Since the 1980s to today, Nintendo has inarguably led the charge of more impactful console and handheld gaming innovations than Atari, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft combined. Gaming as we know it is what it is today thanks in no small part to their legacy of going their own way with a unique vision first in mind, and if the newly revealed Nintendo Switch offers any indication, they are about to change the rules again.
Previously billed as the Nintendo NX prior to a three-minute preview video premiered worldwide at Nintendo.com on Oct. 20, the Nintendo Switch marks the legendary brand’s step away from the Wii and Wii U’s revolutionary popularization of motion-based gaming. Nintendo executives previously hinted in speaking discreetly about the then-Nintendo NX that the Wii U’s rapidly declining sales and plummeting third-party support signaled a need to once more re-invent their console segment. As it turns out, the Nintendo Switch looks to turn not only Nintendo’s console experience, but its handheld concept on its head.
For the first time, a single platform will allow players to seamlessly transition from a traditional home console experience to playing the exact same game on the go via the exact same hardware. The Nintendo Switch plugs into a charging dock when played as a home console, where it can be plugged into a TV or monitor for console player. When it’s time to venture our into the world, the Joy-Con controller splits in two and attaches to either side of the main hardware, instantly creating a handheld platform with a gorgeous portable high-definition screen that displays any and every title without sacrificing a trace of graphical or audio experience.
Billy Mays be damned, we have to say it: “But wait! There’s more!” The Nintendo Switch’s portability also sets the stage for new dimensions of local multiplayer. When deployed as a handheld unit, players can choose between holding the system in their own two hands or propping it up atop a steady surface with an easel-style stand. Meanwhile, wherever there’s another player with a Nintendo Switch on hand, there’s local multiplayer on individual screens waiting to happen.
A single player can take a Joy-Con controller in each hand for an experience not entirely unlike the Wii and Wii U nunchuk controller. When playing with a friend, a companion can take up half the Joy-Con, slip the halves into Joy-Con Grip accessories, click the Joy-Con back into place in one piece as originally configured, or several players can split multiple controllers, depending on everyone’s individually preferred style. There’s even the option to swap in the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and eschew the Joy-Con entirely.
Here’s arguably the most exciting news: granted, the Nintendo Switch abides by storied tradition with a brand-new Super Mario Bros. launch exclusive. Yes, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” looks breathtakingly beautiful. True, we await the port of “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” with bated breath. All of that considered, the cold shoulder the Wii U received from third-party developers and publishers appears to have warmed. Creators have clearly warmed to the Nintendo Switch’s openness to embracing diverse personal play preferences, judging from the sterling lineup of publishers, middleware partners, and developers who have thrown their support behind it:
Activision Publishing, Inc.
ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co., Ltd.
ATLUS CO., LTD.
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
CAPCOM CO., LTD.
CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
DeNA Co., Ltd.
Epic Games Inc.
GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC
Gungho Online Entertainment, Inc.
INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Maximum Games, LLC
Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Parity Bit Inc.
RAD Game Tools, Inc.
RecoChoku Co., Ltd.
SEGA Games Co., Ltd.
Silicon Studio Corporation
Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
Unity Technologies, Inc.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Web Technology Corp
The Nintendo Switch launches worldwide this coming March.