Report: Nintendo Switch has a touchscreen, displays up to 720p resolution on tablet

Nintendo won't reveal a price and launch lineup for a few more months, but more details are leaking out from sources close to the company.

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According to a report from Eurogamer, the Nintendo Switch tablet's screen measure 6.2 inches, displays up to 720p resolution, and does have touchscreen functionality.

What's more, the tablet sports a capacitive, multi-touch screen—a first for Nintendo. Both the Wii U GamePad and 3DS featured resistive touchscreens that required on pressure to register single touches.

"As is standard for capacitive devices such as most modern smartphones, Switch's screen is a 10-point multitouch display, meaning multi-finger gestures are supported," per Eurogamer.

The report speculated that Nintendo held back touch functionality from last week's reveal trailer in order to avoid muddying its primary message: that the Switch is a console first and foremost, albeit one able to play console-quality games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a portable.

Furthermore, Eurogamer points out that both 3DS and the Wii U were defined and marketed according to touchscreen functionality; deciding not to demonstrate the Switch's touchscreen served as an indication that the Switch is an evolutionary step up from both systems, rather than another branch on their family trees.

That leaves one important question: how will you use the touchscreen when your Switch is docked? One possibility lies in the right-hand half of the detachable Joy-Con controller, which houses an IR sensor. Eurogamer speculates that you'll probably be able to point that peripheral at your TV screen while the Switch is docked to select on-screen elements, simulating touch input.

Eurogamer published its report based on information from sources claiming to have insider knowledge of Nintendo Switch development. Considering Eurogamer was the outlet to break the news that the Switch was a console-handheld hybrid, and that this latest report comes from the same source, it's likely true.

Nintendo's next official round of Switch information is scheduled for January 13, 2017, when it plans to talk price and launch games.

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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  • reply
    October 27, 2016 1:19 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Report: Nintendo Switch has a touchscreen, displays up to 720p resolution on tablet

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      October 27, 2016 1:30 PM

      Very cool! Man is it just me or is Nintendo crazy to wait till till January to release all the details of the Switch?

      Maybe they just don't want to compete with anyone this holiday season(since things are crazy then) and just want to drop it like its hot and bomb the details all in January and do a mic drop. This way it will be fresh in everyone's minds and customers will be left hungry to buy it two months after the mic drop. Maybe this is a real smart thing to do now that I think of it.

      I am really looking froward to January, it just seems so too far away :( I need to know now :)

      Cool news, thanks.

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        October 27, 2016 1:34 PM

        They really have little to gain by releasing information before January since those that are going to buy the console on launch are already sold on it.

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        October 27, 2016 2:12 PM

        They probably want all the news to themselves. The holiday season is filled with new movies and games and devices and whatnot, but after the new year it's generally pretty silent for a bit while everyone enjoys their new loot.

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          October 27, 2016 2:26 PM

          Milestones are probably a factor, too. January's around the time any developer working on a launch title should be putting the finishing touches on it, whereas right now a lot of that code is probably on fire.

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            October 27, 2016 2:32 PM

            For a worldwide March release don't they already have to be manufacturing in January? Or do game cartridges not take long to mass produce and ship?

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              October 27, 2016 2:40 PM

              Hard to say since it's a proprietary cart. And, since this appears to be a worldwide launch, which still hasn't been said officially as far as I've read, that makes it harder to speculate how much lead time they may need for regional production. Unless they're going region free and producing all games in both English and Japanese; which would be super cool.

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        October 27, 2016 2:31 PM

        I assume they don't want to risk hurting existing platform sales. They almost certainly didn't want to release info last week, but their hand was pretty much forced by investors.

        I have visions of game developers pretty much living at the office for the next several months; desperately working to get the launch games ready to ship on time.

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      October 27, 2016 1:36 PM

      I was guessing it did when I saw Gung Ho, who make Puzzle and Dragons, on the list of partners. I don't think they make non-touch games, although I could be wrong on that.

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      October 27, 2016 1:42 PM

      6.2 inches is much smaller than I thought the screen looked. It might be much more convenient as a portable than I thought, not that I'd use it much that way.

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        October 27, 2016 1:56 PM

        Ars did some analysis that put it around there. Split screen local mp sounds implausible.

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      October 27, 2016 1:43 PM

      Aw yeah!!! Super Mario Maker 2 here we come!

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      October 27, 2016 1:44 PM

      The fact that they went for a capacitive and multi-touch display certainly makes it seem like touch controls will play a significant role with this system. Excited to learn more.

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        October 27, 2016 1:57 PM

        to make serious use of touch and gestures would likely mean some games that only work in portable mode. We have a pretty good idea of how well the Wii remote style maps to touch actions: ok, not great.

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          October 27, 2016 2:00 PM

          Yeah, I could see some devs making screen-only games, and that being made clear maybe with a separate online store or something.

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          October 27, 2016 2:07 PM

          I wonder how compatible the Switch will be with old Wii and Wii U peripherals. If it is, the touch games could just require you to own a Wii U gamepad. That's a bit of a stretch, I'm sure, because I don't even know if they sell them separately at the moment. I don't think multi-gamepad games ever materialized.

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        October 27, 2016 1:58 PM

        only thing is devs cant rely on it because people will play games when docked as well. but thats a good thing I'm done with touch controls in games

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          October 27, 2016 5:19 PM

          I imagine it will be more for navigating and system type things instead of for playing games. Basically using it as a tablet to do Nintendo tablet-type things.

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        October 27, 2016 2:04 PM

        Actually, isn't the resistive touch screen more accurate? So you can play games like Meteos at a high level with a stylus?

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          October 27, 2016 2:07 PM

          iOS devices use capacitive and are the gold standard of accurate touch capabilities. Resistive is old/cheap.

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            October 27, 2016 2:10 PM

            Resistive being old and cheap is exactly why Nintendo stuck with that paradigm for so long. They've made a mint repurposing old technology. See: Game Boy.

            I'm glad they went with capacitive touch, though. It'll afford developers more options.

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              October 27, 2016 2:11 PM

              right, it made sense for a time but that time has passed. It offers few advantages to consumers besides cost.

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            October 27, 2016 2:18 PM

            I remember hearing at one point capacitive was preferred because it allowed multi-touch, but pin-point accuracy like you get from a stylus wasn't quite as good a resistive. So maybe that changed in recent years or my memory is incorrect.

            So I guess all those touch monitors for artists that use styluses are capacitive?

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        October 27, 2016 2:16 PM

        I'm super just guessing here, but I'd say they included it for two major reasons:

        1) That's the hardware standard for similar devices, as David said in the article.
        2) They will probably try to get people to port already-existing mobile games to the Switch. If they make it easy enough, it will make the Switch have a shit-pile of mobile offerings very quickly.

        I very much doubt they want devs making games that only work with touch because that fragments the market they are trying so hard to unify.

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          October 27, 2016 2:25 PM

          I was hoping they implemented touchscreen for one basic reason: if you're going to carry around a portable device besides your phone, it needs to have uses out side of games. I don't think the Switch needs to be an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink device like an iPhone, but I would like to be able to watch Netflix on it, for example. Even the Wii U does that, and the 3DS might as well.

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        October 27, 2016 2:37 PM

        Not necessarily. It could be as simple that they're using some mass produced off-the-shelf parts for the touch sensors; it just ended up being cheaper to go capacitive and multi-touch. I'm just speculating, and that might not be the case since the Wii U didn't. Just saying there could be other reasons that aren't immediately obvious to us.

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          October 27, 2016 2:40 PM

          Yeah I didn't mean to say there was no other possibility. Nintendo is typically pretty deliberate with their hardware choices, though.