Following the failure of the Wii U, the slowest selling console in Nintendo’s history, Nintendo finally unveiled its next console on January 12th. The new, innovative, console is called the Switch, and will blend console and mobile gaming in an attempt to find more success than the Wii U. The console will become available on March 3rd.
The Switch will come with two motion sensitive controllers, capitalizing on the success of the original Wii. It will also include a detachable, 6.2 inch touch screen, bringing one of the Wii U’s better features into the mix. The battery life could range from 2.5 to 6.5 hours, depending on what game is being played. With WiFi, players will be able to play multiplayer together in the same room, using online services provided by Nintendo. The services will not be free, but a free trial of the online services will be available until the fall of 2017. The console will operate using WiFi, with no plans yet announced for cellular connectivity.
It will include improved version of haptic feedback, a feature now common in most controllers, but first available in Nintendo’s Rumble Pack, for the N64 controller in in 1997. Like the Wii, the Switch will offer incentive to play as a social, group activity for both children and adults, in same-room multiplayer experiences. As many as 8 Switch controllers can be joined together on a local network. The games highlighted so far by Nintendo have 2 players facing each other during multiplayer, in a Ping-Pong match, for example.
However, additional controllers will cost 80 dollars for a pair, or 50 individually. The lack of cellular connection will also presumably relegate gaming on the Switch to an indoor activity.
The company also seems to be trying to reach beyond its traditionally family friendly audience, with Skyrim, rated M, as one of the early launch titles. Games like Skyrim will reach into the ever-growing adult gamer audience. The inclusion of 3rd party games could help to win back some of the “hardcore gamer” audience that has been largely lost to (and arguably ignored by) Nintendo in the era of PlayStation and Xbox.
Nintendo did not mention the availability of any media services such as Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu, suggesting that the Switch may focus on gaming over any other services.