Console giants Nintendo today announced yesterday that their long-awaited new console, the Nintendo Switch, will be released worldwide on March the 3rd.
The console itself is an evolution of the gamepad introduced by the Wii U, with a tablet-style screen incorporating two slots on either side to accommodate a pair of detachable joystick controllers if desired. For playing at home, the unit can be plugged into a small dock that sits underneath the TV and used with a traditional controller instead. The device also incorporates touch-sensitivity, and the same movement detection technology currently used in the Wii Remote.
Other features of the device include a 32Gb internal storage (expandable via MicroSD), a suite of smartphone-style apps for communication both in and out of game, multiplayer online gaming, and an end to the practice of region-locking games to the continent on which they were bought.
Price points for the new console range from $299 in the US to £280 in the UK, a cost some analysts and commentators considered high given the commercial failure of the Wii U. Industry analysts commented that this was a watershed moment for Nintendo. “This is not an impulse purchase or as cheap as other recent Nintendo consoles and at this price point Nintendo will be competing with existing consoles and tablets” said Piers Harding-Rolls of HIS Technology. “As a result, communicating the unique aspects of the Switch, particularly the capabilities of the Joy-Con controllers and its exclusive content, through marketing spend will be key”.
Others were less bullish. Nintendo’s share price fell 5% upon the announcement, and Paul Jackson of Ovum stated that “Pure console gamers are likely to be disappointed here as it will probably be a powerful mobile device, battery allowing, but a comparatively weedy dedicated home one”.