"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nintendo Switch Details, Release Date: March 3, 2017

In an hour on long presentation (video below) Nintendo finally revealed some details on their next generation console called the Nintendo Switch. How you interact with it has not changed but now we know the release date is Friday, March 3 for $300. The specs include a 6.2" 720p touch screen display that outputs in 1080p when docked. The memory is a pathetic 32GB (tech companies really need to dumb the 32GB space standards, it was old four years ago). The hope is the game cartridges called GameCards that are similar in size and shape to Nintendo 3DS games) will do most of the heavy lifting on space but it doesn't really address how those that prefer to buy digitally will manage the space limitations. In portable mode the Switch's battery life will be between 2.5 to 6 hours depending on the graphics horsepower the game needs. Additionally Nintendo is finally doing away with proprietary connections by using a USB-C for charging on the go.

The launch title list remains a little murky but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is confirmed to be one of them. Other announced titles but are not necessarily launch titles include Super Mario Odysssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (4/28, is an update of WiiU title), Super Bomberman R, Splatoon 2 (summer '17), Shovel Knight, Ultra Street Fighter II, Dragon Quest X and XI, Sonic Mania (spring, '17), Puyo Puyo Tetris, Skylanders Imaginators, Arms, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fire Emblem Warriors. A nice bonus is there is no region lock for the games so if you like to import, you now can without having to hack the device to make it work.

Basically it seems Nintendo learned almost nothing from the missteps with the Wii U and once again is relying heavily on a gimmick (the dual console/portable device), Zelda and Mario to beat the XBox and Playstation despite their non-competitive price, limited graphics, and limited storage space and over-all specs. As a fan that goes back the NES days I feel compelled to get this system if only for Zelda but very little of the presentation made me think that Nintendo had unstuck itself from 2007-ish thinking and approach to technology. I suspect if you bought those old classic games one 3DS or WiiU, you will have to buy them all over again on the Switch. About the only "lesson" they seemed to learn is that they can charge for online play like Microsoft and Sony currently do, which they plan to start in the fall at an unspecified price so be aware of that for dedicated online games like Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Long story short, unless really excited about the new Zelda title or the Switch in general I would recommend a wait and see approach to the new console.

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