The long wait is over and we finally know the real name of the Nintendo NX, Nintendo Switch. In 2013 Nintendo announced that it would be consolidating their handheld and console divisions into 1 division, the Switch appears to the fruits of that radical change in development structure. While not a lot of concrete information has been leaked by Nintendo, there are a lot of things that we do know and can infer from the video released this morning.
The unit will be a screen that sits in a docking station when you’re not on the move. This allows for HD gaming from the comfort of a couch.
The unit will also have a handheld configuration for use on the go. This will function like the current Wii U gamepads but better since all games will be playable in handheld mode.
The side pieces, called Joy-Con Grips, can be linked together to make a game controller. These will most likely work while connected to the TV as well.
You can split the Joy-Con to allow 2 people to play on the unit at once. Notice something else? This brings us to the next feature…
It will completely embrace Ad hoc gaming, a feature sorely missed on the current generation of games. No word if this will work with Download Play like the DS units.
Stealing from the same image above, it will be backward compatible with Wii U games. Since the Wii U was compatible with Wii games, this should bode well for current libraries (provided there is a disc drive to play the games with). More information is needed on this portion.
There will be a NEW Pro Controller that is laid out more like the old GameCube controller (similar to the Xbox controllers).
The unit will use GameCards rather an optical disc. This isn’t a huge surprise since the Wii U discs had read issues over time and the cost for stable flash media has come down substantially. No word on memory expansion but Nintendo has already embraced SD cards before.
Nintendo appears to be embracing the eSports community which bodes well for Game Night events.
Nintendo has a lot of third party developers on board to make games for the unit. They understand that the Wii U had some major issues, content being first and foremost, and are committed to it not occurring again.
Nvidia makes their return to console gaming, something that AMD has controlled for a while. Nvidia engineers have committed over 500 man years (not hours, years) to the development of the latest Tegra platform that will run the Switch. Nvidia has made tablets and gaming systems on their own so, in addition to their years of making high-end graphics cards, so this is not new ground for them.