Nintendo’s long-rumoured new gaming console was finally unveiled last week, and it’s nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Once again, the Big N applied the blue ocean strategy to cook up the Nintendo Switch, a living room gaming console that doubles as a handheld gaming device.
Nintendo is playing the game differently here. Unlike its competition, the Switch isn’t just a big black box that sits permanently on the TV stand. Gamers can either play the Switch as a standalone gaming tablet or drop it into a dock to play on their big screen TV.
The Japanese company is fully embracing mobile gaming, but instead of abandoning the console, the Switch lets gamers experience the best of both worlds in a single platform.
Nintendo hasn’t released the full specifications of its new gaming console apart from a trailer that showed us how its new machine works.
In home console mode, the tablet component which is the main console itself nestles inside the “Nintendo Switch Dock” like bread into a toaster. The dock connects to the TV, and I can safely assume that it charges the tablet.
And when it’s time to take the console out, the tablet can be removed from the dock, and here comes the best part: the game controllers can be snapped onto each side of the tablet, turning it into a full-fledged portable handheld game console!
The tablet also has a kickstand, and gamers can also use those controllers indi- vidually when the tablet is propped up on a flat surface.
You can also pass one half of the controller to a friend so you can play Mario Kart together on that screen.
With the Switch, Nintendo wants gamers to take it outside and play with friends instead of sitting at home and play online with strangers.
The Switch uses tiny cartridges instead of CDs, just like Nintendo’s 3DS handheld. That helps keep the design of the Switch slim and light as it is, as CD drives would take up more room.
Although Nintendo hasn’t announced it yet, it’s likely that the Switch also offers an online service for buying and downloading games digitally.
What is still unknown are the processors running the Switch; how much the internal storage is; and what the battery life is like when playing handheld.
Game titles and pricing details are also yet to be announced, though a list of major de- velopers that will be making games for the Switch have been released to the public, with names such as EA, Activision, Bethesda, Square Enix, Namco, Sega and Konami.
The Switch is a fresh take on gaming con- soles in today’s era of smartphones and tab- lets, and it’s something that I’ve always wished I could do with my PlayStation console for ages.
I applaud Nintendo for doing something different to what the competition offers. We certainly don’t need another PlayStation or Xbox.
As long as Nintendo gets strong developer support this time around, the Switch will help the company redeem itself after the failure of its predecessor, the Wii U.
The Nintendo Switch is set for a March 2017 launch.