Nintendo Switch: Everything We Know

From third-party publishers to control options, here's all the info Nintendo let out of the bag this morning. 

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The Nintendo NX is dead. Long live Nintendo Switch.

Earlier this morning, Nintendo confirmed what months of insider reports and rampant rumors indicated: that the Switch is a two-in-one console/handheld hybrid device with a tablet-like form factor, and that it will launch in March 2017.

Below, you'll find the three-minute trailer, as well as a breakdown of everything Nintendo confirmed—tacitly or explicitly—about its next hardware platform.

Hardware

Nintendo Switch is a console, and a handheld. You can play it at home by clicking the tablet-like hardware into the Nintendo Switch Dock, or carry it around with you like your smartphone or Nintendo 3DS. A kickstand—possibly sold separately—can be fitted to the back so you can play comfortably on flights and other areas where holding a tablet up to your face would grow tedious quickly.

The Switch runs on a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor. No specs have been released; Nintendo and NVIDIA are likely holding those nuggets of info back for a longer Nintendo Direct presentation. In the same vein, the trailer showed no touchscreen functionality. This is not an admission that the Switch tablet will not respond to touch, only that it was not demonstrated in today's reveal.

No price was announced for the Switch.

Controllers

Nintendo Switch comes with the "Joy-Con," a detachable peripheral with two analog sticks and face buttons as well as triggers. The Joy-Con comes in two halves; each half snaps into place on one side of the Switch tablet, or onto a grip accessory that you can hold like a traditional controller. If you want to play a multiplayer game like Mario Kart with a friend, each half of the Joy-Con functions like a separate controller, held similar to a Wii remote.

A Pro-style controller was also shown, giving you yet another way to play.

Multiplayer

There are other ways to enjoy Switch games with your friends besides carving up Joy-Con controllers. Multiple Switch systems will be able to connect locally, and since it's a handheld at heart, carrying your Switch to a friend's house or other LAN-style gatherings will be a breeze.

Although online play was not shown in the trailer, it's safe to assume you'll be able to play Switch games over the Internet. No mention was made of whether the system will support Nintendo's friend codes or switch to another, more palatable infrastructure such as friend lists.

Game Lineup

Nintendo confirmed droves of third-party publishers who are or will be developing games for the Switch. Highlights include Bethesda, FromSoftware, Ubisoft, Activision, Take-Two, Square Enix, Sega, and Capcom.

As for first-party support, Nintendo already said The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch alongside Switch and the Wii U version next spring. Today's trailer also showed clips of new Splatoon, Mario, and Mario Kart titles.

Game Format

Nintendo has forsaken optical media—considered by many to be a bottleneck, as optical drives are significantly slower than modern processors, memory, and GPUs—in favor of cartridges. Game carts are small, approximately the size of 3DS media.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 20, 2016 12:30 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Nintendo Switch: Everything We Know

    • reply
      October 20, 2016 12:40 PM

      so, not much. not your fault, obvs, but would love some concrete details on specs and price. i know that'll come, but still :(

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        October 20, 2016 1:06 PM

        Yeah. As others have mentioned, Nintendo has a financial meeting next week, and I think investors were determined to have them come out and announce something since it's been cloaked in mystery for so long. They confirmed the March 2017 release window--super important for fiscal results, since that month brings FY2017 to a close--and we actually got a name. Plus the Internet is buzzing about this thing.

        Mission accomplished! But, yes, I'd like more details as well.

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          October 20, 2016 2:16 PM

          Hey man they added more info on this page: http://www.nintendo.com/switch scroll all the way down.

          Also my bet is that the chip in it is a modified Tegra X2 : https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/08/22/parker-for-self-driving-cars/ && http://wccftech.com/nvidia-drive-px2-pascal-gtc-2016/

          So the Switch could equal:

          CPU: 12 Core CPU * who knows what they will scale it to *
          GPU Architecture: Pascal
          TFLOPs: 8 TFLOPs * who knows what they will scale it to *
          2 x Tegra X2 * who knows what they will scale it too *
          2 x Pascal MXM GPUs * who knows what they will scale it to *
          System Memory: 8 GB LPDDR4 (50+ GB/s) * who knows what they will scale it to *
          Graphics Memory: 4 GB GDDR5 (80+ GB/s) * who knows what they will scale it to *

          The Switch could be a beast, just got figure out how much $400 will scale all that back? or what ever the price point is? I hope the console is at least $399, so the hardware is beefier.

          At this point I doubt they will go Tegra X1 its too weak and deprecated hardware for a new console that will last, please Nintendo don't do a Wii on the Switch is all I ask.

          Anyways will see what happens hey.

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      October 20, 2016 12:43 PM

      That dock absolutely beefs up the horsepower of the console to make it look pretty on a TV. Nvidia mentions in their little press blub that their Tegra hardware is scalable which to me infers that there is more than one of the processors in play here. Plus, I seriously doubt a charging cradle for the thing with an HDMI port would be as thick as that dock is.

      I'd bet my lunch money that it does more than just charge and play the thing on a TV but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

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        October 20, 2016 1:39 PM

        I agree that the dock looks bulkier than required for just dock and play. Time will tell!

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          October 20, 2016 1:44 PM

          That's what he said.

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            October 20, 2016 2:02 PM

            Yeah. I was agreeing with him.

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              October 20, 2016 2:13 PM

              No, meaning that's what the man said about his penis going into a fat pussy. A man wanting to dock his cock into a vagina for some play. A man wanting to stick his diddledink into a play box. A fat one.

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                October 20, 2016 2:27 PM

                Idgi. Could you draw a diagram?

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        October 20, 2016 1:43 PM

        Nintendo says it's just a dock and TV output:

        http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1297353

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          October 20, 2016 2:08 PM

          Man, that stinks. I was hoping they would release a 4K version of the dock that had a GTX1080 inside.

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            October 20, 2016 2:49 PM

            Doesn't mean they can't/won't make that in the future

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              October 20, 2016 2:56 PM

              Well the tablet<>dock connection would need to have enough pins to be forward compatible with something like an external GPU.

              Or just have an entirely new model a couple years down the line.

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                October 20, 2016 2:58 PM

                I fully expect different peripherals will be able to connect to the sides instead of the default controllers.

                It just seems likely that forward thinking would be a focus of theirs.

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          October 20, 2016 2:18 PM

          as expected, and increases the chance they can sell it without the dock to make it a lower entry price (say $250) with the dock increasing profit margins as a $50 add on or something.

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        October 20, 2016 2:47 PM

        it beefs it with power from the plug not because theres another processor

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        October 20, 2016 3:27 PM

        It could render 540p as a handheld and be easy on the battery, but 1080p when docked with fans and loads of power.

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          October 20, 2016 5:49 PM

          yup even my laptop with a gtx1060 lowers max boost clocks by about 400-500Mhz when it's on battery.

          Plugged in = ~1700Mhz
          Battery = ~1200Mhz

    • reply
      October 20, 2016 2:43 PM

      Arstechnica has another article where they speculate about specs. They think that the hand held screen is probably only 720p since the Tegra SoC only has 256 CUDA cores.

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        October 20, 2016 3:00 PM

        This is assuming it's a Tegra 1 though, which it might not be.

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          October 20, 2016 4:54 PM

          I believe it was said that the Switch Tegra has the Pascal core, which would indicate a custom version of the X2 chip which should have superior performance to the X1, even if it has the same number of CUDA cores.

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        October 20, 2016 3:23 PM

        I'm perfectly happy with that for a gaming device! Plus my plasma TV is only 720p so how would I ever notice the difference.

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        October 20, 2016 5:42 PM

        I didnt expect much out of the handheld screen. 720p is fine for a screen that size.

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      October 20, 2016 2:49 PM

      has anyone attempted to extrapolate the size of the screen from these videos? Split screen multiplayer on a 7-9" screen seems not ideal

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      October 20, 2016 3:04 PM

      I wonder if it's going to be running a heavily modified version of Android. That would seem like the smartest thing to me to be able to take advantage of all the mobile optimizations at an OS level and development practices people already work with.

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        October 20, 2016 3:51 PM

        That would be my guess as well, since that is what the Shield uses, man if its true CNS will work on it since my engine supports Android.

        Man I really hope it is! A CNS game cartridge :) that would be so cool.

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      October 20, 2016 4:01 PM

      I'm getting some sweet Mario Sunshine vibes from that brief Mario footage...

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      October 20, 2016 4:07 PM

      i think its really cool they didnt fix the zelda framerate in portable mode. I feel good with nintendos honesty here. im sure itll get optimized by march

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      October 20, 2016 4:44 PM

      Arby's ad game on point

      http://chattypics.com/files/iPhoneUpload_e6j7pmcs7v.jpg

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      October 20, 2016 6:31 PM

      Can't wait to lean forward looking at a tiny screen waiting for new Zelda and Metroid games to come out.

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