensor for amiibos. Both Joy-Con controllers have left and right shoulder buttons when held sideways for multiplayer games, and the wrist straps will make these buttons more prominent.
The Nintendo Switch will also have a new online service. At launch it will be free, but starting in the fall of this year Nintendo will charge for some level of access, including online play and the ability to voice chat. On the bright side, subscribers will be able to download a NES or SNES game "for free for a month". Nintendo never specifically mentioned the Virtual Console. Coming in the summer will be a smartphone app that ties into the Switch, enabling users to send invites and chat with friends.
What will you be watching other people play because you didn't pre-order soon enough? The requisite mini-game collection 1 2 Switch seems almost like a real life WarioWare. Two players hold one Joy-Con controller and perform some sort of short activity or challenge with an emphasis on facing one another and not necessarily looking at the screen. The big example given was facing your opponent for a western quick draw, using the Joy-Con as the pistol. The second game making use of the Joy-Con was Arms, an over the top boxing game where each player uses two controllers, one in each hand, and your punches are altered by moving the Joy-Con in various ways.
Everything else shown were traditional games. After many rumors to the contrary, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a launch title. Splatoon 2 will be coming in the summer, featuring a variety of new weapons and special abilities. Super Mario Odyssey is… a thing. Mario was running around New Donk City next to real human beings. You need to see it for yourself if you haven't already. That's coming Holiday 2017, but Nintendo made it sound like there might be a demo before then.
With over 80 games in development for the Switch, many more were briefly talked about or shown. Xenoblade 2, a new Shin Megami Tensei game, Fire Emblem Warriors (another Dynasty Warriors game with a Nintendo property), Dragon Quest 10 AND 11, Project Octopath Traveler from Square Enix (which totally won't end up being a Final Fantasy game), Skyrim, a new Suda51 game, and EA's Fifa were all announced.
Other than Zelda and 1 2 Switch, it's not clear what the launch titles are going to be. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn't coming until April, and Arms is slated for simply "Spring". A few smaller titles are set to be released in March, but no dates are given. Sure, Zelda might be a 100+ hour game and is so highly anticipated the vast majority of those buying the Switch on day one will be thrilled with it. This year as a whole looks great for the Switch with a new Zelda game, a new Mario game, a follow up to the very well received Splatoon, and likely more to be announced at E3. That being said, the Switch has one of the slimmest launch lineups of any console in recent memory.