Nintendo Switch Launches on March 3 for US$299.99
Nintendo revealed during its livestream presentation on Friday that it will release its hybrid home/handheld Switch game system on March 3 in Japan, the United States, Canada, major European countries, Hong Kong, and other territories. The console will be priced at 29,980 yen in Japan, and US$299.99 in North America.
The Switch will have a paid online service, but it will be free on launch until fall. Through this online service, users will be able to set up online games, play appointments, and chat with friends. The console will have no region locking for games. Nintendo stated that there are over 80 games in development for the console.
The console’s battery life will be from 2.5 to 6 hours, depending on the game. The console can be charged while playing with a USB Type-C cable. Up to eight consoles can connect to each other in local area network.
Nintendo will offer Joy-Con controllers in neon blue and neon red colors in addition to the default grey. The Joy-Con controller itself has an IR camera that can sense hand shapes and distances from the sensor. The controller will have an HD rumble feature, and will also allow players to take screenshots, with a video capture option available sometime after launch. The Joy-Con controller can also read and write amiibo data. Nintendo will offer two Switch packages, with one package bundled with the grey Joy-Con, and the another bundled with the neon blue and red Joy-Con.
The game package will come with the console, wrist straps, the left and right Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con grip, an HDMI cable, and an AC adaptor. The Pro controller is sold separately.
The Nintendo Switch offers a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor with an NVIDIA GPU, a built-in high-definition display, detachable Joy-Con controllers, and the Nintendo Switch Dock for connecting the system to a television.
A user can play games several ways: 1) hold a detached Joy-Con controller in each hand, 2) use two controllers when they are attached directly to the main Switch device, 3) split the two controllers with a second player, or 4) attach the controllers to a Joy-Con Grip accessory. The player can also use an optional Nintendo Switch Pro controller instead of the Joy-Con controllers. In addition, groups can “bring their Nintendo Switch systems together to enjoy local multiplayer face-to-face competition.”
Nintendo previously announced 48 publishers, developers and middleware partners who are supporting the system. Nintendo said that the Switch is not compatible with Wii U game discs or Nintendo 3DS cards, and added that the Nintendo Switch is not designed to be the successor to either earlier system. However, Nintendo did not confirm or deny the Switch’s ability to play earlier systems’ games via digital download or emulation.