Archives for posts with tag: Console launches

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo have finally unveiled their next platform, and it’s called Nintendo Switch.

Coming next March, Nintendo debuted the machine in a three-minute lifestyle video this afternoon, and it seems the rumours were right. The Switch sees Nintendo merging their handheld and home console strategies into one flexible platform, with a tablet that you can either attach tiny controllers to and take on the go, or dock at home to connect to your television. The console uses 3DS-like cartridges for its games because, obviously, you aren’t going to want to take a wallet of optical discs with you when you’re out and about, and while handy, this would seem to be the death knell for physical backward compatibility.

We’re yet to see official specs for the system, but NVIDIA this afternoon revealed that the Switch is powered by a custom Tegra system-on-chip – an ARM part, and another detail that has long been rumoured. Given that we don’t know what this custom SoC actually is (both X1 and the upcoming X2 have been rumoured), it’s difficult to guess at how the Switch will perform – at least relative to the Wii U, as it’s unlikely to trouble either Xbox One or PS4 in performance. But more important than that, surely, are the games that the machine will run.

If the leaks and rumours have taken a bit of the surprise out of the console reveal, there was at least the unexpected appearance of the upcoming Skyrim remaster in the reveal trailer, as someone was shown playing Bethesda’s fantasy RPG on a plane, before returning home to dock the tablet and continue their adventure. Also present were Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon, two titles which have been rumoured to be getting ports to the new platform, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, NBA 2k17 and a 3D Mario game. Nintendo have also announced a selection of the third party support the Switch will, hopefully, enjoy, which includes names like Telltale, Take Two, From Software and more. You can see a larger list on this handy slide.

So let’s talk a little more about the hardware. As above, we don’t have specs yet, but we can talk in a bit more detail about the ways in which you’ll play the Switch. The tablet comes with two small detachable controllers, each containing an analogue stick and a collection of face buttons. These ‘Joy-Cons’ can be used separately, with one in each hand, or attached to a controller-shaped unit called the Joy-Con Grip to create a more traditional, albeit odd-looking, controller option. The Joy Cons can also be used for multiplayer games, with each player using one, and then there’s the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller as a separate option.

Swicth Options

It’s an interesting strategy for sure, and I think it makes sense given Nintendo’s relative strengths; their handhelds have pretty much always outpaced their home consoles in sales, and it’s hard not to argue that the 3DS has enjoyed better third party support than the Wii U. Indeed, even in an apparently shrinking handheld market, the 3DS has managed almost 60 million sales, so it’s not a bad idea for Nintendo to make an attempt at unifying both of those markets. With the Switch being fully capable of handheld play, it’ll be interesting to see how long the company continue to support their current portable system, but if the Switch comes in at a reasonable price and gets the next mainline Pokémon game, it could do very well for itself indeed.

The Switch concept is unlikely to do much for those that have been clamouring for Nintendo to just release a simple, traditional home console free of gimmickry or new ideas, but as someone who plays handhelds quite a lot, I’m pretty optimistic about it. I love my Vita, but one of the reasons I was excited for it in the first place was the promise of console quality games on the go. While there’s still a ton of interesting games coming to that platform, the bigger budget titles have long since dried up. With Switch, the possibility has returned, and even if third party content does slow to a Wii U-style trickle, there’s still the promise of playing Nintendo’s own games, like Breath of the Wild, while you’re on the go.

For now, we’ll have to wait for hardware specs and launch pricing, but you can check out the unveil trailer below.

Nintendo of Europe president Satoru Shibata has announced that his company’s latest home console will hit shop shelves at the end of November – a week prior to its Japanese street date. He added that retailers will shortly be announcing pricing – I’m guessing we’ll see a similar scenario to the 3DS launch, whereby retailers could set their own RRP.

Given the December 8th date announced earlier today for Japan, I had thoroughly expected the Wii U to launch in Europe around March. Nintendo have certainly put me firmly in my place! Of course, common sense dictates that NoE would want to see the machine available in the run-up to Christmas, but all too often, common sense does not prevail. It’s gratifying to see that, in this instance, it does.

A list of launch titles has also been unveiled today, as well as a number of games that will see release throughout the console’s launch period.

Launch Day Games:

  • FIFA 13
  • Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
  • Nano Assault Neo
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • NintendoLand
  • Rayman Legends
  • Trine 2: Directors Cut
  • Toki Tori 2
  • ZombiU

Launch Window games:

  • 007 Legends
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Darksiders 2
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
  • Game & Wario
  • Game Party Champions
  • Just Dance 4
  • Lego City: Undercover
  • Madden NFL 13
  • Marvel Avengers 3 Ultimate
  • NBA 2K13
  • Ninja Gaiden: Razor’s Edge
  • Rabbids Land
  • Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game
  • Runner 2: Future Legend of Rythm Alien
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited
  • SING Party
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Sports Connection
  • Tank! Tank! Tank!
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
  • Transformers Prime
  • Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013

Online retailers have yet to set a price for the Wii U hardware (though ShopTo have both black and white models up for £279.99, I expect this to change), with product pages simply allowing potential buyers to register their interest. I’ll update as and when pricing is announced.

Amazon have listed the Wii U Basic (white) 8GB model at £220. There is currently no price for the 32GB black model. ShopTo, meanwhile, have the basic model listed for £247.85, and the premium for £279.99., Game and Gamestation are yet to reveal pricing.

So, a new console launch is almost upon us. Who’s excited?

Nintendo of Japan has detailed its launch plans for the Wii U, which will land on store shelves there on December 8.

The new console will come in two configurations: The Basic Wii U is white and comes with 8GB of in-built flash storage, whilst a premium black model offers 32GB of memory and a Nintendo Network Premium subscription. The subscription is a loyalty scheme that nets the subscriber eShop points and 10% back from digital purchases. Purchasing the premium console is the only way to get the subscription, which will run until December 2014.

The two models will cost 26,250 Yen (around £210) and 31,500 Yen (roughly £250) respectively. Separate GamePads are set to retail for an eye-watering 13,440 Yen (about £107 – yikes!), while the 360-like Pro Controller will be 5,000 Yen (£39).

We should be hearing European release information in the next couple of hours, along with launch line-up details, so I’ll be following up on this when we know more.