Nintendo unveils next-gen gaming console ‘Switch’
Nintendo Co Ltd, the Kyoto-based games company, has unveiled its much-anticipated new video games console called Nintendo Switch, its first new gaming device in four years. The Nintendo Switch, is a new name that replaces the “NX” codename the company has been working under.
The company still considers console gaming to be the centre of its business, even as casual gaming has moved to smartphones and tablets. Nintendo managed to sell only 13 million Wii U consoles (its last console) since its launch in 2012, compared with 101 million sales of its predecessor, the Wii, launched in 2006, clearly indicating that Wii U flopped badly due to lack of must-have titles. Nintendo is now hoping that the Nintendo Switch, a combination home and mobile device will reverse its fortunes in the console market.
The Switch is the first games console to fully bridge the divide between home consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox, and portable devices like Nintendo’s 3DS. It is a tablet-like device players can attach to a dock connected to the owner’s television, and can enjoy games at home with detachable “Joy-Con” controllers on each side. The Joy-Con controllers resemble small remotes, featuring a thumbstick and a variety of buttons. These can be taken off the screen and held in each hand, or serve as individual controllers for multiple players.
Gamers can use the Joy-Con controllers held together by a Joy-Con Grip accessory or use a different controller – known as the Switch Pro. All games will be playable whether on the go or at home.
“In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles,” Nintendo wrote in the video’s YouTube description.
Since the Nintendo 64 two decades ago, the Switch also brings back game cartridges, or “cards”, rather than discs for the first time on a home console.
Multiple consoles can also link together – two can connect when four people want to play two-to-a-screen, or four can connect together with each player using their own.
A promotional video released by Nintendo suggested that the Switch will have a strong lineup at launch with The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, and Splatoon amongst the games lined up for the console. Further, dozens of publishers such as Activision Publishing Inc, Electronic Arts Inc and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. are developing games for the device.
The console’s flexibility would allow developers to bring a variety of game styles, Nintendo said. The Switch is expected to launch in March 2017. However, there are no details on the pricing yet.