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Nintendo Switch – New Video Game System · 942 HN points · 3 HN comments
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Learn about and purchase the Nintendo Switch™ and Nintendo Switch Lite gaming systems.
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Jan 13, 2017 · jsheard on Nintendo Switch

> Battery life can last for more than six hours, but will vary depending on the software and usage conditions.

> For example, The Legend of Zelda™: Breath of the Wild can be played for roughly 3 hours on a single charge.

Jan 13, 2017 · morinted on Nintendo Switch
People will be able to try out the console at the NY Nintendo Store at 9:30AM ET:
Jan 13, 2017 · electic on Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch Product Pages:



Each of these pages has videos from the presentation.

Oct 20, 2016 · 942 points, 539 comments · submitted by ocdtrekkie
If there's a "switch" here, it's Nintendo finally taking feedback from customers and third parties seriously.

Console with graphical power that rivals Xbox One and PS4. Check.

Industry-standard architecture and tooling (Unity), allowing third parties to flood in. Check.

Blends their successful portable division with their console division (this has been a common refrain for awhile now). Check.

They already addressed multiplayer, although they could go further with that.

This is going to be a major windfall for them.

> Console with graphical power that rivals Xbox One and PS4. Check.

Where do you get this from? The specs haven't been released and they're showcasing some previous-gen games. I doubt this will have the processing power of the original Xbox One or PS4, let alone the souped-up versions of those consoles that are coming soon.

yet to be fair, the very modest gamecube had some of the best franchises around (Metroid Prime a total classic), and even the PS2 did wonders on Shadow of the Colossus. It's almost as if, when the hardware is not supreme, creativity becomes more important?
The Gamecube was far from modest for its time - IIRC, it was the most powerful console until the Xbox came along.
fair enough (and yes I now remember that it did have an Ati sticker on the front - you're right), but the point is that awesome gameplay is not a positively sloped function of hardware power. The correlation, once certain thresholds are met, appears to be zero if not negative.
Having horsepower doesn't hurt, no matter how much Nintendo PR will try to spin it that way.
More horsepower can hurt because it's more expensive to produce content for (textures/polygons/realism expectations), and more money on the line for the studio means less creative risk taking permitted.
Possibly true in 2002 - not today, not since indie developed games got popular.
An easy way to reject that hypothesis is to consider the utter load of shovelware that Nintendo consoles attract, because top-tier studios stay away in droves.
does a bigger pile of stuff reject the hypothesis that the top of the pile can be more creative?
Or maybe it isn't graphics that make the game but rather the gameplay itself?
Mostly true, but improved graphical fidelity can add to the immersion and experience. But also, compute power doesn't mean solely graphical compute - more power means more advanced AI, faster menus, higher maximum players in multiplayer, and so on.
While I agree with you, it's also possible to flip the argument that improved graphical fidelity as the immersive experience may cover the tendency to rehash the same story lines and action in a different setting.
> graphical fidelity can add to the immersion and experience

Does it? Do you think people playing Doom this year have a more immersive experience than I had playing Doom on my 486? A better experience?

It actually does the opposite for me. Back when every polygon was precious I new what to look at, nowadays that's so much distracting stuff on screen I get lost.
I'm nowadays a PC-gamer myself owning a hefty computer and I love beautiful games like Witcher 3.

But I still think Nintendo has some of the best games ever made on their consoles. Take a look into Super Mario Galaxy series, how they just work, are nice to navigate and play, how you can play the games over and over again and have fun even years after their release. Sure they don't have the fastest hardware, but what they can do with it is just amazing.

I played through the two Galaxy games, the second one I think twice since you get Luigi after the first run... Maybe 8 months ago I was playing through Resident Evil 4 on the Wii to keep myself from buying the PC version, and when I finished I booted up SMG2 again to show a friend, and I was struck by how terrible it has aged... If I do play it again it'll be on the Dolphin Emulator. (4k 60hz SMG2 actually looks really nice:

On the other hand I have hundreds of games on Steam I need to play but sometimes when I just want some random fun for a while I'll dig out some old SNES games (or launch an emulator). No one denies you can make incredible games on weak hardware, but you can't make certain types of incredible games without powerful hardware. And in any case you can always make some really crappy games.

I can't even seriously take the "but Nintendo does good gameplay and design even if their hardware sucks" rationalization anymore. With the possible exception of Splatoon (haven't played it), the other Wii U titles I have played at a friend's (I don't own the console) have, despite raising my expectations, systematically disappointed me in some major way due precisely to the gameplay, not the graphics: Super Mario 3D World, Star Fox Zero (that one hurt the most), Pikmin 3 (actually not so bad but no replay value), Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and maybe a couple others I'm forgetting. The next Zelda game is their last chance for me and every gameplay demo I've seen has set my expectations real low.

What about 3D World 'systematically disappointed you' in a 'major way'?
In short, the level design. I felt the hints of what annoyed me when I was playing the two Galaxy games, and this video really summed up what I find terribly wrong (as opposed to brilliant) with the design: It's lazy design. There are other complaints (even other specific issues with the level design I experienced) but that's the big one, it's so bad I don't want to play it ever again, let alone finish it.
Specs haven't been released, but nvidia has a press release claiming it is powered by a custom tegra processor:

It's probably safe to assume it will be a customized version the latest or an upcoming model. I believe this puts the system in the PS4/Xbone ballpark.

Unless there is a separate GPU contained within that docking station that is extremely unlikely to have the processing power of a PS4/Xbox One and especially so the PS4+ and Xbox One+. That would mean that either some games could not be played while in mobile mode or they will be degraded significantly performance/graphics wise when in mobile mode.

There is just no way they could pack the hardware/cooling/battery into a mobile device.

I was thinking before the blog post confirmed the Tegra (and I had already known of the Tegra rumors from months ago) that by March 2017 it ought to be possible to stick one and maybe two GTX 1080s in that form factor... There's already a laptop that crammed two of them inside. That would make for a killer powerhouse. Of course it's modern Nintendo, they don't care about technical capability...
maybe by having a smaller rendering target (lower res) on mobile they can run just fine.
Nvidia X1 already is 1 tflops GPU and the X2 (which is likely to be in the nintendo) is going to be around 1.5 tflops. Those are mobile SoC's with CUDA cores, fit OK in tablets (Pixel C has one), X1 peak power consumption is about 10 watts.

Xbox one GPU is 1.3 tflops and PS4 is 1.8 tflops. So in the same ballpark

That 1 TFLOPS on the Tegra is for 16-bit floats I believe while the TFLOPS on the Xbox One and PS4 are for 32-bit floats.
That is a good catch, double speed FP16, so FP32 perf should be half that on the X1. While useful for some things (like neural network inference and I guess some shaders) it's not directly comparable - NVidia style marketing
This was the same deal with how CPUs were (mis)marketed for years. Higher clockspeeds don't mean anything unless the pipelines are identical. A much smarter chip with larger cache sizes, branch prediction, SIMT, ultra-wide registers, better instruction caching, etc might have half the clockspeed of a dumber chip and outperform it by a huge margin. GPUs are no different in that texture caches, vertex buffer sizes, warp sizes, etc all play a big part and you really can't compare flops unless comparing two GPUs of the same product line.
1. tflops is pretty meaningless, especially between different GPU architectures.

2. Both Xbox and PS4 consume around 100W. Unless the Switch has 10x the perf/watt, it seems like performance won't be comparable.

3. Both Xbox and PS4 have massive heat sinks and fans, so they'll be able to sustain higher perf for longer.

The X1/X2 are big.LITTLE setups. Between that and various other leaks, it seems that the Switch is designed to run on the low-power LITTLE CPU/GPU in mobile mode and on the beefier Watt-burning big cores when docked.

Not clear on how they're cooling it, though

> I believe this puts the system in the PS4/Xbone ballpark

That's it? The PS4 is three years old now. They should be able to make something significantly better at this point.

The PS4 doesn't run on a battery though, so if they can get roughly the same power with a much lower power consumption it's already really good.
That's a good point, hadn't thought of the battery.

Apple is claiming that the iPhone 7 has console-level graphics capabilities. If that's true (and I have no idea what that actually means), then Nintendo should be able to come up with something even better since they have so much more room for battery and have lots of expertise in making consoles.

It is purely marketing.
Good find. I doubt an ARM64 based Tegra can compete just yet with an x86_64 chip, even if made by AMD.
The x86-64 chip in question is AMD's Jaguar design which was meant to be used in tablets. The only reason the consoles had more power than you'd get in a tablet at launch is because they had 8 cores at high clock speeds while an actual tablet using Jaguar would presumably only have 2. It's been a few years and the ARM64 designs are pretty impressive so if this is a quad core part or better it should be competitive.
Very unlikely that this has performance that competes with Sony and Microsoft. This is an integrated GPU on a battery-powered device with limited thermal regulation. The PS4 and Xbox One are always plugged in to AC and have plenty of space for a proper cooling system.

That's OK, this time the console actually takes advantage of weaker performance to offer a better form-factor. Whether that tradeoff satisfies consumers is yet to be seen.

> This is an integrated GPU

You say that like it's supposed to imply it's worse for some reason.

> battery-powered device with limited thermal regulation.

The Xbox one and PS4 were both released about three years ago. Almost three and a half by the time the Switch is released. That's a long time for Moore's law to operate, and it's easier for GPUs to take advantage of that phenomenon, since they are extremely parallel.

At 14-15 mm, the portable portion is actually a bit thicker (if smaller) than a new MacBook. Without the need for a keyboard or a clam shell design, that's probably quite a bit of usable space. I'm not sure why we should be surprised by claims of performance matching three year old systems.

Moore's law has been dead for about a decade bro.

3 years is a long time but IMO not enough to being a 100+ watt SoC down to ~20-30 required for that form factor.

That being said, Nvidia is still much more energy efficient graphics wise vs AMD so I could see it getting fairly close - maybe 70-80%. CPU wise though I doubt they'll be as close just because of power.

The only reason to think Moore's law is dead now, much less a decade ago, is if you don't know what Moore's law actually is.[1] I don't blame you for that though, it was incorrectly explained for decades.

Moore's law refers to the number of transistors, not speed. We've consistently added more transistors to CPUs, but through separate cores,since there are problems related to doing that usefully with a single core. Now, that's been of mixed benefit to some programs, because not all problems, programs, or programmers can effectively take advantage of multiple cores, or at least not effectively. GPUs though, are doing work that is "embarrassingly parallel", and thus can effectively utilize this increase in transistors and cores. For example, the GeForce Titan X has 3072 CUDA cores.[2]

The GeForce GTX 760 (maybe a mid-range desktop part?) was released June 25, 2013 with a retail price of $249.[3] The GeForce GTX 980M (second newest generation mobile part) was released October 7, 2014 (two years ago!).[3] It trounces the desktop part from one year prior.[4] We've had a year since then. I don't think there's any problem hitting the performance of the last generation of consoles, at least as far as the GPU is concerned.

Edit: Switched from 980 to 980M to clearly indicate a mobile part, which only makes the release a year earlier for the mobile part, but doesn't really change the outcome.





ther perf gains you're seeing are from architectural and software advancements not pure silicon

you cite nvidia as an example against it but nvidia itself clearly does is not of the same opinion


Poor reporting:

Moore's law describes that trend for computing performance – processing speed, memory capacity and the like - to double approximately every two years, named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, who first outlined his theory back in 1965.

That's not what Moore's law is, and is an example of what I meant when I said it was incorrectly explained for decades. The very first paragraph of the Wikipedia article I originally cited shows this.

The other articles seem to be about density scaling, which is only part of what goes into "how many transistors you can fit into a dense integrated circuit." Cores, obviously, allow us to mitigate this to some degree.

For example, in this[1] article, you'll find a graph that shows transistor count over time. It's fairly easy to see that as of a couple years ago, Moore's law was still going strong.


>You say that like it's supposed to imply it's worse for some reason.

It does because of thermals.

Don't integrated units produce less heat? Do you mind expanding on this so I know what you are referring to?
They produce less heat because they are an inferior versions of a standalone GPU. It's harder to extract heat from two chips in the same space (CPU and GPU) than two separate chips, also you're limited in chip space for transistor count. (I'm assuming inferior refers to compute performance and integrated means integrated on to the same chip btw., if that's not what you meant then ignore my comment).
> They produce less heat because they are an inferior versions of a standalone GPU.

Isn't that entirely based on what they integrate? The market has traditionally been such that integrated units are for cost, and so are paired with cheaper GPU components. I don't know of any technical reason that integrated units use low end GPU specs, just business reasons. Any normal market pressures would be different in this case, based on the size of the order and specific needs.

> I'm assuming inferior refers to compute performance

Inferior based on maximum possible compute performance, sure. The top of the line dedicated GPU will have more leeway to work with than the top of the line integrated, but we're hardly talking about top of the line, we're talking about matching three year old hardware.

Agreed. They show off Skyrim which is an xbox 360 game.
Presumably it is the upcoming remaster, which is Xbox One & PS4.
It appears to the the upcoming definitive edition remaster.

It looks like the power is somewhere between Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

The specs I saw showed it with 4 GBs of ram, which would put it clearly above Xbox 360/PS3 power and even a bit above the Wii U, which can do way better looking games than Xbox 360/PS3.

We shall see what the final specs and games look like, but what they showed off looked pretty good. It won't be PS4 Pro or Xbox One Scorpio powerful, but it's a device you can use on the go (or for second-screen gaming, which might be the killer app here).

There is a lot of speculation in the community that when docked, additional video processing will be available in the hardware within the dock.

When undocked, they can scale down resolution and frame rate for the smaller screen.

It could be that the chip itself is throttled when in handheld mode, and the dock provides additional power and cooling, as an alternative take on that option.
The higher end Intel NUC's work this way, would be cool if this was true
>There is a lot of speculation in the community that when docked, additional video processing will be available in the hardware within the dock.

Doubt it. Not a trivial problem to solve technically and console pricing is inflexible - they need to sell this thing for under $400, and Nintendo hates subsidizing hardware.

One concept that seems feasible - if the portable device is vented but lacking airflow for cooling, power that airflow with fans in the dock. Then, when docked, overclock the chip (or underclock when undocked).

This all presupposes, though, that the hardware they're packing in the portable unit is comparable to what's in the PS4/XBO or their newer equivalents.

USB C connector Alternate Mode can be used to carry PCIe signals (without Thunderbolt). Switching GPUs is a well solved problem for nVidia, they call it Optimus. By now this is a technically solved problem, no problems.
I don't think with the nVidia blog posts and the pictures of the dock that they're hiding a more powerful GPU in the dock. If it were I'd expect a larger dock to provide more cooling to the docked GPU and some mention of 2 GPUs or GPU switching in the nVidia blog post about the Switch.
This I do not know; I was just commenting on "Not a trivial problem to solve technically".
>By now this is a technically solved problem, no problems.

Is it? We're not talking about load balancing GPUs - we're talking about a GPU just disappearing underneath you (like when the user picks up the Switch), while maintaining context and dynamically lowering quality - I can't imagine that being a trivial problem.

But that's not the major issue here. Nintendo is going to have to sell this thing for under $400. A mid-market smart-phone costs that much. Shipping a dock with a high performance GPU along with the actual portable isn't going to happen.

I seriously doubt its going to be as powerful as Sony or Microsofts current consoles. Eurogamer did a decent anaylsis of a Tegra processor, which should be similar to what nintendo are using in the Switch. I would assume Nintendo chose a processor that can give good battery life, rather than raw horsepower.
See one of the comments: nVidia is providing the graphical hardware.
I'm aware. The link I provided is from a few months ago when rumors about that were going around. Also its not just the graphics hardware, the Tegra is a CPU/GPU combo.
Not sure about that first one. We'll have to wait for the specs to release first.
Well, it's coming 1.5 years late to the game, I hope the graphic power is at least on par with the original PS4.
In that form factor? Unlikely.

My guess would be somewhere around PS3/360 performance, perhaps with better graphics.

The Switch uses a custom Nvidia Tegra processor which would give it at minimum the performance of the PS4, likely better:
Would it necessarily? I can't imagine them packing that kind of power into a battery-powered tablet, especially with Nintendo's historical priorities.

Edit: Pastebin has what purports to be a spec sheet[1], but this 1024 FLOPS/cycle business sounds inscrutable to me and it's not verifiable anyway.


If you think of the use cases they showed in the demo, they're not using the battery for extended amounts of time. The guy was playing while his dog did its business. That's a few minutes, maybe 15 minutes. Maybe half an hour if the dog wants to play a bit. My dogs usually tire themselves out at the dog park in about that time.

The guy playing at the airport, you might be waiting up to an hour. When he got on the plane, he plugged it in.

The guys at the basketball game seemed like they were killing time while they cooled down, maybe up to an hour.

The person at the rooftop party, she was at a party. They're probably not playing for hours.

The people in the car, I don't remember if they plugged it in or not but they could have, or they'd be playing on a short trip.

The one case where the person is in tablet-mode for an extended period of time, he sat down and immediately plugged it in. I wouldn't be surprised if we find an hour or two of battery life with the most taxing games.

The Wii U already has noticeably better graphics than the PS3/360. This will presumably go quite a bit further than that.

With Nintendo's strong art design, there are games like Mario Kart 8 that look as good as most PS4/Xbox One games.

They already have 360 parity. Tri-core PPC processors (Wii U is clocked to half of 360 speed but CPU was never really the problem with those games) with AMD GPUs bound directly to the southbridge (Xbox 360 has an R500 equivalent, Wii U has a Radeon HD 4000/R700 equivalent). Also, the Xbox 360 had 512MB of VRAM and no other RAM; Wii U uses 2GB DDR3 with 32MB transparent rendering cache.

The Wii U does more than the 360 with less, already. It's actually a pretty great piece of engineering. And there are already tablets that can kick butt in that form factor ( so it's not unreasonable to think that with the new AMD Polaris tech that they're going to make something awesome.

Having learned from the Wii U, I think Nintendo is going to knock this next one out of the park. My biggest questions are, will there be 4K support, and what's the battery life on the tablet mode?

Wii U was AC-powered and comparatively large. This is a battery-powered handheld. If it matches the Wii U, that will be good.
If you looked at that PDF, you'd see a battery powered tablet that has an Nvidia card matching the Wii U. And it was released some time ago, before Polaris.

As a user of AMD's current Polaris tech, I'm certain this next console will kick butt.

I honestly don't care too much if the graphical power is not up to PS4 or XBox One. Probably doesn't because of the mobile capabilities. If there are great games it doesn't really matter if they are hyper realistic. We saw that with the Wii.
Unfortunately developers care. I loved the Wii, but with very few serious games for it, I stopped playing it.

It's too bad, FPSes on the Wii with the motion controllers were so natural even with the tiny lag.

The Wii U dev program for Unity and HTML5 wasn't that hard to join even before they fully opened it up.

The native program has been what major publishers use though, and that one is harder to get into (It was known as Warioworld)

> Console with graphical power that rivals Xbox One and PS4

Does it?

> Industry-standard architecture and tooling (Unity)

I'm struggling to think of a Unity game that actually looks as good as one of the other modern engines.

Verdun ( looks pretty good. Maybe not AAA good, but close. Normal mapping, particle effects, HDR/bloom, etc.

Umbrella Corps is darn close to AAA as well (

Just because most Unity games are indie doesn't mean that AAA studios can't make a good looking Unity game. It just means that most studios using Unity don't have the money to make a good looking game.

>Console with graphical power that rivals Xbox One and PS4.

Why would you think that? It's a mobile system, running mobile CPU/GPU with a price target of a mid-market smart-phone. It's isn't going to match the PS4 or XboxOne, no way.

>This is going to be a major windfall for them.

Maybe, maybe not. I don't know if they'll be able to run the latest AAA titles, especially with the new MS and Sony consoles coming out soon. So they'll have the same problem as they had with the Wii and WiiU - you buy the console for Nintendo games and that's it.

>Console with graphical power that rivals Xbox One and PS4. Check.

Almost certainly not. It's a tablet, it's very unlikely it's going to equal the home systems with 100W power supplies and huge fans.

Realistically, I'm betting this one is going to lag the competition in terms of specs, and imho that's okay. Nintendo made a huge splash with the Wii while making a weaker device.

This thing has to run on batteries. It has to include mobile-quality batteries and a screen, which is an added cost that other consoles don't have.

With those components in mind, I fully expect it to have comparatively weak hardware so they can hit a comparable price-point.

It's using the next gen Nvidia Tegra (the X2, afaik)
I have seen this reported as a rumour with circumstantial evidence to back it up (why would they release a brand-new flagship product with a 2-year-old chip). Has it been confirmed anywhere yet?
It's on the NVIDIA blog:
Nvidia says it's a custom Tegra with high end Geforce-type specs:
I'm guessing they will ship an Nvidia chipset. Even if this isn't true, we are reaching an age where GPU technology is nearly identical for PC, console, and mobile.
Lagging in specs is a major reason 3rd parties shun Nintendo's consoles. Porting a game between XB1, PS4 and PC is relatively easy due to them all being of similar caliber. But the cutbacks required for porting to Wii U usually means they just don't bother.
The lesser performance can be a setback for Nintendo systems in some ways, but I think the DS and 3DS outperformed their competitors due to having cheaper hardware. The lower price point made appealing-looking games less of a financial commitment.
This started with the real gb in fact, it was much less capable than other systems (but had decent battery life)
I'd say it has more to do with demographics than specs. Nintendo's demographics usually only buy first party titles, and Nintendo hasn't done much to market themselves towards the xbox/ps demographics. If they're paying devs to have Skyrim/NBA on their consoles, that's a good first step, and hopefully a sign of things to come.
It's hard to buy third party titles when the only third party titles are games that came out years ago and that you already own on other platforms... It's also hard to buy first party titles when there are so few, and so few new IP at that (Splatoon, what else?). (I went into a Gamestop for the first time in a while a few weeks ago, was kind of surprised at how limited the Wii U selection still is at the end of its life.) What Nintendo needs is a set of "second party" devs like they had in the N64 era. But that's expensive.
That feels very chicken and egg to me. Nintendo owners don't buy 3rd party games because there aren't very many. And there aren't very many because owners don't buy them.

The SNES had extensive 3rd party support. Obviously it's hard to compare 25 years ago to today, but the SNES and Genesis were really "even". Supporting both systems was a no brainer for most game companies. The N64 threw a curve ball with carts, and 3rd party support tanked. Anecdotally, the GameCube seemed to have better 3rd party support, as it was a very equivalent system to the Xbox and PS2.

>> That feels very chicken and egg to me. Nintendo owners don't buy 3rd party games because there aren't very many. And there aren't very many because owners don't buy them.

Not sure it's about quantity, it's more about quality. When Nintendo's first party software sets a high bar for quality, it makes most of the non AAA titles sold by third parties look like crap, and they usually are.

Third party AAA titles like Just Dance, FIFA, Madden, Tiger Woods Golf etc. sold well enough on the Wii that some sequels were still being produced even after the Wii had become an afterthought. IIRC, Street Fighter IV on the 3DS sold very well too.

Yes, but if they target PC release then realistically they have to support the whole gamut of PCs, including lower-spec ones. If the Switch turns out to have similar video-performance to a low-mid-range consumer video board, then that's realistically something that PC ports will already be supporting.
It helps that the Xbox One and PS4 are basically lower-spec value gamer PCs.That's not the case for any of Nintendo's hardware. It's even lower spec, without any potential crossover compatibility in architecture.
The current consoles are already at the low-mid range of PC video cards. If the Switch is even less powerful than say the Xbox One it will be a pain to support when developing a multi-platform title.
Maybe not a popular opinion right now... but I'm so glad there's at least one brand out there that isn't jumping the 'VR'/'AR' - bandwagon.

I've tried to get into VR with the oculus and the VIVE, but no, it's just not for me. Happy to see Nintendo do what they do best: come up with a great formfactor, but let games be games.

A big part of the 3DS launch was AR [1][2]. They actually used it in unique ways. They haven't yet gone to head based VR/AR but device level like mobile was part of the 3DS pitch/features.

[1] [2]

They might have made a big deal of it at launch but there's barely any gameplay there and I personally didn't use the AR for more than 10 minutes after I first got the 3DS.
Don't know if you own a 3DS, but personally I never used AR again beyond the 5 minutes after unboxing and I got one pretty soon after launch. Is it used in titles in any meaningful way?
I didn't even know the 3DS had AR features and I probably have 300 hours logged at least on it.
When it first launched, that's basically all we had to play.
I didn't even know the 3DS had AR features and I probably have 300 hours logged at least on it.
This is totally not a meaningful use, but one that surprised me when I stumbled across it:

Bravely Default, the Square-Enix RPG, had an intro where a fairy crawled out of my carpet and flitted around. I don't remember any more AR in that game, but it was kind of a neat gimmick that I hadn't seen since unboxing the handheld.

I am a big believer in the future of VR (and possibly AR). But even if it succeeds, there's still a big market for a device like the Switch. It's just a completely different category and good to see what looks like an innovative game console focused on games as we know them.
Nintendo tried VR in 1995, but it did not go well.
Then they tried AR in 2011 with the 3DS. It went better.
It wasn't much better. The cameras on the 3DS are absolutely garbage. AR was a fun pack-in distraction.
I agree with you. I still firmly believe VR/AR will be tech niche.

Nintendo seems to have built something they hope is simple, but entertaining.

If VR technology doesn't advance fast enough to solve its current issues (nausea, lack of DoF and gravitation) in the near future, we will likely enter a period of stagnation like the AI Winter.
This seems prime for AR to me. Head out with your device, catch some pokemon, then plug it into the big screen.
Most plausibly you could connect it to your phone for the AR experience á la Pokémon Go
Meanwhile I'm sitting here wondering if I can shove this thing into a Google Cardboard.
Totally agree. The nature of VR is such that it's as immersive an experience as possible, which just isn't best platform for every type of media consumption. I think it will become more of a niche thing once the hype dies down.
I disagree. I think it's a massive lack of imagination on the part of manufacturers that has led to mediocre deployments.

I think your comment reflects a sentiment that I agree with which is that HMD based systems today do not give the same degree of awe that happened when the NES came out - or even the playstation.

I'd rather see Nintendo invest heavily ($5BN+) in an AR VRD and infrastructure that changes the landscape. But nobody seems to want to do that. Again I chalk it up to lack of imagination/leadership.

Sounds pretty risky, even if they solved the technical side of it there is by no means a proven market.
Right, well that's the the whole point of being a leader - it's risky. Sometimes you fail.
AR needs better hardware still. It needs very powerful GPU:s and processors, running at very low power with good and yet lightweight batteries.

While we probably can produce great AR content today and produce headsets to display it, it will likely take almost another decade before it can be made portable in something you WANT to use.

Yes, that's the whole investment part. That stuff doesn't just appear - you have to build it.
I like VR, but I agree with you. I'm happy Nintendo is trying something different again, even moreso that this actually looks like a good idea (as opposed to the trainwreck of product and marketing that was the Wii U). It's great to have companies focused on different things, helps make gaming better overall.
Very clever. Anchor for home, and again trying for the mobile area where their creativity really worked (3DS). I'll be curious in the system specs and the decisions they made - such as having that apparent card slot. Hooray for the headphone jack.

I'll never understand the marketing motivation to show a bunch of people getting together for a social gathering and togetherness, then cram together to watch / play on something with a screen the size of a hardback novel.

Yeah, the two people playing Mario Kart split screen on that thing was laughable.
I'm a parent - I think it's brilliant and probably the #1 usage the console is going to get!
I've used the Wii U Gamepad to play multiplayer games in the car with my son (you don't need a monitor at all). Yeah it's a bit of a tight squeeze, but still fun.
with half a controller each, too.
Which struck me as a brilliant idea.
I dunno. I'll grant that it's a clever idea but those half-controllers aren't going to have all the buttons that a full controller does, so games using that mode will be restricted in what controls they have. Plus, the ergonomics is not going to be as good as a full controller as well.
It looks like they've kept the D-Pad in so it can double as the A/B/X/Y buttons in that situation, which I think is a really clever way to alleviate some of that issue. I think the type of games where this use case makes sense probably don't need a large number of buttons anyways, though.
> those half-controllers aren't going to have all the buttons that a full controller does

What are you talking about?

They looked like they're basically small Wii controllers.
But they don't need to have all the buttons or even be ergonomic; they just need to be convenient enough that there's nothing else that provides the same functionality or better. Everything else just affects the quality of the experience, but that determines whether anyone even buys it.
As the years go on and my fingers get more wear and tear, my first question seeing the tiny controller option was "I wonder how bad my hand will cramp using this" but it looks absolutely perfect for kids.
The "half" controller is basically a full super nintendo controller
If each half of the controller is similar to a Wii Remote (+-pad and two or three buttons and an accelerometer/gyroscope) then it'll be plenty to play a lot of Wii U games.
I can't imagine how complicated it must be to develop a decent game that works with a full controller, half a controller, 2 full controllers, 4x1/2 controllers, etc
I'm sure there's an abstraction over all of it. The game just has to support N controllers. The number of inputs necessary to drive mariokart are pretty small (turning, acceleration, menus, items). Other than maybe displaying some specific images for each controller type, I doubt the game actually cares deeply about the full vs half controller.
Wii U devs are already doing that kind of thing. Mario Kart 8 supports a ridiculous variety of controllers from both the Wii and the Wii U, which actually is great if you're me because you can suddenly do four-player Mario Kart thanks to those old Wiimotes lying around!

I hope the Switch can still talk to Wiimotes. Even if they drop sensor bar and the ability to point (which will prevent most Wii games coming to Virtual Console without substantial modifications), being able to pair with one and use the nunchuck or the classic controller would be great for someone like me who has a Wii gathering dust and a Wii U on active service.

Given that the sensor bar is just two IR diodes spaced apart, it's not unimaginable that they could just integrate it into the body of the console itself. There exists a youtube video of someone using two Zippo lighters to emulate it.
It's brilliant. I have kids, and I could definitely see it coming places like the car where the kids are able to play together, or where I am able to play with the kids.
Growing up, my family would do a 24 hour drive to visit family in Pennsylvania, and my dad would get the Sega/N64 working in the van with an inverter for my sisters and me to play on this tiny 10in screen. I looked forward to the 24 hour drive because we'd play games like Mario Kart the whole time.

Not an easy drive to make with triplets, but we loved it. Didn't make a peep.

Similarly, we hooked up the N64 in the motorhome on a tiny CRT TV and played split-screen (Tony Hawk, mostly). Great times, terrible hardware.
We usually all bring our own. ;-D.

But I'm glad Nintendo doesn't seem to be giving up local MP: It's the best part of having a console, and dropping it is a REALLY BAD IDEA.

I recently watched a long video for a Kirby game for DS and not only was it like 8 games in one, it was setup so that one person could have a physical copy, but four people could play on their own DS'. Amazing in the age of micro transactions.
Yep. Download Play, the name of that feature IIRC, means that for some MP games on DS, only one person needs a copy. It makes finding games to play with your friends a lot easier, I tell you.
Also if a game does not have local multiplayer, people who want to play together will buy more than one game. At least I think it's the rationale behind this decision.

Also local split-screen multiplayer is harder to do since you have to do two (or more) graphic rendering at the same time, so dropping it allow the dev to spend more time on the rest of the game.

I still have fond memories when we gathered together after school with friends to play some Mario Kart or Smash Bros. It's still damn fun!
Mario Kart (after Warlords on the Atari 2600 or MULE on the Atari 8-bits with 4 players) is my favorite group game. It just has the fun feel, and hearing the various characters screaming or victory yells is hilarious.
Yeah, it's mine too, followed by Xonotic/Quake. It's semi-luck based, which just makes it more fun for MP.

Doom is also a good one.

Thinking about it the Warcraft series when they were RTS was a pretty amazing LAN party game. Marathon on the Mac also.
Goldeneye for me. It would be amazing if this new console could play 'retro' games.
> Warlords on the Atari 2600

Wow, now that is a great multiplayer game. One of the few video games that my whole family played together (the other being 'Where in Time is Carmen San Diego' for the NES).

Very nice to see it mentioned here! It is a huge classic.

Man, with reccomendations like that, I might just have to grab a copy and give it a go.
We played it when it was long past its prime in the dorms at college in 88-89. A 4 player game that was addictive, short and generated a lot of trash talk and claims of the one true technique. I think if you can design games so easily accessible you are doing well.

Functionally, it filled the niche that would be occupied by Mario Karts, Goldeneye, M.U.L.E., and Perfect Dark. 4 player head-to-head games that were simple to understand and fun to play repeatedly.

Ba-Bomb Blast on the GameCube was my favorite, i never got that setup for the Wii, as i had the GameCube controllers for a while, but couldn't find the GameCube Game... if i remember correctly, they were compatible.
Yeah, they were compatible: The Wii was very similar to the Gamecube, technically.
Other than Mario Kart my go-to would be N64's Goldeneye. That thing was a masterpiece in so many ways.
Goldeneye is an amazing game which I hope is ported. Perfect Dark was pretty good when played in multi-player. It pretty much was a Goldeneye sequel at that point.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of licensing issues. It was pretty much ported to the 360, but legal reasons kept it from being released.

It really doesn't hold up these days. Perfect Dark is still playable though.
> Perfect Dark is still playable though.

Especially the version on the Xbox360, or, as I call it, "that big white box I own solely to play Perfect Dark on". A straight port with upgraded graphics, better framerate, modern controls, and (or perhaps this one I'm imagining) subtly rebalanced difficulty to account for those other changes. Nothing like that garbage trying-to-be-Call-of-Duty-and-failing-miserably Goldeneye reimagining a few years back.

Still unmatched in terms of gameplay options. Coop single player, versus(!) single player, the great multiplayer of course. The way the difficulty settings changed objectives and even starting location(!) in addition to damage values and AI. The fun "cheats" you unlock with speedruns. Brilliant game.

I also played a ton of goldeneye when I was around 10 years old, so I get where you are coming from and it pains me to be the bearer of bad news but that game is ... so bad.

That doesn't mean it wasn't fun. It doesn't invalidate the good times we had. But there is so much about that game (from the controller itself, to the control layout, to the gameplay) that just does not hold up. N64 Goldeneye is a clunky, hard to play, unbalanced mess.

It was a ton of fun, and I wouldn't trade the experience of playing it for anything; but it is not a 'masterpiece'.

Mario Kart 64 is, even by modern standards, a good game, but calling that a masterpiece would mean we need to come up with a classification higher than masterpiece for Mario Kart 8.

I also played a lot of Goldeneye multiplayer as a kid. My memories of it are far fonder than more recent plays on emulators! That said, I learned through a comment a couple years ago on HN that Goldeneye's multiplayer mode was a total afterthought, not really supported by the publisher and more or less done by one guy (or at least a very small team) in a month or two. Pretty incredible, considering its kind of the grandfather of local multiplayer first person shooters. I don't think its fair to hold it up against many other games that jumped off its shoulders.

If you haven't, I recommend checking out the story on Goldeneye!

It's not bad, it's actually got some of the best game design and multiplayer options that the steep learning curve (or clunky / hard to play factor as you call it) for a console FPS shooter. A couple major faults (Oddjob) but great level design I think redeems it a whole bunch.

I'll stand by it, because later I went on to be a Half-Life and Adrenaline Gamer hardcore player, and HLDM's complexity with the long jump and tau cannon required a lot of study and practice for most. Goldeneye was a good trainer for that.

So was Quake.

I maintain that HLDM stands amongst the best of Multiplayer shooters: Up there with Quake, Q3A, CPMA, and UT.

Yeah I knew a lot of the Quake and Q2 guys in our circle, definitely quite a high-tier game. We had fun with Q3 but it was definitely a less brutal take on FPS skill than Q2 in my opinion. I swear HLDM was the absolute best because at first when the Tau Cannon could splash damage through walls and arc around corners, there was no other weapon like it in any game. Later Valve patched it down and whatnot, which made it easier on (1)Player population but was frustrating as it mandated a playing style change somewhat.
Q3 was arguably less brutal, although its rockets actually moved, which was nice. This lack of brutality is why CPMA was devised, which brought back the brutality and advanced movement tactics in full force.

I really don't swear by Q3 or HLDM: Although I do swear at them a lot. My preference is either Quake 1 or Xonotic, which is like Quake meets UT, and lowers the floor on advanced movement so plebs like me don't get totally stomped the first time they log on (we still get stomped, just not impossibly fast).

I love them all, which probably means I'm a masochist or something.

Whereas Quake and Quake 3 actually are masterpieces: to this day, they are the multiplayer shooters against which all others are judged.

Another masterpiece would be the Megaman 2: It's one of the best platformers out there, and there's been nothing like it before or since.

The controls are the only way I'd play a console shooter. It does come with same game play and level design restrictions though.
Please don't forget that Goldeneye had several controller layouts. Personally, I thought the default one was terrible, and I always used "1.2 Solitaire" which was copied from another N64 Title, Turok. In 1.2, the stick is used to look, which felt much more natural for an FPS. And while in "aim mode", it allowed finetuning the aim very quickly too.
Smash Bros defined my college experience. Large chunks of the best years of my life involved playing Melee almost every day.
Oh yeah. Dropping LMP isn't just dumb from a "fun" perspective, it's also a stupid business decision: LMP is the one place where Consoles are inarguably superior to PCs. By tossing it out, you're tossing away a major selling point for your system.
Only because multiple controllers are practically standard when it comes to consoles. Grab a few gamepads that easily fit in a laptop bag and there's a plethora of great options for local multiplayer. Spelunky (the remake) is a personal favorite.
> Dropping LMP isn't just dumb from a "fun" perspective, it's also a stupid business decision [...] By tossing it out, you're tossing away a major selling point for your system.

It seems to have worked out pretty well for Sony and Microsoft—and the manufacturer that does still focus on LMP (Nintendo) is struggling. So I don't think it's actually a major selling point.

I mean, I wish it were; that's one of the things that I love best about Nintendo hardware. But it really doesn't seem like it is.

At least several Xbox one titles seem to have local multiplayer. Skylanders is a good example.
How many of them are Microsoft published, and how many of them are cross-platform?
Sorry, no idea. I don't really see what the difference is from user perspective either way (as long as the feature is compatible with the underlying hardware).

My experience is that of a bystander with fairly high standards none the less. My kids seem to love Skylanders, Disney Infinity and Plants vs Zombies Garden warfare local multiplayer on Xbox one and what I observe works great.

Those ones do, but the games for which this is true are increasingly rare. It's no longer an assumption with multiplayer games.
Microsoft never dropped local multiplayer. Just as many kids younger than you have those same nostalgic memories about going over to a friend's house and playing 4-player Halo 2 or Rock Band.

They might not "focus" on it (whatever that means-- it has the feature, it works, what more "focus" do you need?), I suppose.

> They might not "focus" on it (whatever that means-- it has the feature, it works, what more "focus" do you need?), I suppose.

To me, it means many first party titles are designed around using it. For instance on Nintendo consoles: the main Mario series games, Mario Kart series, Smash Bros series, Mario Party series, Mario Sports series, Nintendo Land, Splatoon, etc, etc, are all designed with multiplayer in mind.

I guess the difference is, it's not just a couple of titles, or "it works", but instead it's a major company focus for their titles. That's a pretty big difference.

Indeed it is: Games like Halo heavily de-emphasize it, and games like Titanfall and Overwatch and such don't even have it anymore: Once upon a time, if an MP-only game didn't have Local Multiplayer on console, it would have been laughed out of the room.
One possible benefit of the hybrid handheld/docked model is that each player maintains their own system and screen, independent of whether or not they have control of the television or are even in the same room as their opponent.

I don't know how much Nintendo is going to implement with regards to their online services, but if they do this right, they would have the killer family gaming machine ecosystem.

They could: * Implement sensible parental controls. Each user potentially having their own handheld system would make this significantly easier and more robust. * Implement a friendly family content sharing model. I'm not necessarily begging for free family sharing a-la-Steam, but a discounted license per additional family user would be a smart move, compared to their current 3DS strategy. * Implement something along the lines of PS4's amazing SharePlay feature, where you can invite a friend to watch you play, voice chat, and even hand the controller virtually over to them so they can help you through tricky sections. Here again, the hybrid model would make it so cool to cheer on my kid from a hotel room across the country on a business trip.

I don't know if the NS will live up to its teaser video, but everything I've seen makes me excited to imagine possibilities, rather than the raw polygon-pushing and logic-crunching. This in stark contrast to the comparatively gimmicky Wii and Wii U.

It's implied that the Switch will have the standard multiple controller setup when you plug it into the TV.

Some of that stuff might get implemented, but no, each player needn't necessarily have their own console.

FWIW, games like Black Ops 3 technically have LMP, but it's a subpar experience compared to prior generations (particularly limiting in features/settings, like being able to choose basic things like vertical/horizontal screen splitting). Often, the feature's riddled with bugs and other glaring flaws that make it a notably worse experience than forming online parties on two consoles, on two TVs, even when you're sitting next to each other on the same couch.
Halo 5 drops local multiplayer altogether
It's the focus that I'm talking about: LMP is an increasingly rare feature in games, save indies (which usually don't have online MP), and a few genres (Fighting Games, Rhythm Games). For example, AFAIK the new Halos don't have LMP. I know several other shooters have dropped it.
I think the gap that makes Consoles 'inarguably superior' in local multiplayer is going to close rapidly as the steam link's issues get worked out.

But I do agree, Consoles (Specifically Nintendo's) are currently inarguably superior by a wide margin for local multiplayer. And local multiplayer games provide distinct enjoyment that remote multiplayer games cannot replicate effectively.

The Steam Link's primary issue for local multiplayer is the speed of light. It's kind of intractable.
Steam link is effectively just a way of turning your PC into a more console-like device. But most of us don't have Steam Link or an HTPC, so consoles are more convenient, which has always been the console tradeoff: loss of control for added convenience.
The most interesting thing to me is a design decision that combines an important aspect of the original NES with an important aspect of all of Nintendo's portable machines since the DS: a reduced barrier to entry for multiple people to play. In 1989, every NES sold came with two controllers out of the box. Similarly, every portable Nintendo system since the original DS has supported Download Play, which requires each player to have their own console, but only a single copy of a game.

It looks like you'll be able to use the standard Switch controller as two "half controllers." Sure, you get limited functionality, but one person with one standard (portable!) console and one multiplayer game like Mario Kart can say those all-important words to anyone, anytime: "Want to play?"

So this is a good usage model, but I'm not sure people want to carry yet another tablet just for gaming. The only way I can see this thing taking off is if it can fall back into an Android tablet mode for web browsing, e-mail, etc. But as a portable gaming console, it seems pretty boss. I'm curious what the hardware specs are and how they differ from other tablets on the market.

Because if it can't do everything else my current tablet can, I'm gonna have to carry a tablet AND this thing. Done right, Nintendo can make this thing the first real challenger to the iPad for mass-market adoption. But they've gotta treat it as a first-party Android device and get updates out ASAP and not muck with the interface too much. I'm willing to bet they could work out a rev-share agreement with Google on the Google Play store and Google Play Apps (and keeping their own Nintendo licensing scheme).

But let's not kid ourselves here: Nintendo is a Japanese company and it operates like one. That means they'll try to own the entire value chain and miss out on any network effects, while simultaneously moving themselves from a market with a 5-10 year refresh cycle to one with a 2-3 year refresh cycle. While it means they could sell more tablets to repeat customers, it also means that they have less time to be patient for success (as happened with the Wii and WiiU) since it also increases customer churn. Network effects and platform lock-in are a lot more important when the refresh cycle is shorter, because there are more opportunities for your customers to jump off the train.

I wish Nintendo luck, and I think that this is a good usage model. But I'm not convinced it's compelling enough to displace the tablets that people are already carrying around with them unless it can also duplicate the capability of those devices.

> I'm not sure people want to carry yet another tablet just for gaming. The only way I can see this thing taking off is if it can fall back into an Android tablet mode for web browsing, e-mail, etc. Done right, Nintendo can make this thing the first real challenger to the iPad for mass-market adoption.

If Nintendo did what your asking, it would be a pretty compromised experience. The hardware for gaming is significantly different than generic tablet hardware. (For example, high-res displays are great for Web / Facebook / Twitter / e-Books, but are drawbacks for a gaming console. High power GPUs are great for games, but are often underutilized in tablets. Any non-casual game needs high quality, thick controls, but traditional tablet users favor very thin hardware).

Perhaps in the future, technology will advance, and there won't need to be a trade-off between these two usages. But today, by asking Nintendo to make this a generic Android tablet product, your asking them to compromise something their fairly good at (gaming), to give you a tablet experience that still likely won't be competitive with the iPad anyway.


I think it's better to position the Switch as a gaming console (as Nintendo is doing). That way, the Switch doesn't really need to do any tablet stuff to be successful. The Switch only needs to provide a great gaming experience that convinces the 65 million people who own a 3DS or Wii U to buy a new Switch in the future.

> The only way I can see this thing taking off is if it can fall back into an Android

That's actually a great idea. Someone else pointed out this press release [0] from Nvidia saying they're making the chip. Tegra's can run Android (Nexus 7, 9) which has the latest OpenGL ES and Vulkan support.


Running Android would provide competition at the bottom end of the game spectrum. I could see them having a [virtualised] Android that was not openly Android so they can run Facebook and such without giving people access to put Android games on the thing.
> without giving people access to put Android games on the thing

it's trivial to not install apps unless they've been signed with Nintendo's key, a la iOS.

Yeah, this has been my challenge. I've bought basically every Nintendo console ever (Zelda fan here, obviously), but I stopped playing their mobile games/consoles when I turned 16, because I was now driving myself places. Being in my parents' cars a lot, it made sense to carry a portable game console. In the world of working people, it doesn't. I don't have enough free time outside my house to justify hauling a dedicated gaming device around.
>In the world of working people, it doesn't.

ever heard of mass transit?

Which might not be avaible.
> Being in my parents' cars a lot, it made sense to carry a portable game console. In the world of working people, it doesn't.

In the world of non US working people, many sit in a bus/metro 2x a day, 30-60 mins each way :)

That's totally fair! I'm in the suburbs, so public transit isn't an option here, and I rarely think about it unless I'm traveling.
Thing is, I'm in the suburbs too, and while public transit is an option here (North Texas), it's a very slow one.

What would be a 15 minute commute by car takes me an hour by bus. That sounds like the perfect excuse to carry a gaming device on me. The idea of being able to block out two hours every day for playing video games makes the kid in me very happy. I'd been dragging my feet on getting a 3DS to save money (whenever I've felt "hey, I've got $200 I can drop on something", I've had something more important to spend it on), but I might give in and get a Switch. Hell, it'd probably save me money in the long run since being able to game on the bus means I'd be much less tempted to take Uber or Lyft.

US working people, too! Just fewer of us per capita, because a lot of cities' public transit infrastructure isn't what it might be.
> So this is a good usage model, but I'm not sure people want to carry yet another tablet just for gaming. The only way I can see this thing taking off is if it can fall back into an Android tablet mode for web browsing, e-mail, etc.

I'm sure I'm wrong about this, but the video didn't show any touching of the screen or a stylus (which the 3DS and Wii U both have). I wonder if this thing is even capable of being used without the controllers.

According to the unconfirmed spec sheet, 10-point capacitive touchscreen.
I'm in the opposite camp as you are. I'm thrilled that this appears to be a gaming only device. I have devices that do what my tablets do. My 3DS has hundreds of hours into it. I love having a portable device that is for gaming only. I don't want notifications popping while looking for Rupees or a phone call when trying to hunt for legendary birds.

I also have no issues carrying a separate device for that. IMO, touch gaming for anything beyond the basics is terrible. Even Minecraft is way better with a mouse and keyboard or controller.

Having an all encompassing device from a company that has continually nailed portable gaming is something I will continue to buy. The big screen of this, for me, is an added bonus.

I'm sure it will be gaming + apps like Netflix and YouTube (maybe Kindle too), the same apps that you see on the Wii U and DS currently. But yeah, it's better if the thing sticks to gaming.
Let's be honest, no one has ever had to farm for Rupees in Zelda :)
Having to farm for rupees is the reason I never finished the Windwaker. That damn reinforce hunt quest sucked all the air out of the room and destroyed the game's momentum entirely.
Yup. I've been bringing my 3DS instead of my Ipad on flights for a couple years now, and it's just a better experience. If I need to get real work done wherever I am flying to, I'll have my laptop with me.
Nintendo has been trying to blend mobile and console gaming since the Gamecube (anyone else remember the GBA link??). I think they've finally succeeded in a way that can make the transition between the two seamless.

In a space currently dominated by two nearly-identical competitors (XBONE and PS4), I think Nintendo has the opportunity to capture a large portion of the market.

Even before that, they had the N64 Transfer Pak. And before that they had the SuperGameboy. They've been trying to blend mobile and console since they had both.
And the Gameboy Player for the GameCube.
I wouldn't call that blending. That's just making it convenient to have both. What they're doing now is combining them into the same device.
I mean, the SuperGameBoy literally let you play GameBoy games on your TV. And it was hidden way deep inside of it, but Pokemon Stadium 2 had a GameBoy emulator that ran out of a Transfer Pak.
Well, the Super Game Boy and the Transfer Pak were right along that continuum with the GBA link.
In my experience those customers have a windows/Mac fanboy style visceral reaction to Nintendo's "different" consoles.
The Xbone and PS4 can both play Skyrim and Fallout 4. Nothing Nintendo's put out can come close. Just sayin'.

Different people have different priorities when it comes to gaming.

Well, Nintendo is all about Exclusives. The moment they change that they're doomed.
Yeah but then would you really restrict yourself to this kind of hardware?
It looks like the Switch also has Skyrim, though.
Not sure if you noticed in the Switch launch video, but that's Skyrim they're playing. It looks like Nintendo is putting some effort into third party this time, and they'll be the only "console" which allows you to play "console" third party games portably. Pretty significant advantage.
It has Skyrim-- only 5 years late! So impressive.

The fact that they're showing off Skyrim, a 2011 game, in their 2017 console launch video doesn't say much for their hardware's abilities. It says a lot about how beloved Skyrim is, though.

That's quite a jump you made there: a port of a game that came out in 2011. I don't really think getting Skyrim is a big deal. If you were around for the Wii U launch, they got a ton of third party ports. Comically a game like Mass Effect 3 when I'm pretty sure the first two games didn't appear on any Nintendo platform.

I'd also be wary about battery life. The 3DS and its sleep mode aren't known for being very good on that front.

Sega did this before with the Dreamcast
I'm very intrigued by this console. I switched to Steam after the PS3 and thought I'd never get a TV based console again.

I really love the slide-in controllers.

A few things I hope for would be:

* Open specs for the slide-in controllers so that third parties can satisfy various niches (like the fighting game community)

* A standard USB-C or micro-USB charging port so that people can use their existing power banks/chargers

* A well implemented eStore (with purchases that aren't bound to a single device) with a huge back catalog of games from their older consoles

* Compatibility with Nintendo's older wireless controllers

What would be the business decision for them allowing cross device purchases? They might be selling the console at a loss for game revenue.
IIRC, it was a huge issue for the 3DS. If you lost or damaged your 3DS, it was a real pain to get all your downloaded games back on a replacement device.
It's no problem since they introduced actual accounts (Nintendo ID). But you still lose your 3DS friends list, and games can only be installed on one system at a time.
Nintendo hasn't sold devices at a loss unlike some other game console makers. At one point they were the only major console provider to make a profit on the device.
I think the person to whom you were replying may have meant that there would be a loss in game revenue.
I think I'd forgotten that point. I also think they could just straight offer a second tier i.e. $10 for the device-linked game and $20 for the device-unliked.
> Compatibility with Nintendo's older wireless controllers

Well, it looks like it uses bluetooth. If it uses a standard bluetooth stack, they might let other BT controllers (such as the PS4, Wii U Pro and Xbone) work with the system.

I really have a lot of high hopes for this, but I don't wanna get super excited without knowing any of the specs.

> other BT controllers (such as the PS4, Wii U Pro and Xbone)

The Xbone controllers use some proprietary Wi-Fi-based protocol, don't they? Not Bluetooth.

They released a new controller with the XBox One S that was released mid-year that uses Bluetooth finally.
Powered by nvidia:
probably the same X1 SoC as Nvidia Shield? Or a new X2?

Thought AMD would be their supplier before, but I don't think they have any mobile chips

Its the X2, its supposed to be one of the first major releases for it. I hope that means we can start to order Jetson X2 modules in the near future
I find the Jetsons really overpriced... I can pick up a TX1 Nvidia shield TV for £150 with controllers (and even install Ubuntu on it), but the Jetson dev kit with the same SoC is £500? It's like they don't want people to start using them
> Thought AMD would be their supplier before, but I don't think they have any mobile chips

What about the A[n] series? Not sure whether those include GPUs.

The A line is APUs, so CPU + GPU on chip. I wouldn't call those mobile chips, though. They drain waaayyyy too much power for that. The tegra line is arm + nvidia gpu on the same SOC, which has way lower power draw (and is already used in some tablets and a chromebook or two).
It says a custom Tegra, I'd be very interested to find out more about the specifics though.
This is a pretty brilliant move in concept. While phones and tablets have encroached on the handheld gaming space, the DS is still a huge success and where Nintendo has continued to dominate the market.

As a parent, I have 4 of the current gen DS systems. One for myself and one for each of my three children.

Nintendo has really struggled to stay relevant in the console space though as seen by the Wii U's underwhelming sales.

If this device is priced right and can continue on their virtual handheld monopoly then they become a sort of defacto console system for the masses. For the first time in ages I'm curious to see what is going to happen with Nintendo.

I'm assuming the Switch replaces the Wii U. But will the 3DS live on? I assume the answer there is yes as well, but the lines between the two products is getting really blurry, isn't it?
I doubt it will be priced as cheap as the DS, but hopefully it'll play DS games so you don't need to own both and will be able to play multiplayer against DS owners.
I doubt that it will play DS games, because the DS has 2 screens places vertically.
It wouldn't be ideal, but the Wii U allows some of this with the stock controller and using split screen.
Its on purpose. The Wii U did horribly (comparatively) and 3DS did really well. This seems like clever business move to me.
Presumably the 3DS will march on for a year or two until Nintendo can make a smaller, cheaper version of the Switch.
my assumption is that this will always cost at least 2 (3 even) times as much as the 3DS
This is the same question that's in my mind. With it's form factor it could potentially replace both.

Part of the issue is going to come down to pricing. With a handheld each person needs their own device. If this can be kept sub $200 it's sort of a no brained. If it is priced similarly to consoles today it's a harder sell.

I am also left wondering if this could end up sold as different packages. It could be packaged as a full console edition and a handheld only lite edition at different price points.

I disagree that it will replace both. The DS brings ruggedness and a smaller form factor. I can't see me bringing this little flimsy tablet with probably max ~8 hours of battery life with me on one of my travels. My 3DS has had no trouble being thrown into a ruck and dragged across SE Asia needing a charge a week.
They could always release the same device in a smaller form factor at some point.
This is my guess. Since it uses cartridges and a single screen, there's nothing stopping them from selling a version which is a single smaller unit with better battery life but without TV/local multiplayer capabilities.
Maybe I didn't convey it clearly, but this is what I was trying to get at by different packages and price points. Consider how the 3DS is marketed. I can buy the cheap 2DS, the middle of the road 3DS, or the high end 3DS XL (might even be missing some options).

At the end of the day they all play the same games. I bought the 2DS for my 3 kids because it is cheap, but also because it is the most rugged with it's non folding uni-body so they are less likely to break it.

I bought the 3DS XL for myself because I have poor eyesight and need the bigger screen and I'm less likely to break it.

If Nintendo does something along these lines I suspect people would buy multiple Switches per household. Based on their history it's not unreasonable to suspect that something like this is in the works. I doubt it would happen at launch since, but over time I will not be at all surprised to see different versions of this system offered.

I'm quite excited by this. The video was a bit lengthy but it demonstrated the concept quite well.

Glimpses of Mario, what appeared to be Skyrim, too - more third party support this time perhaps?

I'm most interested to see the price and the spec of the machine. Xbox One and PS4 seem to have become more homogenised in terms of architecture than the last generation of consoles (PS3 was especially weird), if the Switch follows suit it would hopefully encourage more third party support. Assuming the power is there.

I doubt they'll homogenize quite as much: Nintendo has always done their own thing, which is both their greatest strength and their biggest weakness.

As for price, I'd expect it to undercut the competition, but also to be less technically capable: That's usually how they play it.

The game he's playing at the beginning is the new Zelda, which is kind of Skyrim-esque, if that's what you're talking about.

Edit: oops, watched it again and yep skyrim is also in there. Sorry.

Pretty sure revjx was talking about the first-person sword wielding game.
Skyrim (possibly the Skyrim Special Edition remastered version) was also shown in the video.
And Bethesda is listed in the group of launch partners.
Its not running x86 like the PS4 and XBone that's for sure.

Its apparently running a Tegra chip[1]. Exact specs... well we can only guess at this point. So its more similar to an Android tablet than the other consoles.

So the hardware is more standard but its still not the same standard as the other boxes. That could hurt 3rd party adoption.


>So the hardware is more standard but its still not the same standard as the other boxes. That could hurt 3rd party adoption.

If Nintendo is smart, they will find a way to let console devs leverage the power of Nvidia's libraries like GameWorks which may actually be a huge boon to 3rd party adoption. But that all depends on what kind of OS and stack they choose to go with, and whether they consider developer effort an issue. If it's going to fit a different use-case with mobile and docked performance profiles, it may be difficult to port games to it with AMD hardware anyways.

It did look like they had NBA2k as well, which has an iphone/android port. Maybe the game developers are planning on porting their mobile version of the games onto the Wii instead of the platform versions?
>> So the hardware is more standard but its still not the same standard as the other boxes.

That could be a double edged sword. I think Nintendo doing a "me-too" console that is like the PS4/XBone/Steam would hurt them more than it helps them. And as it is, Steam already offers a portability element if you've got a decent laptop with a discrete GPU.

>> That could hurt 3rd party adoption.

At this point, I think Nintendo is going to struggle no matter what they do. They're in third place and unless Nintendo can make it worthwhile for 3rd parties with huge hardware sales, it's not going to be pretty.

I actually totally disagree. Their mobile products are, in essence, "me-too" products that are larger and less powerful than a smartphone - and they sell well because they have great software and excellent (for games) interfaces/controls.

This seems like an attempt to take that concept into something higher-end/something that is designed to connect to a TV (at least sometimes). I've got to think that will go quite well for them.

The years when the Wii outsold the PS3/X360 are not all that far past. If they come out with something different and compelling, the market will respond.

Don't get me wrong, I actually -like- the system and it might very well be the first console I buy since the PS3. But practically speaking, I don't think the rest of the market will view this console as favorably as I do.

Clarifications of my original response:

By "me too" I was referring to the original post's point of going x86 in a traditional TV box in the way that XB1/PS4 did.

By "struggle", I was specifically talking about third party software support in the post I replied to. On the TV console front, Nintendo's primary strength going back to the Wii (and maybe further) has always been first party games. Most of the third party games on the Wii and Wii U were not very good. In other words, if you're buying a Nintendo TV console for the third party games, I think that would be a big mistake, regardless of how long the list of committed 3rd party developers is.

Addressing some of your points:

>> Their mobile products are, in essence, "me-too" products that are larger and less powerful than a smartphone

By "mobile products", I assume that you're referring to the DS/DSi/3DS - how are those "me-too"? What other successful portable consoles have that clam shell form factor? If anything, Nintendo's mobile form factors (starting with the original Game Boy) were the ones that were historically copied by others.

>> The years when the Wii outsold the PS3/X360 are not all that far past. If they come out with something different and compelling, the market will respond.

Yes, but the market for gaming is completely different now. Games are no longer the exclusive territory of proprietary tv consoles or portable gaming devices (i.e., psp, 3ds).

On the TV console side, Steam is a legitimate substitute for a TV console. I myself switched to Steam since most of the AAA titles I played (2D/3D fighting games) are now all available on PC and I can bring them with me in the form of a laptop with a discrete GPU. And with Steam, I can regularly upgrade my hardware with full backwards compatibility for my purchased games.

On the portable gaming side, phones and tablets have basically taken over the market. The only reason why I bought a 3DS is so that I can have my fill of 2D/3D fighting games (with a real controller and buttons) in my pocket, but I'm in a very small niche.

>On the portable gaming side, phones and tablets have basically taken over the market.

You say that, but phone games have an exceptionally limited capability without extra hardware (like a controller), and few phone games are designed to take advantage of a controller in any case. If you want to actually play good mobile games, you need a mobile console, and Nintendo's are some of the best. The Gameboy line defined portable gaming for over a decade, and there are still holdouts using them to this day (I count myself as one of them: >20 hours of gameplay, countless classic games, one of the best tools for chiptune music creation on the market, and all in a tiny form factor? sold!), and the DS is the console of choice if you want Real games on the go.

If you're looking for something cheap to carry your retro games around on, might I recommend a GBA? It has a lot of good games in its own right, you can play all the GB/GBC games, and with the aid of PocketNES + mkrom (they're around, but you might have to do some digging to find them) you can emulate NES games pretty well, provided you pony up for a flashcart and flasher (I got mine from $57 for a flasher and card reader, plus one GBA flash cart. And he's offering a decent SD-based card for the original GB for half the price of an Everdrive (although it has some limitations that the Everdrive does not, it will run most GB games). So it's a good place to look for that sort of stuff). Yes, a hacked PSP is better, but it's a lot harder to find one, much harder to get it working, significantly more expensive, and a heck of a lot easier to brick (which is what I did to mine).

What you're saying is technically true, but for the vast majority of people it's about the convenience of not having to carry a second device.

In the same way that a real camera is better than a smartphone, convenience trumps quality.

>> If you're looking for something cheap to carry your retro games around on, might I recommend a GBA?

I have a 3DS because I wanted to play Street Fighter, Tekken and Dead Or Alive on the go. But I don't always bring it with me. In fact, I only bring it with me on vacations. And when I'm out on the go with just my phone, well, I don't play anything at all - it's not a huge loss. FWIW, you can already do everything you mention and more on a 2DS/3DS with the right "accessories" and a little bit of time.

Of course. But I find it more of a pain. And it's harder to hack than a PSP, and less capable, AFAIK.

Also, I actually don't have a 2/3DS, because I have no money. A GBA costs ~$20.

Price aside, it's actually easy. Just buy a micro-SD card and the right "accessory" (there are maybe only two worth buying) and it takes a few minutes. With the most popular accessory, you can also run any home brew .3ds files very easily.

It only gets hard if you want to play online, which means you need to do .CIA files, which becomes difficult (it also requires a new SD card). But if playing online isn't a priority, it's not even an issue.

Oh. I thought it hadn't been cracked yet. Ah well.

Yeah, I'll stick to my GBA for now. I've got very little money.

I don't know, their mobile products are so anemic that it's hard to call them "me too". A RPi2 is more powerful than a 3DS.
And so was the PSP, but you don't see anyone discussing the legacy of that console.
>Their mobile products are, in essence, "me-too" products that are larger and less powerful than a smartphone

What? If anything, Smartphones are the "me-too" products. The Gameboy came out in 1989, and the DS came out in the early 2000s, when nobody outside Japan could envision something like a smartphone, and even they didn't have something really usable for the kind of complex games that both platforms offered.

I do agree that they succeed because they have an interface well-tuned to their task. Another reason for success, though, is battery life: When the GameBoy came out, it was really the only portable game console that could last more than four hours. And my GBA (not an SP, notably), a console that has a lower battery life than the GB or GBC that came before it, can last through me playing on it for an entire day, nonstop. Can your phone do the same?

Mind, this is less of a selling point nowadays: it seems even Nintendo's forgotten how to make products with a good battery life.

This looks amazing - nice form factor for easy use on the go (demonstrated in many ways in the video, including on airplanes), but still letting you have a classic game experience. It shows smart usage of now standard wireless tech and highly portable & fast storage.

It's amazing how slow game consoles change minus beefed up computing capabilities, and while Nintendo has had some hit or misses, this shift looks like a vastly superior improvement over the initial ideas brought forth by the Wii U.

Agree, my first reaction is, "I want one."
Very promising. I like how haptic it is. Part of the magic of old Nintendo was the feeling of slotting in a cartridge, and handling a well-designed device and controller. They will not go back to cartriges obviously, but it seems like they put a lot of thought into this... like car engineers do when the have the doors make a specific sound when they close.
> haptic

I think the word you're looking for is "tactile".

> They will not go back to cartriges obviously

It does indeed use cartridges:

Aren't SD cards and cartridges different? I thought that cartridges used ROM while SD cards can be written to.
From a user standpoint, when we speak of "cartridge" we're talking about the packaging - 8-track tapes were also called "cartridges". Calling any game cart "ROM" has been a little bit off in that old cartridges were PCBs that could contain arbitrary chips, custom hardware, battery-backed RAM, etc.

With the modern carts, it's all flash memory - both the game binary and any user data can coexist. That said, it's much less common than in the NES era, but not unheard of, to incorporate custom hardware on the cart. For example the DS Game Card[0] has an infrared variation. With this change the overall performance model now is guided around working with flash memory - you have big mass storage, longer load times, and don't get to do any fancy bank-switching tricks or rely on an additional co-processor or an extra RAM bank.


There are two major things that I'm curious about:

Price point: How much is this going to cost per unit? I'd imagine it's going to be much cheaper than the other current gen consoles

Battery life: If it doesn't get more than 1-2 hours, or else come with some way to extend the battery life via an accessory, it will be kinda underwhelming.

That being said, this is a very intriguing idea, and is a good focus on an easy to understand concept. Funny image: Two people playing on a Switch with the controllers snapped onto it, doing some top down game like air hockey or something.

I'd like to expect battery would be at least 3 hours while gaming. Considering that we know it's using a Tegra chip like the Nvidia Shield and the Shield gets ~2 hours, and Nintendo has a track record for battery-optimized gaming (Gameboy).

With the Shield's battery saver setting, it gets about 4 hours, and 7 hours for streaming. Again, I'd like to think Nintendo is doing better than this here.

The internet is saying 4 hours+, and I'm inclined to believe them. After all, they were right about everything else (seriously, go check out /r/nx: it's 90% shit posts, but the rest is speccing this thing out to an almost insanely detailed degree, even months ago).
Their stock price also went up over one billion today.

Yeah Nintendo seem to be doing pretty well I'd say. I don't know how they compare to Sony or Microsoft, but I have no doubt that Nintendo will keep producing video game consoles well into the future. (And I think Sony will as well. Probably Microsoft too.)
Close concept, but it's important to know that market cap is different than stock price!
Some day I learn how to write a comment before submitting :) Nice catch.
Of the featured use cases, gaming on a plane is the only one that made a ton of sense to me. (Binging on Stardew Valley on a laptop during my last trip to China actually helped a lot with jet lag recovery.) The other featured cases, I'm not so sure. I definitely miss the days of my youth when my friends and I huddled around a TV split four ways. But I also don't see us returning to gaming together in person either. The most bizarre use case featured is for esports--I see no advantage to using the Nintendo Switch versus a more powerful console or PC in competitive gaming.

As a piece of hardware, this looks really cool and innovative. But I don't actually know if the product-market fit is there.

> But I also don't see us returning to gaming together in person either.

Really? I gather with friends to play Smash on a gamecube every two weeks or so. Bring a few beers, play some good music, pass the controllers around and it's lots of fun. I also co-op a lot with my girlfriend.

I know theres something pleasant about the older smash games, but the new one is really just as much fun and supports 8-player matches. If you are already meeting >4 people bi-weekly get them to cough up some extra cash, or just buy cheaper beer for a few months and get yourselves a wiiu.
the older smash games such as melee have a higher technical ceiling also, which a lot of people enjoy. For example, the competitive melee scene has never been as big as it is now, even though the game was released 15 years ago.
There's a crowd that prefers GameCube + CRT for the extremely low latency.
But why buy a new device when the old plays just fine? We can also all have a copy of the game and the console at home. Everyone brings their own controllers. It's fun and cheap.

Limiting to 4 players allows the night to be more than gaming night. If all 12 of us are there, it allows for some rotation (most of the time, we will be 4 to 8). While some of the guys/girls are playing, some others can be spectators or be at the kitchen table talking or having some beers. We can even rock both smash and board games at the same time!

The gamecube is really our main console... funny thing is none of us were gamecube lovers when it initially came out. Lots of PC, PS and Xbox players among us. Our only Nintendo time is when it's time to play together.

I vastly prefer gaming with people locally to doing it over the internet so there definitely is some market there for it but it remains to be seen how big it is
rooftop patio party turns into ... huddled masses around a tiny gaming console? kinda unrealistic, imho. however, it's still quite innovative and i'll probably pick one up "for the kids." :)
Despite the non-existence of children in that video, don't forget they still sell a lot stuff to children. My kids aren't old enough to be running around with 3DSs with all their friends yet, so I don't know how prevalent it is in practice. But if everyone who had a Wii could also that easily pick it up and cart it somewhere, that would be a huge network effect compared even to the 3DS. There is a very good chance this could become a Thing for that age group, and given how children are, it could simply become expected that you have a Switch.

Also... since no one else has mentioned it yet and it's not really worth its own comment... this is a wildly better name than "Wii". The Wii was a success, but I'd say in spite of the name.

> Also... since no one else has mentioned it yet and it's not really worth its own comment... this is a wildly better name than "Wii". The Wii was a success, but I'd say in spite of the name.

Swiitch? ;)

It's perfect. It was the obvious direction putting together the ideas that the Razer Edge and various snap-on-phone gamepads and the controllers of the Wii and the Wii-U implied, as well as Nintendo's attempts to create input-parity with the Wii-U and the DS by having them share the same "2 screens, one is touch" layout.
It looks very promising. Nintendo's strengths are in portable and local coop play, and they've managed to create a new product that excels at both.
Battery life on tegra devices is abysmal I'm really wondering if the guy can get from the gate to the plane without it running out if you run full 3D graphics games like those.
I'm guessing they won't be playing the "make it as thin as possible" game that tablet makers are. And it's a two handed device, so weight isn't as much an issue.
My Pixel C tablet is powered by the Tegra X1 and has excellent battery life. With that and JuiceSSH I can easily get through a 10-12h hacking session.
Yeah that's an excellent point. The Nvidia Shield (Tegra K1) can pull 15-20 watts while gaming. I can play hearthstone for like 3 hours when plugged in.

5V usb port at 2.1A = 10.5W = battery gets drained even when plugged in.

It has a 20Whr battery, if I'm at 90%, and I'm wary of draining it below 10%, that leaves me with 16Whr = an hour at most of gaming on battery alone, on a brand new full capacity battery.

I guess they left out of the video that their backpacks, purses, and luggage are entirely filled with external and replacement batteries.
And Hearthstone isn't a demanding title, the streaming works fine but any of the "native" Tegra AAA 3D games kill the drain the device before you finish a level (30min~ and honestly even under that, some games are going to flat out at like 10).

Doesn't help that the device gets pretty darn hot also.

Portable gaming sounds fun until you remember that batteries suck, sure they've improved much but what improved is also the power management. 3D/Graphics are still a power hog, so you get a tiny package with almost no battery to speak off and a heating element all in one.

Hey but if you play or somethig similar at least you know you can defer hypothermia by about 10-15 min if you are on batery :)

The Shield is 1900x1200, the Switch will run at 720p in mobile mode, for "performance reasons". Pretty sure they mean for battery life reasons. It will push out 1080p when docked so it's not like the GPU can't handle it.
The AAA PC ports do not run anywhere close to the native 1200p resolution of the Shield, the run at sub 720p so it doesn't matter.

Most other games also don't run at 1200p, and probably not even 1080p unless they are simple games.

Current consoles don't push 1080p games properly so the non-native resolution was never even in question.

Ouch. Backpack full of battery packs it is then.
Not really relevant to anything, but I'm so grateful the movie includes the guy on the plane playing the Switch while ACTUALLY WEARING HEADPHONES. People who play videogames (or movies) on planes while piping audio through the speaker for everyone to "enjoy" should be force-ejected through some kind of special chute.
You know, I always thought the idea of a hybrid console/handheld was a terrible idea. I expect that mobile considerations are going to make it graphically underwhelming compared to the next Xbox and PlayStations. I also figure that graphical considerations for TV play are going to make it eat battery. We'll see if the jack of all trades is master is any.

But, on the other hand, Nintendo's games are just plain fun. I didn't buy a Wii U because I didn't want that giant tablet controller and its charging stand taking up space on my coffee table, but every time I saw Splatoon I wished I had room for it.

Perhaps this can fit in my life.

I just don't have faith in Nintendo anymore, they have a track record now of so many failed consoles and disappointments, lack of third party support, even the new Zelda doesn't get me that excited (and I've been a die hard fan for years, playing Ocarina of Time as a kid made me want to learn how to make games). We'll see how this one turns out.
Every one of Nintendo's consoles has had "must have" games that simply don't exist anywhere else. WiiU has games like Bayonetta, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Xenoblade, Splatoon, Mario Maker (which is simply amazing, and nothing like it anywhere else). Wii was even better - Mario Galaxy being the best Mario series ever and a must play. I don't think you can consider yourself a serious gamer if you don't like Nintendo consoles. With a PC you pretty much have the whole gamut covered (PC=FPS,RPG, Nintendo=Everything Else). I'm looking forward to getting my Switch - N has never let me down :).
Really? 3DS has been a huge success and while the WiiU didn't sell well, it's a pretty fun console.
So, the Wii U is so many failed consoles now? The Wii was a raging success. The 3DS is a wonderful mobile gaming platform that I have poured hundreds of hours into. The Wii U wasn't great and was more of a half iteration than a full one. Yes, Nintendo made a mis-step there. But the Wii, DS, and 3DS were far from failures.
The Wii was very successful. But was very underpowered when compared to the 360 and PS3. As a result it did not get many popular AAA multi-platform games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Assassins Creed, etc.. and when it did get games from those franchises it was a simplified or less feature filled version of the game.

It meant that the Wii was not really viable as your "only" system if you were interested in those games. While the NES, SNES, N64, and Gamecube were either competitive or the leaders technically in their gen.

There's no need to be the tech leader if you're making a great product that people love. The Wii reached out to customers that didn't previously play video games. It was quite amazing.

People who don't know about other franchises, and perhaps don't want the more mature subject matter of the three big franchises you mention, were more than happy with the fun a Wii gave them.

The Wii was a success the way the pet rock was. They sold a huge number of them but it didn't take long before they were mostly just used as paper weights. It was under powered, had almost no 3rd party support, and wasn't even HD. The OS design was crazy and the store was virtually unusable.

The Wii was a huge opportunity for Nintendo but they couldn't adapt to modern game play or sales to take full advantage of it. So perhaps it wasn't a failure but it was a huge disappointment.

Mine still gets regular use after more than a decade, at parties anyway.
The DS is the second most successful console of all time (the PS2 being #1).

But still, Nintendo just hasn't been "king" ever since the SNES. The N64, GameCube, Wii and Wii U all disappointed a lot of people and each stumbled in significant ways.

(I'm not one of them, I'm a huge Nintendo fan)

Meanwhile, their software game was pitch perfect during the Wii U and they released mostly excellent first party and arguably best in the franchise games, like Mario Maker, Splatoon, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Yoshi's Wooly World, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, and Pikmin 3.

They even managed to get 3 new IP on the system, where in previous consoles they were berated for never coming up with new IP and simply rehashing things over and over again. Splatoon in particular looks like it will stick around for a long time, Mario Maker probably as well (they even mentioned possibly doing a Zelda Maker in the future...I really hope that comes true).

For a second I wondered, is Nintendo building network hardware now?

My worry here is that Nintendo may be making the same mistake that BlackBerry made: doubling down on hardware when they should be building out their app ecosystem on dominant mobile platforms.

That said, the Switch looks cool. Really freaking cool. I just wonder if it'll be enough.

Maybe you missed the Super Mario Run announcement?

Obviously playing second fiddle to the main series. It reuses assets from NSMBU, one of the least loved of the 2D series. It's a good early attempt on mobile from Nintendo, but they're clearly testing the waters still, not all in.
Huh? BlackBerry's mistake was not embracing their weird hardware. They'd still be relevant if they doubled down on their hardware without trying to be a "me too" and embraced Android.
Looks really cool. Too bad it’s not out in time for christmas. The thing would sell like crazy this year.

What I find most notable in the video is their nod to competitive-gaming / esports, which Nintendo has such a long history of shunning/disrespecting/mis-understanding. Maybe they’re finally trying to atone for the debacle around the whole Smash scene? (Then again, maybe it’s just the marketing people who put this video together thought that would be fun to add and have no idea about Nintendo’s history here.)

If they've switched to a capacitive touch screen instead of resistive then there's the potential for easily porting Unity based Mobile iOS/Android games to this.

This could be a great new marketplace for indies that make pay up front mobile games.

F2P mobile games monetization strategies rely on huge install bases that the Switch is unlikely to reach, so porting these games over may not make as much sense, but it could still be worthwhile to port to the device in order to provide more gameplay options to existing users.

I couldn't find anything that shows/says it has any kind of touch screen. I hope it doesn't. I also hope there isn't any kind of indie market, there's already plenty of options for that and it would be nice not to have to sift through a hundred FNAF rip-offs to find something worth playing.
I really doubt it will have a touch screen. You wouldn't be able to use it when it's docked, which means games would have to be designed such that touch is completely unnecessary to the experience, so why even bother trying to cram it in?
My family has a Wii U, and it's connected to the only TV we really use in the house. The Wii U game pad permits pad-only play on some, but not all, games and doesn't have any capacity for multiplayer on it. I think this addresses the, "someone is taking over the TV" and, "take it outdoors" kind of use cases very nicely. Surprised they didn't play up the family aspect of it for that, but I guess that's an (only?) already-captured demographic.
I must be very out of touch with the gaming habits of millenials. The intro movie itself seemed like some nerdy wish-fulfillment. Who acts like this? Where can I meet some stunning gaming hottie like the one in the airport? Will the Switch make my life this fantastic?
To be fair, this is what all commercials do. Trying to sell you the perfect life.
Yeah the video seems to be selling a use case that likely isn't very common. How often are people going to go a bar and sit around a switch playing video games? Maybe once or twice? I imagine the dominant gaming habits are what Xbox/PS focus on (one person in a room, possibly connected by internet to others).
I dunno. The Switch seems to have a lot of focus on local multiplayer. And with how portable it is, I can definitely imagine heading over to my local gaming store to find someone else that I can play with.
Oh my god, a sane name for once. It was really getting out of hand with the DS and Wii when the same name referred to several different generations of hardware in a non obvious way. (DS, DS Lite, 3DS, 2DS, New 3DS, try making heads or tails of that).
Looking at the concept video it's clear that Nintendo is doubling down again on the idea of personal, physical interaction as the concept for multiplayer activities -- the "you and a friend in the living room" idea. I applaud this, but online gaming is something that Nintendo really struggles to "get" and has cultural issues with as well.

There was a an article (gamasutra maybe?) about how the N with the Wii, fundamentally had no idea what their competition was up to or understood gaming notions that had become very commonplace by that time -- like online matchmaking for gaming, etc.

However, as a gamer, I think this is definitely setting a differentiable and right path that doesn't tie Nintendo to just selling another port target for games.

I'm reminded of this old Reddit post that presages some of what's in this video:

I think it's really cultural. Nintendo doesn't "get" online gaming because it's fundamentally different from Nintendo's DNA.

Nintendo is about children and families and friends playing together. Online gaming is about playing in a global community of millions of strangers who may become friends or turn around and spoil everything.

That risk is accepted by gamers who play multiplayer online games, especially competitive games with online matchmaking, but it doesn't fit in the "we're all friends and family" narrative.

I think it's brilliant. Looking at the concept video, it seems like local coop multiplayer is built right into the controller but they also show local network multiplayer for parties and competitions. It's trivial and emphasised by the design choices.

Games that do online multiplayer well generally don't work well with local multiplayer. What works well for one doesn't necessarily work well for the other. This reminds me of GameBoy link cables and 1990s LAN parties -- and I think that's an aspect of gaming that has been neglected by other companies who favoured the online experience.

Also it makes perfect sense for Nintendo not to attempt to get a foot in the door in an oversaturated market they don't have any experience in. This is the first time since the original Wii that I've been genuinely surprised by Nintendo and it looks a lot less gimmicky.

Direct link to the YouTube video. It doesn't load with uBlock Origin:

It loaded with my uBlock Origin.
I don't think it has anything to do with uBlock Origin.

EasyPrivacy apparently breaks some Youtube embeds and only fixed it partially. In the end, it's almost never the content blocker but the lists you choose to enable.

edit: but thank you for the link!

I often wonder whether it would be a good idea for Apple to acquire Nintendo, and have them focus on building phenomenal gaming experiences on the iOS platform through focusing on software and device accessories (e.g. controllers). For some reason Apple and Nintendo in my head feel like they share important DNA traits.
That would be a terrible idea.

It'd mean I'd have to buy an iPhone.

That would be a great partnership. In my mind though, I feel like Disney would be the better acquirer. Think about how awesome it would be to goto Disney World and get to see Spiderman, Luke Skywalker and Mario all at the same time. They'd be able to take the Nintendo brand even further with the cross overs, merchandising, movies etc.
That doesn't speak to me too well, to me all Disney work seems like a clone of each other -- you've seen one, you've seen them all. They are even stylistically (nearly) identical. The plots are all the same. The characters are all the same (and very shallow). I loathe that they now get to milk the Star Wars cow. I'd be very upset if Disney acquired Nintendo, even worse than I was when they got Pixar (and ruined it).

This may be naive, but while Disney strikes me as profits first, and nothing else really matters, and everything else is a byproduct, both Nintendo and Apple strike me as companies that actually give a shit about the final product, and profits are just a vehicle to achieve excellence in that.

Everyone is worried about graphics. Nintendo systems have never been about graphics. It's all about the games. They are combined two of the best selling consoles EVER. The 3D is the second highest selling console ever. The wii is fifth. The Switch brings both of them together. You can experience the awesome Nintendo literally anywhere at anytime. You can't get that with any other console. Now they are bring in major titles and giving us multiple good controllers for when they are needed. That's fucking awesome. I was about to buy the PS4 Pro edition, but fuck that I'm waiting for this. I'm hoping they still alway 3DS controllers to connect to the console so I can play with my 3DS friends with the portable device and the dock.
I read somewhere it seems the Switch won't be region locked which is very interesting. I wonder if Nintendo is cutting the initial 3rd party devs a deal on the new cartridges then (considering they'll likely be still more expensive than your standard Bluray DVD).
Here's the link to the video on YouTube, I tried to load the linked page about 12 times and it failed each time, turns out the video is on YouTube anyway.

Skyrim was released almost 5 years ago, yet an updated version of it is used to advertise the capabilities of a next-generation console. It's really disappointing to see the amount of recycling in entertainment in the past 10 years. More disappointing that people eat it up.

Also, the entire selling point is being mobile crossover. That seems like a great secondary feature, but alone... that's it? Where is the imagination that brought us the Wii?

I can only hope Nintendo attracts enough development to make interesting (perhaps Pokemon Go-influenced) unique crossover use cases, beyond just playing the same game the same way on a TV and at the airport.

Skyrim being there was a very powerful signal to me. I've played RPGs since the 80s, and almost exclusively done it on PCs and Xboxes. I've never had any interest in Japanese games or hardware. The fact that I could now play Skyrim on a bus is cool, but the implication here is much wider, whether or not it's a flagship launch title.
I'm so excited for this, I've (eventually) owned every nintendo console/handheld (I'm looking at you badly marketed WiiU).

I really hope they fix some of the issues with the eShop - it needs work, but its improved a lot!

What happens when you lose the right part of the controller? can you buy them individually or do I need a whole new pad?

If my screen gets scratched - can I just replace the screen section?

What happens to my save data - if my bag gets damaged/stolen, will I lose all my save data or is backed up in the cloud/the switch device?

will it come in different colours - I like that the 3ds is so customisable!

No touch controls or motion controls in sight! I think they'd ultimately be incompatible with this anyway.

You can't have good local portable multiplayer if one player always has their fingers on the screen, blocking the other's view.

Motion would be very haphazard, due to all the usage styles. Where would the motion sensors go? If it's part of the tablet, you can't play while docked to your TV. If it's part of the joycons, you'd probably have to remove them to play some games, which would be again annoying if it's docked. If the pro controller has motion controls as well, some games requiring both joycons wouldn't bother using it. You'd have to have at least 4 sets of motion controls across the parts for it to work ubiquitously.

All in all, it makes a lot of sense that we might not see those 2 clunky features returning, which is great.

But all the bits (dock, tablet, 2 joycons, joycon mounting stump, pro controller) is a bit too clap-trap for me. I had used Wii Fit for a while on someone else's Wii and liked it, so I got a Wii U version. The addition of the touchscreen plus wiimotes in the Wii U made it a mess of always picking up and putting down things, which was super annoying. Having fewer input schemes, and using them well, would be preferable, in my opinion.

Is it just me or the console mechanism looks fragile ? If you keep pulling and putting the side remotes, it looks like it might break in the future.

Also, it will be quite the challenge for nintendo to gain momentum with the handheld part of the console. Everyone plays on phones and tablets these days, so i don't see much incentive on that part.

They should've stalled pokemon go and launched it with the new console.

That would create a massive demand for the new console.

> Also, it will be quite the challenge for nintendo to gain momentum with the handheld part of the console.

They're also the only company in the handheld market right now, with a surprising amount of sales, (even with the 2DS), so they don't really have to gain momentum as much as keep it.

I think putting their next handheld and console in the same basket means massive sales, especially for one side or the other that hasn't really crossed over yet. It's gonna be really interesting, and I'm pretty curious to see it in real life.

Am I the only one who found it funny that people, all dressed up, playing a basketball game on the device right in front of a basketball field?
What's a basketball field?
It's where they place the basketball rings.
The video sports games and live sports games have a certain potential for synergy, see:
This looks like a very well designed console and I appreciate that Nintendo takes chances does try to offer something different with each console release.

The crucial element that is going to determine whether I purchase this or not is will it support location-based gaming? Touchscreens, gyros, and cameras aren't necessary, but location based-gaming and the spontaneous, real-world social interactions it generates was the only reason I played Pokemon GO. I do understand that designing games with this in mind and making it fun for all players is a difficult if not impossible problem to solve for those who don't live in dense urban areas

I'm also disappointed that Nintendo isn't developing for VR yet. While I respect them for not following the herd, if any developer is going to lay the foundational design patterns for VR gaming, it's Nintendo. Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of time did this for 3D.

It'll be interesting to see if this becomes more than a gimmick.

I like how they emphasize that the Switch uses a standard headphone jack.
Hopefully the docking station provides additional CPU/GPU power, otherwise this would be no different to a PS Vita.
Since at multiple times the video shows you can walk away with the console with the game still running, I don't think the dock will do anything more than charging/HDMI
Maybe it's a heat sink, too.
>> Hopefully the docking station provides additional CPU/GPU power, otherwise this would be no different to a PS Vita.

Only if you make game console purchasing decisions based on hardware alone.

I would think that the hardware matters less if your primary interest is in having access to the latest and greatest Nintendo first party games like Zelda, Mario Kart, etc.

Looks intriguing, although, as always, it boils down to what games will be available. I'll reserve judgement until we hear more about them.

In handheld mode, one wonders if they were able to keep parity with the battery life and the touchscreen capability that the DS/3DS had. Losing those would be a significant minus.

This is a good idea and seems well-executed. While still essentially a gimmick, the portability is a much better and more useful gimmick than the Wii's motion controls or the Wii U's touchscreen controller. It seems to get in the way of gaming much less than those did.

Unfortunately, while it's a rather good gimmick, it seems like Nintendo is repeating its usual mistake of sacrificing gaming power for it. Releasing a device with a 720p screen in 2016 is almost as bad as releasing a device with a 400x240 screen in 2011, in my opinion.

Nintendo has a very bad habit of making devices that compete with the previous generation of its competitors' devices instead of the next one.

I dunno... I never play games except at home now, so there's nothing interesting here for me. It's just gonna come down to whether I want to play Smash / Mario Kart / Mario, like it pretty much has since the GameCube.
Heh this is how I feel, Nintendo Switch is the on the go gaming system for the generation that doesnt leave home
I mean, back in 2002 I bought a power converter once so I could hook up my small CRT and GameCube and play Wind Waker in the back of our truck on a 10 hour road trip so I understand the appeal, just commenting that it's not longer there for me.
What is so big in the dock? Speakers (not really needed with hdmi TVs, no?)?

Also an interesting decision to cover the docked screen (probably to keep 100% compatibility to the single mobile screen and not waste resources while powering the big screen).

Could it be that they have a more powerful GPU in the dock so that it's easier to drive higher-resolution displays? just a thought.
Just thought that it would be amazing if it overclocked in the dock and it was mostly heat sink :)
Power supply for charging? Wired ethernet port? (doubtful) Maybe a hard drive for local game storage? Discrete/external GPU for pushing more pixels? I doubt 4K, but its possible... also, the portable screen might not be 1080.

I'm sure we'll learn more over the next 6 months... but there's a lot of things you could do with a dock like that.

Anybody have any info on how the Switch will be backwards compatible with Wii U discs (i.e. a portable drive perhaps), and 3DS cartridges? I have a stack of Wii U games that hopefully will still be playable.
I skipped the last few generations of Nintendo hardware, but there are a few 3DS and Wii U games that I still really want to try. If Switch is backwards compatible with Wii U and 3DS then it's an instant buy for me.
Switch uses a different architecture (ARM) than the Wii U (PowerPC) so straight-up playing games off the original discs won't happen. They'll have to be re-released.
Since all Wii U games are available as digital downloads, I'd expect that's the only compatibility you're going to get. They might have some kind of trade-in-your-disc-for-a-digital-download offering, but I seriously doubt it. It would be very un-Nintendo of them.
The way the switch controller can be used as 1 full controller or two mini controllers is brilliant.

However, it looks as big as an iPad mini. So logging it around, I might actually want it to have tablet functions too.

Nintendo is always firmly in the gaming market - they're quite stubborn about it. I don't expect it will ever be useful as a general-purpose tablet other than supporting Netflix.

Hopefully as the technology develops in a couple of years we'll see a Switch Mini to take the place of the NDS, so at least it will be small-enough to lug around easily.

Maybe we'll get another Mario Paint, though. That's all you really need.
This looks amazing, and the fact they got Skyrim in the trailer is a great promise of its graphical prowess. I just hope they take online gaming seriously this generation.
Skyrim came out in 2011. I understand this is the "special edition" but that usually just means better textures, not a new engine. The recommended hardware requirements are not exactly cutting edge for the PC version of the remaster (i5 2400, 8 gigs ram, GTX 780).
It's actually a new engine, the same one used in Fallout 4:
Why am I being donwvoted for making a factual comment? This is clearly an abuse of the downvote system. Any mechanism in place to report this?
The larger point is those recommended (not minimum) hardware requirements are still for the special edition and aren't blowing anyone out of the water.
One wonders how they managed to get Skyrim to fit onto a cartridge.
Skyrim is probably, what, 10GB roughly?

You can get 16GB micro SD cards (which are phsyically much smaller than the cartridges appear to be) on Amazon for $7, and double that size for about $10.

> the fact they got Skyrim in the trailer is a great promise of its graphical prowess

Skyrim is a five-year-old game at this point. It's not exactly an indication of graphical horsepower.

it is for a portable device. This looks like a portable PS3, which is pretty excellent.

Unlike many others, I highly doubt this gets near PS4 performance. there are just too many reasons for it not to.

It's likely the Special Edition Skyrim release which uses Fallout 4's engine.
It could be, sure. Which has minimum specs well south of even the PS4, release date merely three years ago. I'm not saying it's a bad game. (Skyrim is the last Bethesda game I enjoyed--man, FO4 was bad.) But it is not really a benchmark in 2016.

This is a higher-end Tegra. It's impressive-for-a-mobile-chip, but mobile chips still aren't really impressive. Maybe the base has additional GPU muscle or something, who knows. But the existence of a video-rendered Skyrim on-screen isn't really indicative of "graphical prowess" in the first place.

Special edition Skyrim is coming out this month, 28th of October, on the PC, not 3 years ago.
Why am I being donwvoted for making a factual comment? This is clearly an abuse of the downvote system. Any mechanism in place to report this?
I think you were downvoted because you misread the comment you were replying to, which generally isn't considered productive. It happens, it's not abuse of the system.

(You were then downvoted for complaining about votes, because that is universally considered negative behavior.)

You can always email [email protected] if you'd like.

> you misread the comment you were replying to,

No, I didn't misread anything, like the OP then cleared out in answering my original comment, it was him that mixed the dates.

Telling you what you wanted to know wasn't an invitation to argue with me. I am the OP to whom you refer. I didn't mix the dates; you misread the antecedent to which "release date" referred and, in an effort to treat your response in good faith, I issued a mea culpa I then edited out when I realized that I had had it straight in the first place.
What did you had straight in the first place, the fact that your comment wasn't clear about if you where talking about Fallout 4 (like you said in the mea culpa that you now removed) or Skyrim Special Edition, or that you said it "came out 3 years ago"?

Because neither Fallout 4, Skyrim original and Skyrim Special Edition "came out 3 years ago", and if you weren't going around editing your comments, my comment would be both factual and properly addressing your original comment.

The PS4 came out three years ago (almost exactly). Skyrim's recommended PC specs are somewhere below the PS4 in terms of performance. It's not an unclear sentence, and it isn't one that I edited.

You were mistaken. Your fictional Internet points aren't important. You should stop.

"Release date three years ago" was referring to the PS4. Fallout 4's minimum specs on PC, even (i.e., not an optimized platform), are lower than the PS4-equivalents on that platform. I would expect a mobile device (and the Switch is on a Tegra platform, it's a mobile device), three years further down the line, to be able to be at least in the ballpark of "competitive", with allowances and restrictions (lowered draw distance, simplified shaders, maybe reduced texture size depending on the memory budget), with a machine packing a Radeon HD7870.

My point is that re-engine'ing the game doesn't change the assets involved (stuff like texture quality or shader complexity has a pretty significant impact on performance), nor (necessarily) the visual effects involved. You could scale UE3 down to run on absolutely laughable hardware and games today still regularly support 640x480 and other silly things. Being "on an engine" means something only when you have hard hardware requirements, like requiring support for SM 4.0 or whatever.

FO4/GameBryo has really weird hardware requirements in general that make it less conductive to mobile ports. It's super sensitive to single-threaded performance, it's super sensitive to memory bandwidth (very unusual for a game), it eats a whole bunch of GPU power in city areas, etc. Portables tend not to be known for those things. It also really prefers to be run on a SSD so it doesn't stutter when it's paging game-world cells in and out, although that could probably be tuned.

I generally agree that you can probably stuff it into a portable with some compromises within the next couple years, sure. But I'm glad I'm not a Bethesda employee, that's going to suck and I think the compromises are going to be big.

Re-engine'ing a game is a massive undertaking. There's a huge amount of work involved in porting mission systems and event triggers and so on between the two systems. I don't really think it's feasible, I'd see it as much more likely that they port the engine rather than porting the game to another engine (which AFAIK is what they did with Skyrim Special Edition).

It's especially unlikely because Bethesda has put a huge amount of work into developer/world-building tooling for GameBryo. They have been on a single engine for almost 20 years now (since Morrowind) and it's going to be a tough sell to throw all that tooling and experience away, even with the engine making ominous creaking sounds (as the FO4 codebase clearly is doing).

It clearly needs it though. Like, STALKER was playable on a laptop processor and iGPU ten years ago and the newer games are on par with FO4 visually in most ways. In many RPG senses it was even more flexible and more ambitious (A-Life was similar to Radiant AI). FO4 just runs like shit compared to how dated it looks and plays.

I'm not sure you're actually disagreeing with me here? SkyrimSE is using the upgraded "Creation Engine" variant of the same Gamebryo engine; that's what I was referring to. It's still Skyrim-era assets, for the most part, and that has a much bigger impact on performance and suitability for Tegra-esque hardware than the particulars of that flavor of the underlying engine.
Is there any other console that can play Skyrim smoothly on the go? No, which is why this is impressive. We'll have to wait for the specs to be announced before we can confirm that the docked console is behind the rest.
Why limit it to "consoles"? An iPad could, depending on the desired render quality. The A9x is probably beefier than the Tegra in this, or is at least competitive. (edit: "Probably" is a strong word, given that this is coming out in early 2017, but at least in the ballpark.)

Don't get me wrong, I think the device looks cool and I was already planning on buying one. But "playing Skyrim" just doesn't tell you anything, especially when the video on-screen is plastered there with After Effects. It's sloppy thinking to jump on that as meaningful anythings.

I've yet to see an iPad game at the level of Skyrim. Yes, you could get the same graphics, but I doubt you could get one with such scale onto an iPad.

I understand that the trailer is not meant to reflect the exact console. But remember that Bethesda is behind this, and so we have their seal of approval, so to speak.

I'm not saying the games exist on the iPad platform. I'm saying that the hardware is certainly competitive with this and so it's not some super-impressive thing that this is coming out with Skyrim. Like, we have this hardware already.
How do you know? Do you have some kind of inside information? All we know is that it's running on a Nvidia SoC.
No inside information, but I can make some educated guesses? It's an nVidia Tegra-platform SoC in a mobile form factor, which limits its TDP. That it has a fan grille suggests that it can run a little hotter than a no-fan device like an iPad, but you're still fighting with battery life. Like, there's only so much you can do with that, plus the needs to keep costs down in order to be price-competitive with the PS4 and Xbox One. By "we have this hardware already", I was referring to how preposterously tight Apple has gotten with their A9x/A10 hardware in terms of CPU and GPU performance. It's still not as competitive versus Intel in general use cases as Apple wants you to think it is, but it is very, very good and is definitely no worse than "competitive" against nVidia's current Tegra line.

I don't think I'm saying anything particularly shocking. And none of that's to say it can't be a good, satisfying device. I mean, Christ, I was playing my Vita this morning, and the chip at the heart of that is Frito-Lay. Just that the gamer conception of "power" really isn't...real? And that there are a lot of things that have to be considered in terms of that.

Fair enough. I'm honestly hoping that the base has some kind of GPU acceleration a la Surface Book. Otherwise, it's going to be treated the same way as the Wii U by third party devs.
All of the TES and FO3/4 games have been using the same engine since Oblivion. Bethesda now calls their internal build of GameBryo "Creation Engine" but it's very much the same thing. I think you can actually still pull "GameBryo" out of the EXE using the Unix `strings` util, and you can definitely see it from the game data.

So "ported to the FO4 engine" doesn't really mean much. It's like saying that Half-Life 2 has been ported to CS:GO's engine. Yeah, it's a more modern build of the engine but it's still the same engine and it's not going to look or run drastically different unless the assets are also revamped at the same time.

Also, my personal opinion (from the outside) is that Bethesda doesn't seem to have done a good job maintaining their codebase. Fallout 4 still doesn't really look any better than Skyrim (the facial animations are especially terrible), it's quirky/buggy as hell (framerate-locked physics in 2016?) and it runs like shit even on high-end machines. An engine from a game released in 2006 shouldn't struggle to hold 50 fps at 1440p on a 780 Ti. TF2 gets slagged on a lot for its shitty codebase but it's nowhere near that bad.

Morrowind was also built upon the same tech, IIRC.
I must be lucky because I never had issues with FO4 on my PC even with the crazy mods I've added.
I did the same in FO3. Decent but not outstanding games on their own but really great once the modders get going. I really like loot-driven games with more realistic gun physics (more damage taken/given, high accuracy, etc). The base FO4's weapon/armor mod system is doing much better for me than FO3 did but I still am pining for variety. I've been meaning to restart FO4 with some mods.

The performance issues were really terrible at launch. It's somewhat better now but it really prefers current-gen hardware and running from an SSD. It's really sensitive to memory bandwidth too.

The thing that killed my interest in FO4 is the lackluster story. I don't mind the whole setup but it felt they never built up the story enough to make it comparison to New Vegas' endings which I felt were more interesting. It always seems Bethesda fumbles with lore in their games more than anything.
I'm not a gamer but it looks pretty innovative. I wonder about the strategy of announcing 2 months before Christmas and launching 3 months after though.
I suppose it gives them time to get it right, rather than rushing to wrap it up, but also tries to pull the old "vaporware" trick of trying to get potential customers to delay purchasing a competitor's product.
That's a smart strategy.

Lots of consoles are going to be sold this xmas, so Nintendo announcing now may help hold people off from switching to msft/sony.

The only better strategy would have been an Xmas launch, a spring launch means they aimed for xmas but the schedule slipped.

Is it like a Wii U flipped? It's awfully resemble Gamevice controller for iPad - - except it's also an iPad, which is as big as 12 inches! How does Switch gets its content, by download, or old-fashion cartridge (I'm totally cool with that). And lastly, the battery lasts how long??
This actually looks amazing. I haven't bought a game console in a while and have in fact been actively avoiding them in favor of PC gaming and Steam, especially now that we've got the Steam Link and Steam Controller. However, this has enough value add that I could totally see myself buying this. This might just be the best thing I've seen from Nintendo in a long time.
Is this an upgrade for the 3DS, the Wii U or both? I was looking at picking up a couple of the new 3DS, doesn't seem worthwhile now.
Looking carefully at the cartridge when they slide it in (0:53 in the video), it looks to be perhaps twice as thick as the 3DS cart. But it would be very easy to make both go in the same slot, just make the new carts ever so slightly thinner. I can't see if the controllers have all the 3DS controls, but it looks like it's at least close. And a modern chip, with the option to be at least partially designed for the task, could easily either emulate or ship with hardware support for running the 3DS, which still is not that powerful in modern terms. Losing the 3D support is all but a non-issue in practice. I don't want to predict this is the case, but I see no major technical reason why this couldn't run 3DS games fully backwards compatibly.

The only thing I can't see is whether the screen is a touch screen, which would be necessary. Which may also preclude using 3DS games in TV mode. (Unless they do something weird with Wiimotes or something. But I'm not sure that would play well enough to be worth doing.)

If it's backwards compatible with both 3DS and the WiiU, and perhaps even the Wii, this thing will come out of the game with an absolutely killer lineup. ('Twould be a pity there would probably no way to port the physical disks that you already own across, though. The 3DS games would just slip in, so they'd have an ironic advantage over "real" Wii games.)

To me this seems like an entirely new console, actually. I wonder if this is the "Nintendo NX" they were talking about or if that was only the codename for this project...
Yes, this is the NX.
So you don't see it as a replacement to either line? You think nintendo will continue to develop and maintain all three?
It's a replacement for the Wii U, certainly.

The 3DS remains to be seen.

Yeah I was wondering about this too - will the 3DS be carried on and essentially be the low-powered option?
Both. If you don't own a 3DS yet, you should buy one anyway; it's an incredible system with a huge catalog of great games.
There's also a healthy market for second hand 3DS game cartridges. It helps that it is backward compatible and can play a bunch of games from older handhelds (for which the games are cheaper).
The "Switch" appears to mean many things, but also a "Switch" (for their non-gameboy/DS systems) to the ARM platform and a break from the PowerPC-based systems of the past.

Which means breaking compatibility, but certainly makes it possible for them to lower costs reduce power consumption and iterate more quickly.

I pretty much doubt the graphics quality could be that nice as shown in the demo while maintaining excellent battery power. Guess the final graphics won't be that much better than PS Vita. Still, looks like a really exciting concept so am really looking forward to the release and would like to see how it goes.
I personally feel this is going to be mediocre at best: 1. Limited appealing to main stream consumers 2. Awkward physical spec, tablet's down fall pretty much proved that how big a mobile device should be 3. No one would want to write games for this...
I disagree completely with your second and third points. Look how well the New 3DS XL is doing, the Switch seems to be about the same size.

Nobody needs to write games for it, it already runs Unreal, Unity, and the creation engine, which covers about 90% of the AAA games on the market right now.

I wonder if the Tegra X2 in here would be at all able to use any other nintendo devices as an external gpu since they no include the pascal architecture. For example possibly using the new nintendo nx with the switch somehow. Just a thought.
This is the NX.
The Switch is the NX. NX was just the code name, now it has been revealed.
I didn't get it... is it a handheld or a phone/tablet device? my question whatever it would replace my phone or just be another device on my backpack like the iPad, Laptop and tons of extra chargers, i carry to almost everywhere?
Seems to be a gaming device and not a tablet or phone replacement.

I would say with 100% confidence there is no way it would replace your phone.

And I would say with 90% confidence it will not replace a tablet. It may have a web browser, YouTube, Netflix, and a few token apps but don't expect full Android or anything. I could be wrong of course.

What happens if multiple people from the same household want to use local multiplayer on different screens? That's the only case where the one-to-one relationship between console and portable screen breaks down.
Does anyone else think the controller stick on the right looks like a problem? I can't help thinking that I will keep bumping the analog stick if I attempt to use my thumb to press the buttons at the top.
At the end of the day it's not about the console, but the games running on it. Not going to buy this if the only thing I can play on it is Mario or Zelda. I wish Nintendo a lot of success though.
This might be a dumb question, but can someone elaborate on how you can get such good graphics like they were showing in the Skyrim and Zelda images on such a small cartridge (i.e. not a disc?)
My thoughts are that the small cartridge is relative to an SD card, or a USB flash drive. The reasons other companies don't use them is because they are expensive to use unlike discs. The speed of the cartridges are faster than discs as well.
IIRC this is basically the same way the PS Vita handles it. Although in that case you can definitely smell something fishy with the way those "custom" save cards are priced. It's only a tiny bit larger than a MicroSD card and has 1/2 the capacity of one? But twice the price?

Hopefully the cartridge usage in the Switch doesn't drive prices up too much because of it. I get that production is more expensive, but after a certain point there are definitely some questions about why standard flash storage solutions aren't good enough.

Someone "The Switch will be released worldwide in March 2017."

Can I interpret that as "we missed the holiday season, and pre-announce this because we think its Osborne-effect ( will be smaller than its effect on the sales numbers of our competitors?

Exciting product. Criticism: the detachable controllers don't appear very ergonomic. They are small in size and the detaching mechanism look looks somewhat flimsy.
It looks like they're offering a more traditional gamepad style controller, like the Wii Classic Controller
It's called the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, and if you want to compare it to previous controllers, you should compare it to the Wii U Pro Controller (which is actually one of my favorite controllers).
This reminds me of the nvidia shield tablet but done right.
Light on details, outside of the association with nvidia there's still a lot of questions that need answering

Saying that though, I am almost certainly going to get one.

Seems like it will be a challenge to build games that are compelling on both a large screen while seated in your living room and on a small screen when you're out and about (from both a UX and gameplay perspective).

With that said it's a smart move to use the same controller for both use cases.

Overall looks pretty slick, interested to see how this plays out.

Why? It would just scale to the display size.
Day 1 purchase for me. I want one for the car so my kids can play Mario Kart in the back.
It's interesting to me to watch a video about a new gaming platform and have that video show me all the ways in which said platform will destroy nearly all forms of real human interaction with others, reducing us to unthinking drones looking at screens moving little virtual characters around while our brains whittle away.

This is the problem with the gaming industry. It's the equivalent of very smart engineers using their skills on the web to find ever more effective ways to make people click on ads. It's such a waste of human talent.

Gaming is different but not really. Most of the popular games have no real redeeming qualities. They are black holes into which youth can get sucked into, burn hours, days and years and, in extreme cases, ruin their lives. This, I think, is despicable.

If you want to do well in gaming you have to use your skills to find ways to create addictive games that shift a person into a Pavlovian state where they want more, they keep clicking the buttons and, eventually, they send you money. This has certainly been proven by the iOS space. Games like "Clash of Clans" is one of many examples of this.

Getting truly creative to find ways for people to engage with more intelligent and useful activities is very, very difficult. And so, to usurp part of a phrase that paints an amazing image...when they go low, we go lower.

I have long been disenchanted with what the gaming industry has done to kids. It's making money at the expense of their brains and emotions. It's selling drugs in digital form.

I didn't used to think this way until I saw the effect on my own kids. To make a long story short, my two little ones started to lie to us and play a couple of these addictive games on their iPods.

We have a simple rule at our house: On Saturday's you can play the available games for a couple of hours. The rest of the week play with legos, go outside, play with the dogs, etc.

This worked very well for many years (almost 18 to be precise). In fact, in a lot of cases they'd play less than two hours because they'd get sick of it and prefer to go for physical play.

Until a couple of games surfaced. And they, like evolved bacteria, became immune to the mechanism that made my kids decide to stop playing. Soon we would discover them playing the games in secret under their blankets at 11 at night instead of sleeping. Warnings did not work. And, after a couple of them we took the iPads and iPods away. They had become destructive devices rather than the opposite.

My kids were lying to me in a manner which I would imagine was no different than kids lying about taking drugs.

They've been off the iOS devices and these games for a year. They get their devices back in January. Cleared of all the addictive games. We'll see what happens.

So, yeah, I look at a video like the one for the Switch and immediately imagine how many lives it will destroy if used as portrayed.

I actually agree with you, a lot of games are being designed to keep you hooked. Which is not the fault of the developers as they have no choice but to try and extract money from their users if they are to survive. Those addict like qualities you saw in your kids, I saw in myself a couple of years ago and made my self go cold turkey. My drugs of choice were team fortress 2 and left 4 dead. I have thousand of hours logged between the two. I've made a lot of positive steps in my life since then and can't help but wonder how far I would have come if I had stopped playing a long time ago.
Congratulations, at least you were able to extract yourself from that road-to-nowhere and have positive things to look forward to. I am sure you'll be very aware of this in the future and help your own kids not get hooked.

As far as this not being the fault of developers. OK, sure, at a basic level, you are absolutely correct. Just like it is far easier for thugs to sell drugs to kids than to go find a real job or start a real company with real products.

The issue here is that all of these game studios go for easy-and-addictive without a care in the world about what damage they are causing. Trying to find new creative and positive gaming experiences is much, much harder. The formula for addictive games is known and relatively easy to implement these days.

I share your feelings when it comes to many games, but I don't think it generally applies to Nintendo.

The problem is that the word 'game' is too vague. Nobody would think to put 'viral videos' and 'Tarantino\'s latest film' in the same pile (except perhaps those who really dislike Tarantino), and yet that's what we do with gaming.

Some games were as good as some of the best novels I've read (Planescape Torment, Thief, System Shock). Some multiplayer games left me with friends for life (UT, Quake, Halo). Some games offered a creative outlet just as rewarding as the Lego or tin soldiers I had growing up (Minecraft, Neverwinter Nights level creation, Chip's Challenge), and some games actually tricked me into learning interesting things (Assassin's Creed 2, Civilization, etc.)

I'm not a parent, but if I had kids I'd probably limit their gaming too, but I'd put way more emphasis on controlling the kind of games they played. Cow Clickers (or most MMORPGS)? Not so much. Minecraft with coding mods? Hell yes!

All that said, if you'd be making an argument against sitting inside and media consumption in general, I'd probably agree a little more. There is still something fundamentally different about playing outside and interacting with other kids directly, and I hope I can make my kids do that instead of just staring at screens all day.

Of course, there are no absolutes. There are good games out there that, with moderation, do no harm. That's what I tell my kids. It's not that I don't want them to play. They need to have fun and some of these games are fun. It's about moderation.

Here's reality, it is well documented that gaming addition is hard for adults to kick. There are stories of people wasting years of their lives on this stuff. Young kids don't have any self moderation skills whatsoever other than physical exhaustion. Addictive games are a perfect match for young one's.

I wish I had taken videos of my kids lying about their "use". The look on their faces was that of addicts. Nothing less, nothing more. You could tell a mile away they were in denial and their little brains just wanted more drugs. Dangerous stuff.

Multiplayer solved in all the ways possible.
I feel like it will be mediocre at both living room and mobile gaming.

How can it possibly be powerful enough to attract third party developers?

Doesn't this compete with 3DS?

I actually think you're quite wrong.

My NVIDIA Shield Android TV box is Tegra based, and it drives 4k games pretty darn decent. It's no PS4 but I don't need that (and PS4 can't do 4k games) and you don't need that to run good (non-VR) games. And Nintendo is apparently using their own custom Tegra SoC so it's likely a step above the couple year old Tegra that is in the Shield.

Also the promo video shows Skyrim being played on it. Whether it's real footage or not, I don't know, but it doesn't look bad at all, and requires some decent GPU heft.

And if they're smart about this the switch to an ARM SoC means they'll be able to iterate more quickly and produce new higher spec'd or cheaper models to follow up and keep market, like they should have done with the Wii.

Thanks for sharing. Maybe my perception of what mobile-sized hardware can do is out-of-date.
Might be a good time to buy Nintendo stock.
I went all in with Nintendo's Wii offering after watching the Japanese commercials and made a nice chunk of change. The Wii was a game changer at the time and I get the same happy tingly feeling offering on this as well. Nintendo innovated again in the completely sideways manner we are used to, bucking the VR roadmap.

Direct link to the trailer video

Only way I could get it on hotel wifi (bad connection). Thanks!
Weird. Was the thread title edited? "Switch – New Video Game System [video]." I'm pretty sure everyone knows who Nintendo is and it's more descriptive to say that in the title.
I most excited by the prospect that this supports local WLAN multiplayer. At least that's what it looks like in the video.
Is Nintendo making a big mistake by missing Christmas with this thing?
I wonder if it really matters in year one for a nintendo console given they will probably struggle to push out enough to meet just standard demand anyway.
I don't get it... what is exciting about a GameCube/iPad hybrid?

Why not create a VR/AR console hybrid that lets you create things at home and then experience them in the real world... digitally graffiti your town at home then go out and check out your art work and or messages? Maybe that's an app already... leave your friends messages in certain locations seen via an AR app?

That's just not Nintendo's style. They pretty much always shun new tech and instead prefer to use established tech in new ways.

And yes the 3DS has some minor AR, but that was just a tiny little gimmick/experiment.

Well, except for the Virtual Boy, and we all know how well that went. In fact, that could be the reason they don't do that anymore.
Because someone is already doing that and probably a million times better. I'm sure the VR/AR console you dream of would be exciting, but ultimately not something I would play regularly. I play games for the challenge, for the competition. You need two controllers and a screen to play with your friends.
So instead of a portable screen/controller like the WiiU that's separate from the main machine - the main machine IS the portable part that could easily be dropped/broken, now? Or am I missing something?

Im failing to see how this design is superior to the Wii U's approach

You can't take the Wii U tablet with you. It's not the core of the system. This allows Nintendo to combine their console and handheld divisions so that they can unify their focus and have a steady stream of software, even if third parties don't show up.
Yep. They specifically mentioned the difficulty of keeping up with software for both consoles (which both have different architecture) this generation and that they weren't going to make that mistake again next generation. And clearly they aren't.
Ok, Fair enough... I guess I just looked at the size and didn't get to "mobile device" to take with you... so I just missed the point completely.. :)
The wiiu gamepad is only functional when it is within line of sight or about 15 feet of the home console. It isn't really portable. The advantage is that it can still be used while the TV is displaying something else.

Yes, this device would have more opportunity to suffer physical damage based on the nature of its design but I think that cost is easily justified.

I have 4 kids and they like to drop things. The very first thing I'm doing is buying a case for it.
If Nintendo will support Vulkan on Switch, that would be good.

This looks more interesting though:

And it's supposed to run Linux. Recent AMD GPU means it will work with amdgpu/radeonsi for OpenGL and radv for Vulkan eventually.

However after disastrous Jolla tablet crowdfunding, I'm not so eager to back hardware campaigns anymore. But I'll surely buy such device if they'll pull off making them in the end.

It is so reassuring to see Nintendo create a modern gaming machine that doesn't try to be a living room hub or an iPad competitor. Going entirely by the video alone, every single design decision has been made with a clear focus on gaming. The simple docking action for transitioning it to the TV, the versatility and portability of the controllers, the reasonable size, etc all combine to make this (again, judging entirely from the video) a focused, confident release that finally embraces the changing way people play games.

Besides an original Gameboy (which I loved), I've never owned a Nintendo console. After seeing this trailer, it is an instant buy for me in March.

The only thing I want to know more about is the online store. From what I understand, Nintendo's eStore has a lot of shortcomings in a lot of weird areas. I hope they address those. I have an Xbox One and about 25 games, all of which were purchased digitally. I'm not sure I could go back to physical versions of games.

Correct me if I am wrong. I believe eshop purchases are still tied to the system and not the account. This makes transferring of content more of a hassle than it needs to be. You'll need to do a system transfer of the games if you want to maintain your library.
This is exactly what I'm concerned about. It seems ridiculous. Not sure if it's enough to be a deal breaker, but it seems so backwards especially as they control the whole platform.
AFAIK, that is still how it works as of the Wii U. And yeah, there's awful processes for if say, your device dies, and you need to recover your digital purchases.
It is unfortunate Nintendo still operates their online purchases this way. Many other platforms (XB Live, PSN, Steam, et cetera) tie purchases to the account. Nintendo's way goes against expectations.

I hope Nintendo spends a little more resources to improve on the online side of things alongside the new Switch console (store, online multiplayer, interaction with friends...); they are severely behind compared to their competitors.

Nintendo has been behind with respect to online gaming for multiple console generations. Friend codes instead of user names is a terrible idea, and like their game purchases friend codes are tied to the hardware and not the user account.
I think a big part of the friend code choice is their focus on younger gamers. I think Nintendo's intentionally tried to make it hard for people to become friends who don't know each other outside of the Nintendo ecosystem. They don't want to be seen as an avenue for children being taken advantage of, they don't want parents worrying about what their kids do on a Nintendo platform, etc.

I'm not saying it's the right call, or that in this day and age, we haven't moved past that in many respects, but I'm willing to bet that's a big part of their lack of online focus.

Word on the street is that the higher echelons of Nintendo are absolutely terrified of a pedophile picking up children on their network. When views through that lens, all of their Internet decisions make sense.
That's almost certainly why it is how it is - remains to be seen if they catch up to everyone else with this console though.
The age control and granularity of control over what my son can do is far superior on the Nintendo consoles than either the PlayStation, Xbox, iOS or Android.

And yes, my ex have had total freak-outs over several of the other platforms due to ridiculous decisions (Plants vs. Zombies on the Xbox making it an outright pain to find out not to have random strangers suddenly broadcast their conversation to you - seemingly without realising - and liberally using the n-word, for example... whoever thought it was a good idea to have player audio broadcast without making it easy to mute on either end without muting all in game sound is a total idiot), or numerous iOS games that are otherwise great that allow unrestricted chat where my son has several times come across rather disgusting behaviour.

In general I'm not so worried in my sons case - he knows what he's not allowed to tell people, and he knows what not to repeat, but I can see why a lot of parents would find many games that otherwise would be perfectly age appropriate problematic to let their kids play.

Yes. If you can't have both systems available at the same time and location you need to call in to have your account transferred. This requires you to answer some questions about the account such as what games do you own and when did you buy them. Then they take a few days to get around to unlocking your account. It's awful and easily the most user hostile of the modern gaming platforms' stores.
Is there any info on whether this was a problem with not having Nintendo IDs linked to the shop on original Wii systems? On my Wii U, I had to create a Nintendo ID to use the shop, so presumably that follows me now. I could see the process you describe as their interim solution before they started linking accounts to the shop, but I don't know whether that's true.
Nope, the same process applies to Wii U purchases.
I don't understand why they do it this way. Buying a game on any other platform feels so much nicer, because I know if my console dies I can just log in and re-download. I assume it's something about piracy, but it does feel hostile towards regular users.
It actually made piracy easier. At least in the 3ds, all you need to do is add some id of the game to a file in the 3ds and it will be like if you purchased it.
A plausible financial incentive for them would be rent-seeking: they might be afraid they lose money on the balance if you only have to buy the game once. Doing it this way they have a shot at getting money from you again for the same game when new consoles come out.
What's wrong with being a living room hub? Since cutting the cord, my PS4 has been the ideal set top box and is the only device attached to my TV.

Blu Ray Player (that I never use), check. Plex client, check. DLNA client, check. Digital Optical Out, check. Netflix, Amazon Video check. Gaming machine, yup.

It completely removes the need for a HTPC.

And it can even access the new-ish Playstation Vue (, making the PS4 a relatively viable cable replacement box.
Game consoles don't ship with TV remotes, and the remotes that you can buy are overly complicated affairs.

The WAF of using a controller to control video playback is low. We have a Roku 3 and it's far simpler to use than our 360 or PS4. Plus it's never "off". Side benefit is that I can remote play the PS4 when someone is using the Roku ;-).

The Switch could plausibly fill this gap, but I guarantee that those little controller thingies are going to get lost.

You could just download an app and use your phone as a remote :)
My girlfriend instinctively used the TV remote to control the video playback on the PS4, and to my surprise it worked. It's a Sony TV and I can even control the PS home menu.
There's nothing wrong with that. But this solves a different problem. You can't (easily) bring your ps4 set up on the bus with you.
I wonder if, using a more powerful alternative to the raspberry pi, you can create a mobile gaming pc that can run PS now. It wouldn't be a PS4, but PS3 games would be a nice consolation :)

EDIT: Interesting, this could definitely power a PC running PS Now. So, I can't lug a PS4 around, but I could lug a PS3 around :) And it would just so happen to have access to the entire library of older systems. Thanks for the idea. I know what my next weekend project will be!

Haha, glad I could help
When I moved, I didn't build a "living room hub". In fact, I don't have a TV. I find it much more gratifying to hang out on the couch with my 3DS nowadays in hour long bursts.
Biggest pain point for the Nintendo eShop? If you own a 3DS and a Wii U and want to own a Virtual Console game for both - you're stuck with buying it two times.
I've lost count of how many copies of the original LoZ I own.
I agree this should be fixed, I can play a game on either of my iPhones without having to re-buy it, but do any other consoles allow you to do this? If I bought a game on the PS Vita that was also on the PS4, could I play without re-purchasing?

Honest question, I don't know. Just wondering if Nintendo is continuing the trend or if they're still stuck in the past.

"It depends"

Some games are cross-buy. Others are not. PSone Classics titles are cross-buy. Final Fantasy X/X2 HD is cross-save, but not cross buy.

There are a few cross-buy games on Nintendo systems, Severed is the most recent example. Most of Nintendo's cross-buy games have been rolled out since the new Nintendo Account system that debuted with Miitomo.

I don't know about PS Vita to PS4 compatibility but the reason why I decided not to buy a PS4 was that I'd have had to repurchase all the PS3 games that I've bought online before if I wanted to play them on the PS4.
>If I bought a game on the PS Vita that was also on the PS4, could I play without re-purchasing?

Yes. For example, they used to sell "PS Classics", Playstation games through their store. I bought Symphony of the Night once, and had it on my PSP, PS3, and PS Vita. I'm sure you could get it on the PS4 as well.

Microsoft has a similar thing for their Xbox Live Arcade games on the xbone, but many of those are being made into HD Remasters instead of being ported.

> The only thing I want to know more about is the online store. From what I understand, Nintendo's eStore has a lot of shortcomings in a lot of weird areas.

Haven't run into any as a casual user – Nintendo managed to make the purchase workflow easy even on a 3DS, which is impressive.

Uh, this sounds like a paid advertisement.
The video/gallery shows a gamecard and gamecard plug. Maybe there is no estore.
Every current system, and the last several Nintendo systems, have had physical media and digital purchase options. That the system accepts physical media tells us nothing.
That's far from likely. Not having digital purchases would be a terrible decision for a gaming system. The slot will be there to allow the choice to buy physical media, and to placate brick and mortar game stores.
The Wii, DSi, 3DS and Wii U all had both physical media and downloadable software. There were e-shop exclusives for all of those systems from mini-games to obscure games that were localized from JP and were too niche for a physical release.
Is the Nintendo Switch much different than the below; connecting a gamepad to your existing mobile phone, or streaming your phone to your TV?

The Switch might offer some advantages now, but it's not going to take long before mobile phones offer similar graphics, and gamepad experiences. At that point, what's the advantage of buying a Switch, when the phone in your pocket does all of the same things, and more?

I think Switch will sell enough to be profitable, but Nintendo is going to be squeezed out of the hardware market. They can't compete with Playstation and Xbox for the console market. They can't compete with Steam on the PC and laptop market. They'll also lose the mobile market to the iPhone, and Pixels of the future.

Personally, I think Nintendo should move away from hardware and focus on game development. Imagine Mario, Mario Kart, Pokemon, Metroid, Zelda, Smash Bros, and Kirby games distributed on Playstation, Xbox, Steam, iPhones, and Android. That's a huge market waiting for them.

>> it's not going to take long before mobile phones offer similar graphics, and gamepad experiences.

But they already do now. The only problem, albeit a big one, with gamepad experiences is the constantly changing form factors of phones over time.

>> At that point, what's the advantage of buying a Switch, when the phone in your pocket does all of the same things, and more?

It's not about the hardware, it's about the software. And in Nintendo's case, it's about having the latest and greatest first party Nintendo games. Which, with few exceptions, are not available on other platforms. The bottom line, enough people are still willing to pay for proprietary hardware to play Nintendo's games.

I agree, their hardware sells because of their games. Profits are in game sales and not hardware though, so why sell proprietary hardware in the first place, if it just vastly limits the audience for your game sales?
Nintendo see themselves as a toy company, in fact they still make non-game toys.

They don't make consoles as a "CPU+GPU+GAME" they make toys, for example this is why they invented some back then outright bizarre stuff, like N64 funky controller and first 3D platformer games, Wii and Wii controller, that board controller, and so on.

Nintendo doesn't like making games, they like making toys, the fact that their best product are consoles+first party games doesn't change this fact, if you look videos of they designing stuff, you will see that their first games for a platform are usually designed alongside the console, with game designers making prototypes of potential controllers and designing not a game for a console, but the console+game pair that fits their goals.

Then, they accept third party games as a "bonus", but it is NOT their focus.

> Is the Nintendo Switch much different than the below[...]

Yes: Nintendo's offering allows for "couch co-op" and/or "party games"—that is, local multiplayer. It's Nintendo's bailiwick, and always has been. Every feature in that video (each device supporting two players; ad-hoc pairing of N devices to get 2N players) is about local multiplayer.

Phone hardware is generic; you can force it into a gaming mould, but it won't support gaming experiences out-of-the-box in a way that a gaming console does. And because of that, devs will make single-player or online-multiplayer games for phones (for the people who care to specialize their devices themselves), but no devs will bother making local-multiplayer games for phones (because that assumes everyone in your friend group has bought into the same specialized peripherals.) This is why the Ouya failed: it assumed the Android ecosystem had local-multiplayer titles, or that devs would build one once offered a TV "target." It doesn't, and they won't.

Apple does want into the local-multiplayer space (they're working toward it with paired iOS+tvOS apps) but as I said, iOS devs just aren't interested; meanwhile, Nintendo consoles have Nintendo developing first-party "flagship" local-multiplayer titles to prop them up, and to encourage and provide a role-model for third-party devs who want to do the same.

> Personally, I think Nintendo should move away from hardware and focus on game development.

The other thing Nintendo is "about", in the modern era, is developer lock-in. You buy Nintendo consoles mostly because of their exclusives. How do they achieve so many exclusives? By making them in-house, yes, but also by designing their consoles to do unique things, such that third-party devs will write games that exploit those unique console features... and then find themselves unable to make a sensible port to any other console. Every Nintendo console is designed with the idea in mind that "if it was a plain-and-simple PC, you could just enjoy the same game on another console, or on an emulator. So let's make it not just a PC."

The Wii's Wiimote is a pretty good example of this lock-in effect; but it was eventually cloned—by Microsoft and Sony both. (They never intended anyone to make games just for the Kinect or the Move; instead, their strategy was effectively just to cancel out Nintendo's de-facto exclusivity and encourage devs to make their "motion" games into cross-platform releases, rather than Just Dance et al remaining Nintendo-exclusive.)

But the best example is the DS. Make a game for two screens, with touch-interaction only on the bottom screen? it's going to just look plain silly if you do a direct port of that to iOS or Android. It's a "natural" barrier in the way of porting.

And keep in mind that [3]DS games still vastly outsell iOS games in the mobile gaming market. Nintendo's strategy works. They make mobile hardware specifically for gaming, and people buy it. And they make money on the hardware, not just the games!

The Switch, though, creates a second, higher rung to Nintendo's mobile strategy—like the iPad is to Apple's. This isn't a home console, it's a mobile console for people who want a high-def gameplay experience and local-multiplayer.


In Nintendo's previous generation, we saw Super Smash Bros 4 and Mario Kart: two titles that were developed in parallel for both the 3DS and the Wii U (a lot of work!) They did that work because the Wii U was "a thing attached to your TV", while the 3DS was "a portable thing", and they wanted people to be able to play in both contexts. Other games that would have been perfect for this setup (e.g. Splatoon, Pokken Tournament) were left behind.

Effectively, those were all just Switch games that were released before the Switch was ready for them. They'll play better as ports to the Switch than they played on either the Wii U or the 3DS.

You could make the same argument about having an Xbox when Microsoft already deals with computers. Why have a separate console when you can have a PC that does the same and then some?

Nintendo's first party IPs are partially what keeps it alive. Think about it. Mario and Mario Kart have more or less been the same for generations, yet people (including myself) keep coming back for more.

Also, the Wii marked a decided family-friendly focus for Nintendo. Everyone complains about Nintendo's online ecosystem being so abysmal. This is rightfully so. If you look at it from the perspective of a parent with children, it's basically the perfect platform. Aside from their IPs, Nintendo consoles don't offer much for older gamers that Sony and Microsoft does way better. However, Nintendo consoles do get tons of games that are child- and family-oriented.

There really is no financial reason on any side to keep the proprietary single platform console hardware for game releases. Nintendo would certainly (as demonstrated by Pokemon Go) make ludicrously more revenue if their games were on all platforms rather than just their own. Because nothing their hardware does is useful. They make nice peripherals (Wiimote, whatever the tablet for the Wii U) which could easily have (and often do) have driver support everywhere else already.

So what are you getting out of a Nintendo console? Lackluster proprietary software and crippled low powered hardware. Not a compelling offer to pretty much anyone, so they use their software to prop up the hardware and lose out on dramatically more software sales to maintain a dead hardware business.

If this console were just an Android handheld / console switcher device it would be immensely more successful.

The Nintendo Shop on the Wii U is reasonable, actually. It's fairly easy to use, discoverability is decent. It's pretty basic but it's (in my opinion) their best attempt yet.

Assuming they build on what they've learn from that, I'd hope the store for this system will be even better.

My most-wanted feature for the shop is for them to stop forcing me to buy the 'classics' on every bloody Nintendo system I buy! I must own Super Mario World 3 or 4 times by now.

(Obviously they're not actually forcing me, but it would be good to have cross-platform pass for that kind of content)

It has a bad UI.

But the real killer is: games are still tied to hardware, not user account. Which means, if your console dies, you lose all your purchases. (Unless that's changed VERY recently.)

If you're used to the Xbox store like the grandparent, going to the Nintendo Shop is like stepping back in time a decade.

>But the real killer is: games are still tied to hardware, not user account.

This seems crazy in this age of apps

I'm fairly confident you're incorrect. There's a single shared account between the 3DS and Wii U online stores, and I also know for sure that 3DS purchases are tied to your user account, rather than your hardware. I suppose it's possible that it works differently for the Wii U than the 3DS ecosystems, but that seems unlikely. You can still only have an account attached to a single console (of each type) at a time, but if you lose one or it dies, you can reattach your account to the new one.
Your account is tied to the hardware (1 3DS and 1 Wii U). You can move your account from one hardware to another if you have both on the same room, or with a phone call.
The ACCOUNT is shared. But the PURCHASES are not.
Sorry, but that's the way it is. You do share the 3DS and Wii U accounts, but game titles are tied to the console. Nintendo has no instructions on how to transfer games to a different 3ds system without having both of them physically there and working [0]. I wanted to trade in my 3DS for a discount on a "New 3DS", but wouldn't have both systems to transfer my games. (Though I've read most Gamestop's will let you do the transfer in their store when you do the trade-in, I haven't tried).

It seems a Kotaku author was able to get their games transferred by contacting Nintendo directly. So at least there's that [1]. There's no direct way to download your games onto a new 3ds. And additional source about transferring between systems [2].




Calling Nintendo to transfer your account in the event an old system becomes inaccessible is inconvenient, but not insurmountably so. It's good enough for me to consider games not tied to the console.
> but game titles are tied to the console

they are not. you only need to contact Nintendo if your account is still TIED TO ANOTHER 3DS. However if it isn't you can just buy a new 3DS and selling the old one before you have the new one. If you've forgotten to detach your account your games are missing.

Here a german letter (I translated it) that I got from Nintendo before selling my 3DS (I wanted to sell the Games with the Account):

    Die Spiele, die Sie mit Ihrer NNID erworben haben, werden für den Nachbesitzer also nicht verfügbar sein, vielmehr sind die Lizenzen der Spiele
    mit Ihrer NNID verknüpft. 
    Spiele sind auch nicht zwischen NNID's übertragbar.

    Eventuell vorinstallierte Spiele (wie z.B. Mario Kart 7) sind mit der Seriennummer der Konsole verknüpft und werden für den Nachbesitzer wieder
    verfügbar sein, solange Sie vorher keinen Datentransfer auf eine andere Konsole aus der New Nintendo 3DS-Familie durchgeführt haben.
NNID = Nintendo ID. In short it says Licenses are connected with the Nintendo ID. Only Games that are pre-installed on the Console will be tied with the Console ID, if you didn't do any Datatransfer to another Device.

However I detached the ID and bough a 2DS later and I still can play all the Games on my NNID. Basically I only sold the 3DS + Cartridge Games.

I am under the impression the lack of unified account system problem will finally be fixed with this new system. This is so long overdue and very welcome.
> But the real killer is: games are still tied to hardware, not user account.

that's wrong. only the game that is preinstalled on the console is tied to the hardware. which mostly happens on bundles.

And the thing about the virtual console games is that after you've bought them 3 or 4 times from Nintendo, piracy starts to look real appealing.
The worst part of buying stuff on the Wii U shop is that you can't store it on a tiny SD card. You have to plug in a full external hard drive. This seems like a pretty obvious thing for them to fix in this iteration.
Don't forget that the WiiU also follows USB standards strictly and won't power a portable USB hard drive over a single USB port, requiring a Y-cable. Also you only get the option of formatting the entire drive to use for the WiiU.
I've heard you can't transfer games from console to console - no word on backwards compatibility yet but I must have some eShop titles from ages ago.
I think that's a big part of why Nintendo still has purchases tied to devices. As a way to push people to buy the same content over again. They don't push out new digital content fast enough to keep the income flow up if they aren't getting you to repurchase things.
The Wii U shop isn't completely awful, but it's pretty bad. Both the 3DS and Wii U shops suffer from two major problems:

1. They're slow.

2. There are far too many screens/taps necessary to do things.

Loading each new screen seems to take at least a few seconds, and there are way too many of them. I'd estimate you could remove like half the screens in the 3DS shop purchase flow through better UX design. Just compare how long it takes to buy something on either system to how long it takes on Android or iOS.

edit: oh yeah and downloading takes large games takes a REALLY long time. I downloaded the new Sonic game for my 3DS the other day on the guest wifi at a Google office and it took like 3 or 4 hours. It definitely wasn't the wifi that was the constraining factor, speed testing on my phone showed it at like 200 mbps.

You're right about the UI slowness. That is a problem for the system as a whole. When it was originally released, returning to the home screen (for example) was incredibly slow - it's marginally better since a system update, but woeful compared to the equivalent functionality on PS4 or Xbox.
Another weird thing: I have a 3DS and a 3DS XL but purchases can only be installed on 1 system. This is also a problem if your system breaks, because your games are tied to your console.
For eShop games you can call Nintendo and they can transfer the licenses (I did it when upgrading to a New 3DS.) For me the real bummer was that your saves are also tied to your console and it's more complicated transferring those. I don't mind paying 30-40$ for another game license, but it really hurt losing 100+ hours of progress in several unfinished games.
It's like their 'HTML5' browser (on either the wii or wiiu) so slow! The thing is the Wii U specs could have run at least some version of Chrome... I don't think it's hardware accelerated in anyway - prehaps to stop html5 games interfering with 3rd party games maybe?
Additionally the search is pretty bad. Just yesterday I searched for "smash bros" to buy some new characters, the actual game is deep in page 2 of the results after a bunch of developer videos and other tertiary stuff. Games, especially as popular as Smash, should be right at the top.

Also, filters for available DLC are nonexistent. You can't filter by maps, characters, or whatever applicable content types are available. All you can do is sort by "latest" and "most popular" for example.

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