If you haven't heard already where have you been, man? Nintendo has recently released a first look at their brand-spanking new console, the Switch. This hybrid, little box of badassery was all I was able to think and talk about all evening, much to the detriment of anyone in earshot.
But with these conversations come a lot of unanswered questions, and Lord knows Switch's teaser trailer had a load of points that needed to be cleared up. I've thought of eight that may have crossed your mind over the last few days. So, feel free to come with me as I speculate timidly:
8 Questions We Have For Nintendo Switch
Do The Joy-Con Controllers Have Shoulder Buttons?
Short Answer: Yes
This is an interesting point (if I may say so myself) that could render the Switch a dud even before it takes off. In the promo trailer we see reams of millennials playing interaction-intense games with Switch's Joy-Con controllers. Like there's those four bros playing NBA 2K17 and those two dudes playing a revamped Mario Kart 8. But these games all require shoulder buttons for maximum playability.
Luckily for us and the Switch, nestled away discreetly at the top of the Joy-Con are four shoulder buttons arranged in a row, similar to the shoulder layout on the Wii Classic Controller.
Whether or not the shoulder buttons will also act as a mechanism for the Joy-Cons to tell the Switch that they are connected is anyone's guess.
Does Switch Have A Touchscreen?
Short Answer: We're not sure yet and Nintendo won't comment.
All of Nintendo's latest consoles have had touchscreen capability, from the 3DS to the Wii U, and rightfully so. We live in an age where nearly every device has abilities on par with the another, lest it gets left behind in an increasingly competitive tech industry. When asked by Eurogamer about the inclusion of a touch screen, Nintendo said:
We have nothing to announce on this topic [...] We will make additional announcements about the Nintendo Switch hardware later, before the launch of the product.
If Switch wasn't to have a touchscreen, that would be a bold statement of intent on Nintendo's part. This would mean the Switch is a gaming device first and foremost. You already have a smartphone that can browse and Spotify and Netflix. Go play some Zelda instead!
But if Nintendo are directly competing with high-end tablets, then you'd better believe Switch will have a touchscreen.
Though the trailer was lacking people prodding at Switch's screen, I believe there's a good chance of touch capability. Which means a new stylus! Gotta love those things...
Will Switch Be Backwards Compatible?
Short Answer: No, at least not for physical games
With the word that Switch will be using cartridges (GameCards) for its gaming fun, it'll be safe to say it won't be physically backwards compatible with Wii and Wii U, because they both use discs.
Bad news for 3DS fans too. Even though the 3DS uses GameCards, its carts are a different shape to that of the Switch. So we'll more than likely be gazing at the Virtual Console for our nostalgic fix.
Will Switch Act As A Second Screen?
Short Answer: No, but it's still a handheld
The main selling point of the WIi U, despite boasting some of Nintendo's best first party titles, was that you could use its GamePad as a second screen. If somebody came along with the purpose of disrupting your Nintendo time so they could watch some banal TV series, the Wii U would stream the game to your hands and you could simply continue the play on your clunky tablet. Aces!
But it seems Switch is doing away with that function. The console works as either a handheld or a home console, nothing in between. So this means you'll have to actually slide the device out of its dock and go about your Nintendo time elsewhere. Unless you have a fine pair of headphones, gamer.
But that's not a bad thing right? At least you won't have to worry about the signal getting choppy the further you move away from your TV. Or you could maybe buy more than one dock? Hmm...
How Good Is The Switch's Battery?
Short Answer: As a rough estimate based on comparable products, around 4 hours undocked.
As it currently stands Nintendo has been fairly tight-lipped regarding Switch's battery life. Which is nothing to worry about, it's still early days. Though despite Ninty's claims that they want to hold off before releasing anymore info, that hasn't stopped us from analyzing the brains of Nintendo's Switch, the Tegra X1.
The Switch uses a customized version of Nvidia's powerful mobile processor, whose vanilla version also runs in Google's top notch Pixel C tablet. If we were to compare both the Switch and Pixel C, the battery life in that runs for around eight hours under intense usage at an outrageous 2560x1800 resolution.
Now if traditional Nintendo are anything to go by, we can be assured that they won't be aiming to have that kind of graphical overkill for gaming on the go. Maybe for when Switch is docked, but never for mobile. So with that in mind, considering Switch will probably run at 1080x720, we're more than likely looking at battery life of around five hours or more thanks to the Switch's supposed lower resolution.
And that's even if the Switch uses the X1. Nvidia's Tegra X2 is set to start shipping in products soon, and will bring a new lease of power to mobile devices. So that may also hint to why the Switch was pushed back to Q1 2017.
What Games Will Be Releasing On Switch?
Short Answer: Lots! (hopefully)
Alongside Switch's trailer Nintendo released an extensive list of the third party publishers and developers who have pledged allegiance to House Mario. From Activision, to Bethesda and through to From Software, Nintendo Switch has an amazing show of support from the biggest players in the industry. But will we be expecting to play Call of Duty, Fallout 4 and the Souls series on the hybrid?
Possibly! Though the trailer is in no way representative of what titles we'll be playing on Switch, it's fair to believe that the console could run Skyrim and NBA 2K17, amongst Ninty's own extensive back catalog. The Switch will be a pretty tasty little machine, not on par with the power of PS4 and Xbox One, but if this means I'll be able to play frostbite engine FIFA on the toilet, who cares!
What we do know for sure is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will definitely be making its presence felt on Switch, as will Just Dance 2017 and Dragon Quest 11. And more than likely a Super Mario-shaped launch title...?
Will Switch Have Motion Control?
Short Answer: We don't know yet
Again, the trailer didn't give much away in that regard, but I think it could be safe to say that Nintendo are looking to move away from the gimmicks of their past consoles. Barring cartridges of course. As a tablet device I'm sure Switch will have the usual gyroscopes and accelerometers to register the device's movement, but I doubt Joy-Con will have motion control. Not to say that it isn't possible though...
How Much Will Switch Cost?
Short Answer: Good question
That is the question, my friend! The question to which I have no answer, but it's a good one nonetheless! A little while ago, a rumor conjured up by a Reddit user, claiming to work for a huge retail company, sprung up on the site relating to Switch's pricing. The rumor suggested Switch's base model would retail for $299, whilst a bundle would go for a cool $399.
What could be in the bundle is anyone's guess, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was a game (say Super Mario or BotW) and a Grip peripheral.
I guess we'll have to stay tuned till next year's reveals to really sate our appetites. Until then sit tight and keep warm till everyone's new second console gets switched on!
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