Friday, January 13, 2017

All The "Switch" Updates!

I think you already knew that today's post would be all about the Nintendo Switch. The conference held at Nintendo's office in New York was live streamed last night, highlighting some of the key features with the new system. And yes, it is a system. Not a non-peripheral, non-system.

First off, who at Nintendo thought it would be a good idea to hold the conference at 11 PM Eastern/8 PM Western time? Some of us on the East Coast and Central time zones have to work in the morning.

The big news is that the Switch (yet another dumb name in the line-up of poorly named Nintendo products) will be available a lot sooner then we expected. Releasing March 3, 2017 at $299USD (280 Euro and 480 AU), the game line-up for the system will be big almost instantly. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will also be available on 3/3. The critical hit I Am Setsuna will also be available, as well as Just Dance 2017.

The controllers, called Joy-Con (really Nintendo?) will be your markers for playing the system on it's own or connected to a television. Each Switch will come with 2 Joy-Con controllers. To use the system on it's own, you just lift it and remove the controllers. To connect it to a TV, attached the controllers to the Joy-Con Grip. From there the controllers can be removed for 2 people to use. A replacement controller will cost $50 USD while a pair will end up at $80. The controllers contain NFC sensors to read Amiibo data, so those suckers will not be going away anytime soon, a screen capture button for sharing game content online, motion IR camera, and HD rumble packs.

Nintendo also announced a new Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2, to rousing cheers. Odyssey is currently being viewed as an open-world sand box game, which is very unusual for Mario. It looks to be a #D platformer along the lines of Galaxy. The trailer wasn't very specific about the game content, other then showing Mario jumping around in a variety of landscapes. The game is expected to launch later this year.

But Nintendo doesn't want gamers to feel like this will be a Mario/Zelda/RPG only system. Bethesda and EA have already announced that Skyrim and FIFA titles will be appearing on the Switch. Though I am rolling my eyes about Skyrim. At this point they need to let it go, realize that PC modders are doing the game better, and move on to the next title. Still, that other developers are acknowledging the potential behind the Switch is a good sign.

What's next for Nintendo? They are going on a tour to select cities in the US, Canada, and Germany to show off the Switch. The first 2 days in each city are closed for the press, but the third day will be open to the public. One of the biggest showings will be at PAX South later this month, where it will be on the scene for 3 full days. I will be camping out that booth, come hell or high water. Sorry friends! But really not sorry.

For a recap of the presentation, Engadget has a good 12 minute mash-up of the highlights.

Aside: Of course pre-orders are sold out almost everywhere in the US. Nintendo is doing their dick move once more to undercut supply to drive up demand. There is a possibility that they are releasing waves of pre-orders, so keep an eye out on Amazon, Walmart, and other big name stores for more reservations.

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