Nintendo’s Plan to Switch Things Up

By Damian Cheung

Nintendo is about to make its comeback after roughly 4 years with a new console. Last October, Nintendo made the announcement that they would be releasing a new console: the Nintendo Switch. This tablet-like gaming system comes after the release of the Wii U back in November of 2012. The Switch is similar to Nvidia’s Shield, which allowed users to play both on a tablet; however, the Switch also provides a feature where placing the console in its docking station will send signals to the television that it is connected to allowing players to continue playing their games on the television. If players want to take their gameplay on the go, simply removing the console from the dock will allow users to continue playing on the tablet.

Upon purchase, customers will obtain seven items: Nintendo Switch console, Nintendo Switch dock, an HDMI cable, an AC adapter, 2 Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con Grip controller, and straps for the Joy-Con controllers. The console is a 6.2 inch capacitive touchscreen tablet with a 1280x720p resolution with an Nvidia Tegra processor. On a single charge, the tablet can last between two and half to six and half hours depending on the game being played. The console also features a slot for a microSD card enabling users to expand past the 32GB available. Unfortunately, the console is not backwards compatible with previous Wii U and 3DS game discs and cartridges. The dock holds the console and transfers the image from the tablet to a television screen and is capable of displaying the image in 1080p. The Joy-Con controllers is probably the most versatile aspect of this gaming system. When using the tablet to play solo games users can slide on Joy-Con controller on each side and use the tablet like the Wii U gamepad. If there is more than one player, removing the Joy-Con controllers will turn it into two separate controllers each with an analog stick and 4 buttons. When the console is docked, players can slide the controllers into the Joy-Con grip allowing them to use a more standard looking game controller to play their games. Both controllers have haptic feedback, which just means that the controllers will apply forces or vibrations depending on what occurs in the game. The right controller is NFC enabled to detect Amiibo and other toys that would be used in game, while the left Joy-Con has infrared sensors to detect motion. Both Joy-Con’s have a capture button allowing users to take screenshots. Users can buy a charging grip controller for $30 if they decide that the grip controller that came with the console is not good enough and for those that want a more traditional game controller, they can purchase the Switch Pro controller for $70.

A gaming console would be nothing without any games, but while there are a decent amount of games being developed for the Nintendo Switch, the release dates for many of them are still unclear. Some of the new games that will be releasing for the Switch console include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, FIFA, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, several Dragon Quest games, Super Mario Odyssey (a new take on the Super Mario franchise where the game is set in the real world, and Arms, a multiplayer cartoon boxing game.

Nintendo compared to Sony and Microsoft has not being doing comparatively well in the console world and with Sony being the first platform to incorporate VR into their gaming, competing with these two dominant companies has been a struggle. The first table below shows the number of Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles sold during their launch week in November of 2012. The second table shows the annual sales of each company in 2016.

Number of Wii U, Xbox 360, and PS3 Consoles Sold During Launch Week
Nintendo's Wii U Sony's PS3 Microsoft's Xbox 360
400k 525k 750k

Annual sales of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft
Nintendo Sony Microsoft
$4.67 Billion $75.03 Billion $85.32 Billion

Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo has addressed the issue with VR and has stated that Switch will eventually incorporate VR gaming when they can figure out a way to make it more comfortable. Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo America, previously had concerns about moving into VR believing that for it to succeed it would need to be social and fun. While Nintendo currently has no plans to make their own VR products, patents have been sent in teasing the likelihood of its incorporation in the future.

The Nintendo Switch is set to release on March 3, 2017 with two configurations (one with gray Joy-Con controllers, and one with a red and a blue Joy-Con controller) retailing for $300.

Works Cited

Cranz, Alex. "Nintendo Switch: Everything You Need to Know About the Ambitious Shape-Shifting Console." Gizmodo. Gizmodo, 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

Richter, Felix. "Wii U Outsold by Xbox 360 and PS3 in Launch Week." Statista. Statista, 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Sakar, Samit. "Nintendo ‘studying’ Switch VR support." Polygon. Vox Media, 1 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

"Sony 2016 Key Numbers ." Hoovers. Dun & Bradstreet Company, 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Stein, Scott. "Nintendo Switch wants to be your only game console, bridging handheld and TV (hands-on)." CNET. CNET, 17 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.