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Nintendo Switch: Online mobile app launches in two weeks

iOS and Android smartphone app to debut on same day as paint-based shooter Splatoon 2

Nintendo Switch: Specs, price and reviews

28 February

Nintendo's highly anticipated Switch launches this Friday and critics are already sharing their first impressions.

It's a radical new direction for the Japanese gaming giant, which is delivering a system that has the power to compete with the latest generation of home consoles while allowing players to take their games on the move. 

There's also the possibility that Nintendo will have a modular approach to the Switch, meaning a host of new accessories could be adapted to the console in the future. 

Company president Tatsumi Kimishima told AsiaReview that Nintendo is currently "studying" the possibility of bringing virtual reality to the Switch, as well as exploring potential expansion features that could be integrated with the console's array connectivity ports.  

The Switch looks as though it could be a real game changer when it launches, but can it live up to the company's iconic consoles of old?

Here's what the critics think so far:

Previews

The first impression gamers will have when unboxing the Switch is how small it is compared to the current generation of home consoles, says Metro. It's also "stylish" and "looks like something Apple or Samsung would make". 

Sliding the console into its television dock increases the resolution and boosts its power, adds the site. But the dock "doesn't really do anything" as attaching the console to the TV simply removes the restrictions implemented in handheld mode.

There are elements of nostalgia and simplicity that could make Switch cynics appreciate Nintendo's latest offering, says Expert Reviews

"It may not be as flashy as the PS4 or Xbox One", but the unique experiences that can be had with the all-in-one console will "stick with you far longer than one more lens flare or water reflection."

Players will only have "a trickle" of games to play when the console launches, the site adds. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the console's few titles that could influence buyers to invest in the system. 

Arguably, says Wired, the most intriguing part of Nintendo's new console is the detachable Joy-Con controllers. While they're "tiny", they don't feel too small to be uncomfortable and offer the means to play multiplayer games straight out of the box. 

They can also be attached to a grip to form a more conventional controller layout, adds the site, but it's a "pretty strange-looking" solution.  

Players looking to spend long periods of time on the Switch may want to invest in the Pro Controller, which is "more comfortable to hold" and larger in design.  

Engadget says the portable tablet screen looks similar to a "nondescript Android device from the front" and is "pretty thick" compared to contemporary tablet devices. 

What sets the Switch apart is its ability to seamlessly jump between portable and docked mode, the site adds, which is simply done by popping it into the plastic dock. 

The dock "doesn't look like much" and is "basically just a hollow plastic tray". However, it does come with a small tray that "routes the cables through the back of the dock" to reduce the clutter. 

Price and release 

The Nintendo Switch launches on 3 March and costs £279.99. Pre-orders are open at Game, although stock levels may drop significantly nearer the console's release date. 

Shigeru Miyamoto: Satoru Iwata helped develop Nintendo Switch

14 February

Legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed that Satoru Iwata, the late president of Nintendo, pushed for portability and connectivity on the upcoming Switch.

The Mario and Zelda creator told Time the company chief, who died in 2015, had "put a lot of thought and time" into the console's development and pushed for the all-in-one to offer portability to players.

"I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that's something Mr Iwata put a lot of emphasis on", he said.

Miyamoto added that while he and Iwata were not directly involved with the creation of the Switch, they provided feedback to the younger staff who were developing the console.

Iwata was determined to make the company's products more appealing to non-gamers when he was appointed in 2004, says the BBC, and was an instrumental figure in the creation of the DS and Wii, both successful consoles with titles that "even your grandma could play".

Experts predict the Switch, which releases in March, could have the same appeal.Forbes says the detachable Joy-Con controllers are "by far the most important aspect" of the console, providing an active gaming experience similar to the Wii and allowing players turn the all-in-one into "a local gaming hub" for multiplayer matches.

Nintendo Switch launches on 3 March for £279. Pre-orders have opened at Game and are expected to race players by the console's release.

Will Nintendo Switch have a mid-life upgrade?

7 February 

Nintendo Switch launches in less than a month away, but already attention is turning to the possibility of it receiving a mid-life hardware upgrade.

Director Shinya Takahashi told Time magazine that while traditional home gamers will probably "treat Switch like a home console and buy it and use it for a long period of time", players used to handheld gaming could have a different approach.

"They may buy Nintendo Switch and then, for example, if a new version were to come out later, then maybe they would decide to upgrade to that," he said.

It's thought Takahashi could be referring to Nintendo 3DS gamers, as he suggests users upgraded when newer hardware was offered later in the handheld's life cycle. 

His comments may mean Switch could follow the same development direction, giving gamers more powerful variants of the all-in-one in a mid-life system refresh. 

The move would follow its rivals, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which either have a more powerful system on the market or have one in development.  

Wired reports that the likes of Sony and Microsoft may move away from the conventional eight-year lifespan for home systems as they will not "want to wait through an entire console cycle" before releasing upgraded hardware. 

Nintendo Switch launches on 3 March for £279. Pre-orders have opened at Game and are expected to reach players in time for the console's release date. 

Nintendo 'studying' VR possibilities for Switch

2 February 

Nintendo is planning to introduce virtual reality to its upcoming Switch console in "one form or another", says the company's president. 

Tatsumi Kimishima told AsianReview the games giant is "studying" the possibility of bringing VR to the all-in-one, but only if it can "resolve the issues" of using the technology for long periods of time. 

Sony is currently the only mainstream gaming company to offer VR features. Its PlayStation VR, which costs £350 and works with the PS4, allows gamers to play titles such as Drive Club VR and Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing from a first-person perspective. 

However, while the technology is spreading, many users have reported motion sickness and eye strain when using headsets. 

Nintendo has yet to reveal how it plans to combat these effects, although it may follow Sony's recommendations that players take 15-minute intervals for every hour of gameplay. 

As well as the VR announcement, Kimishima also revealed that Nintendo's first online subscription service will cost between 2,000-3,000 yen (£14-£21) per year. This would make it significantly cheaper than rival services from Xbox and PlayStation, which both require an annual fee of £40 to use their online features. 

Details are scare, but Nintendo's scheme will probably grant players access to online multiplayer games and may include free monthly games. 

The Nintendo Switch will launch on 3 March from £279.99. Pre-orders have opened at Game and are expected to reach buyers by the console's release. 

Nintendo Switch: Specs confirmed ahead of March release

30 January 

Nintendo has revealed the technical specifications of its all-new Switch console ahead of its global release on 3 March.

A website post reveals the all-in-one will house a 6.2ins LCD touchscreen boasting a 720p resolution and a battery life varying from three to six hours. The resolution jumps to 1080p when connected to the TV docking station, with certain games running at 60fps in both portable and docked configurations.

Games will be available as compact cartridges that can be inserted in the top left of the device, similar to those used in the Nintendo 3DS The Nintendo Switch also comes with a 32GB SD card to store games, which can be expanded by purchasing larger storage capacities.

While Nintendo products often feature bespoke connectivity ports, the Switch can be charged using the dock's USB-C adapter. A regular HDMI port connects the device to the TV and two USB ports located at the side and rear offer users a standardised auxiliary connection.

The Joy-Con controllers, four inches (102mm) tall and 1.4ins (35.9mm) wide, can be used as two separate game pads in split-screen mode. They have a battery life of around 20 hours and are charged through the touchscreen.

Bundled in with the console is a controller mount that combines the Joy-Cons into a single and more conventional game pad. There's also a pair of Joy-Con wrist straps to prevent the controllers flying out of the player's hands.

Nintendo has yet to reveal performance figures for what it calls the console's "customised" Nvidia Targa graphics processor.

Switch enters stores on 3 March for £279.99. Pre-orders can be made at Game and are expected to reach buyers for the release date.

Nintendo Switch: I am Setsuna joins launch line-up

24 January

Nintendo's game line-up for its upcoming Switch console has been bolstered today, with I Am Setsuna and Lego Worlds both confirmed for the all-in-one system.

Square Enix's role-playing game I Am Setsuna is expected to be available for the system's launch. Players will be able to download it from 3 March and get access to the exclusive Temporal Battle Arena multiplayer game mode.

Meanwhile, the open-world building game Lego Worlds will be joining the range along with and Lego City Undercover, revealed TT Games head of design Arthur Parsons, although he did not mention a specific release date.

Both titles are currently available on other platforms: I Am Setsuna launched on PlayStation 4, Vita and PC last year and Lego Worlds can be downloaded now on Steam for PC players. It is set to appear on the Xbox One and PS4 later this year.Here are the current games that will be available at Switch's launch.

  • 1-2-Switch
  • The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
  • I Am Setsuna
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Just Dance 2017
  • Skylanders 
  • Super Bomberman R 

Switch will hit the shelves on 3 March, priced £279.99, around £60 more than rivals the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Pre-orders have opened at Game and are expected to reach buyers by the console's release.

Nintendo Switch: First impressions, price and release date

17 January

Nintendo will launch its Switch all-in-one console at the beginning of March - and there are a host of first-part games and accessories on the way, too. 

Combining a home entertainment console with a portable handheld, Switch gives gamers the power to undock from their television mid-game and continue playing on its 6.2ins screen. 

Players can also interact with the console using the Joy-Con controllers, which can either be attached to the side of the portable screen or coupled together when the system is paired to a television. 

There are also a range of accessories planned, including different colours for the controllers and an Xbox-style pro controller featuring a more traditional button layout. 

The highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be available at launch, with the Wii U-ported Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, which includes all downloadable content at no extra charge, appearing on 28 April. 

Packed with motion controls and portability options, Switch looks to combine the best elements of Nintendo's most recent consoles.

Here's what the experts think.

First Impressions

Switch's 720p portable screen is a clear set above its predecessors and significantly more impressive than Nintendo's 3DS handheld system, says ArsTechnica. It's even more impressive than Sony's "adequate" PlayStation Vita and is only rivalled by smartphones for sheer pixel count.

Meanwhile, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe will make gamers "never want to play on the Wii U's tablet screen ever again", the site adds. Seeing games run at 60fps on a portable screen is "breathtaking" and a substantial advancement over the 3DS's "blocky" graphics.

The Joy-Con controllers "nestle snugly in the hand" and feel comfortable in all configurations - even if they can sometimes look "a bit silly", says the Guardian. Nor does the paper think there will be a problem switching between games that require different controller configurations, saying players should have "no problems" adapting.

Trusted Reviews praises the build quality, which it says is a clear improvement over the Wii U's "Tonka Toy plastic" controller, feels solid and has a "good weight", although the screen looks small due to the "thick black bezel". 

But it does say Splatoon 2 and Zelda: Breath of the Wild have some noticeable anti-aliasing issues that can cause some "pretty aggressive" jagged lines. However, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe does "not seem to suffer". 

It is also difficult to compare Switch to its Microsoft and Sony rivals, says Alphr, as the all-in-one philosophy of the console suggests Nintendo is "forging a very different path" to its competitors.

The site adds that the "mobile chip" is a "pretty special" processor which "melts away" any fears that Switch is a limited package.                                                           

Meanwhile, the ability to play Mario Kart 8: Deluxe multiplayer races with competitors around the world is an exciting prospect, Alphr adds, and could be a persuading factor in gamers choosing Switch over its rivals.

The Verge says switching between a console and portable gaming device works well, but the console mode itself "isn't perfect". The lack of graphics power makes it feel "compromised" and the default controller is not as nice to use as the more familiar offerings from Xbox and PlayStation. 

However, Nintendo is renowned for proving that great games can still come from seemingly underpowered consoles, the site continues, and Switch could allow the Japanese games giant to "innovate" as it has done in the past. 

Prices and release date

Switch launches on 3 March for £279.99, making it around £60 more expansive than its rivals the PlayStation 4 Slim and Xbox One S. Pre-orders are open now at Game and the console should reach buyers by the launch date. 

Nintendo Switch: Console released 3 March – with new Mario game on the way

13 January

Nintendo will release its new all-in-one Switch console on 3 March – and there are a host of launch titles and gaming accessories on the way, too. 

UK gamers can expect to pay £279.99 for the device, which will be boxed with a set of grey or blue and red Joy-Con controllers, a pair of Joy-Con wrist straps and a television dock. 

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The price positions the Switch above Microsoft and Sony rivals, with the base-model Xbox One S priced at £219 and the PlayStation 4 Slim costing around £218 on Amazon.

Nintendo also confirmed its range of accessories, including coloured variants of the Joy-Con controllers and an Xbox-style pro controller featuring a more traditional button layout. 

The highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be available at launch and the Wii U-ported Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Splatoon 2 launches between the spring and summer. 

 

There is also a new title - Super Mario: Odyssey, which takes players outside the iconic Mushroom Kingdom into an open-world similar to real life. Locations range from a New York-style city to a colourful cell-shaded forest.

 

Switch pre-orders are open and can be found at Game for £279.99. Orders are limited to one per customer and should reach buyers by 3 March. Odyssey will be exclusive to the console and is expected to go on sale before Christmas.

 

Nintendo Switch: Launch games leaked ahead of today's conference

12 January

Nintendo will announce more details about its all-in-one Switch console at a conference today. A leaked image, allegedly from the video game retailer Gamestop, also hints at several new launch titles for the system.

The image, originally leaked on PowerUpGaming, reveals the existence of around 14 launch titles with a scheduled release date of 19 March. Included in the list is Ubisoft's Just Dance and an unnamed Mario game, as well as several ports from the Wii U such as Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Mario Kart 8.

Nintendo is known to be working on a ported version of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wind, which it recently demonstrated on the Jimmy Fallon show in the US, with footage of a Super Mario title appearing in the original launch trailer for the console. 

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Yesterday, a leaked document on Neogaf suggested a host of accessories would be coming to Switch owners, including an Xbox One S-style gaming controller and an arcade-style controller for fighting games. 

It's also believed that the entry-level model will be cheaper than its rivals from Microsoft and Sony. According to a leak posted on the Dutch website TechTastic, prices for the Switch will start at £199. This would make it around £10 cheaper than the PlayStation 4 Slim and £20 less than the Xbox One S. 

Nintendo is expected to reveal its lineup of launch titles in a live conference today, as well as an official release date and pricing. You can pre-order the console now from GAME

Nintendo Switch: Accessories leaked ahead of March launch

11 January

Nintendo's new all-in-one Switch console could feature an array of accessories and bolt-ons when it launches in March.

Documents leaked on NeoGaf claim a vast array of extras include a gaming controller similar to that of the Xbox One S, an arcade-style controller for fighting games and even a car power adapter.

There's also a bunch of bolt-on accessories, including plastic protectors for the base model's touch screen display and a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wind sticker set.

It also appears there will be clip-on extensions for the controller's triggers and joysticks, available as a separate package costing €9.99 (£8.65).

According to a leak on Dutch website TechTastic earlier this week, the console will be cheaper than its Microsoft and Sony rivals, with the entry-level model rumoured to start at £199.99, while a higher-storage option could hit the market at £249.99. You can pre-order the Nintendo Switch now from GAME.

If the rumours true, the basic Switch will be around £10 cheaper than the 500GB PlayStation 4 Slim and £20 less than the entry-level Xbox One S

Nintendo is to hold a livestream presentation on Thursday which is expected to confirm a specific release date for the console and launch titles. Games currently under development which may not be available at launch, possibly including a new Super Mario title, will also be revealed. 

Nintendo Switch: Everything we know so far

03 November

After months of shadowy rumours about a console codenamed "NX", Nintendo has finally revealed to the world that its new device is called the Nintendo Switch, and as expected it's a console you can play almost anywhere.

The Switch will work in tandem with a TV, just like the PS4 and Xbox One, but there's also an undocking screen with portable gamepads, so you can take any game anywhere.

The detachable items are called Joy-Con controllers and can be used to set up the Switch like a Wii U gamepad, placing two control strips either side of the big screen to play on the go. 

If you'd rather not hold the screen, the modular nature means you have a variety of options.

There's a stand on the back on which you can prop the Switch up and detach the controller strips completely. You can hold a strip in either hand or use the Joy-Con grip to fasten them together so they feel more like a conventional gamepad. 

One of the smartest features of the controller setup is that the two parts can actually become separate mini controllers. Each strip features a four-button keypad, joystick and bumper buttons, letting two gamers use them to play. 

Nintendo is keen to shout about this in the trailer, showing friends playing together while out and about. 

At home, the Switch Pro controller can be used if you'd prefer a solid, familiar, completely normal gamepad. 

As the pre-launch rumours suggested, the console is a cartridge-based system and they're small enough for you to be able to carry several titles around.    

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of Nintendo's most anticipated titles and will be available at launch.

The trailer clearly shows a new 3D Mario game will be coming to the platform too, alongside Skyrim: Special Edition. 

 One analyst underlined the importance of the console to the BBC, calling it Nintendo's "last shot" to claw back into the home games console market. 

The Wii was one of the company's most popular consoles, racking up more than 100 million sales. Its successor, the Wii U, however, has flopped in comparison, with only 13 million shifted since 2012. 

How powerful is it?

Nintendo hasn't revealed the exact specs of the Switch, but we do know that a custom Nvidia Tegra processor is at its heart is. 

This means the console probably won't be quite as powerful as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, says GameSpot. These two console both use the PC-based x86 architecture, while the chipset in the Switch is related to those found in top smartphones and tablets, albeit modified. 

What this means for gameplay is unknown. Some rumours have pegged the Switch as being capable of 1080p-resolution, 60-frame-per-second games, but Digital Trends is doubtful. 

It could come close to the PS4 and Xbox One, it says, and some games may even be on par, but it certainly won't offer visuals competing with the upcoming Xbox One Scorpio or PS4 Pro.

As for the portable screen, Trusted Reviews cites rumours that it's a 720p resolution display. Battery life remains a mystery though. 

How much will it cost? 

Nintendo hasn't disclosed the price yet either, only saying it'll be revealed closer to launch in March 2017. 

TechRadar has done some digging, though, and says the most reliable hint so far comes from credit rating agency Macquarie, which predicts the Switch will retail at $300-$350 (£250-£290). 

That's less than the price accidentally leaked by a Tesco listing, which put the console at £349.99. The site thinks that price isn't the final one.  

Can some games be played across two screens?

Because the Switch screen is pretty similar to the Wii U's controller when the two Joy Con pads are attached to it, some fans have been wondering whether games might take advantage of dual-screen gaming.

This would mean you can play the main game on a television set or monitor, with the second screen acting as a tablet-like controller, providing more inputs and controls at your fingertips. It's a reasonably popular feature on the Wii U.

Sadly this won't be the case. According to TechRadar, Nintendo has confirmed that the Switch is a single-screen experience only. This is because the screen and the hardware inside it are integral parts of the whole system, and the display needs to be placed in the Switch dock for the console to play on a television set.

Have patents unveiled the console's secrets?

Nintendo has said that we'll learn more about the console's full abilities soon, but a series of patents spotted by Polygon could spell out some of the features Nintendo is hiding until a later date.

The Switch could feature GPS, motion tracking, image recognition, and even a built-in projector.

The projector is the most interesting aspect. Instead of projecting the picture so you can play your games on a massive scale, it will instead be there purely for gameplay purposes. The patents show the projector beaming game-relevant images into the palm of the player's hand – the example in the patent showing a player throwing a projected baseball at a batter on the screen.

Nintendo's upcoming Switch console was revealed in tentative form last week. A trailer showed the new gaming system in action, but fans won't have to wait too long to discover more. 

The video confirmed the device is exactly what pre-reveal rumours said it would be - a hybrid, 2-in-1 games console you can play docked to a television set or on the go using a detachable screen with its own mini controllers. 

Now the company has revealed gamers will hear more about the Switch early next year. 

When will we hear more? 

Fans are in for a lengthy wait. Nintendo has confirmed the next time we'll see the Switch will be in January, when it'll hold a special presentation to go through the new console in detail. 

The company confirmed the presentation via Twitter, revealing it'll take place on 13 January. "Major details" about the system have been promised, as has an exact launch date beyond the vague March 2017 window we have currently. A first look at some of the games in development is on the cards too. 

This will also be the first chance for the media to sample the Switch, so first hands-on reviews will arrive weeks before the console actually goes on sale. 

Although Nintendo will keep its cards close to its chest between now and then, Pocket Lint reports a rumour that the Switch will arrive on 17 March and will probably launch in Japan first. However, these reports should be taken with a pinch of salt for now. 

Nintendo Switch: Full price and reveal in January

27 October

Nintendo will hold an extensive presentation about the new console, its abilities and its library of launch games on 13 January. 

It's thought the company has kept some features hidden and will only show them off closer to release. 

The launch date and price will also be revealed. So far, Nintendo has only suggested the Switch will go on sale in March 2017, with no hints whatsoever as to how much it will cost. 

According to Eurogamer, media present at the event will get their first hands-on demos with the new hardware and public demonstration events for gamers will go ahead shortly afterwards. 

Until then, there will be no more updates, so fans now face a few months of radio silence before all is revealed. 

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