Nintendo Switch (JP) (announced as NX in development) is an eighth generation hybrid video game console released by Nintendo, and its seventh major home game console as the successor to the Wii U. Despite this classification, Nintendo markets the system mostly as a home console that can be played on the go rather than a dedicated portable handheld system. It was officially announced on October 20, 2016 and was released simultaneously on March 3, 2017 in Japan, America, Europe, Hong Kong, and other territories. It costs US $299.99 in America and JP ¥29,980 in Japan. A Nintendo Switch presentation containing more information about the system was live-streamed from January 12, 2017 at 11:00 PM to January 13, 2017 at 12:05 AM (EST). The Nintendo Switch had a hands-on event on six separate Sundays in six different cities across America prior to its release date, along with Tokyo Big Sight, Japan. Pre-order retail reservations started on January 21, 2017 in Japan. As of January 12, 2017, 50 companies have collaborated with Nintendo and 80 games are currently in development for the Nintendo Switch. On January 4, 2018, Nintendo announced that the Nintendo Switch has sold over ten million units and became the fastest-selling video game console in America within a time frame of the first ten months.
During the reveal of their partnership with DeNA, Satoru Iwata revealed the new console. The Nintendo Switch is a portable system which can be docked for home play, effectively hybridizing home consoles and handhelds.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is the second version of the Nintendo Switch announced on July 10, 2019. This version was released worldwide on September 20, 2019. Unlike the original, this console is smaller and is handheld only (meaning that it cannot be docked to play on a TV screen). This console can only play games that support handheld mode. Games that require use of motion controls (e.g. Super Mario Party) are not supported due to absence of the IR Motion Camera (though regular Joy-Con controllers can be connected to play these games). The arrow buttons are also replaced by a single D-pad. Due to being handheld only, the Nintendo Switch Lite features only 720p HD resolution.
Joy-Con Controllers can attached to the system to work like a GamePad or used separately for multiplayer. The system is cartridge-based, storing physical copies of games on Game Cards like the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS lines; while continuing this tradition for handhelds, it notably breaks the trend of home consoles storing games on discs.
The Nintendo Switch is a home console/handheld hybrid device; while the main unit is a portable tablet with a multi-touch screen, it can be inserted into a special dock that connects to a monitor for at-home play.
Games are controlled using either the Joy-Con, wireless controllers that can be attached to either the sides of the tablet or a special controller bridge called the Joy-Con Grip, or a Pro Controller similar in design to the controllers used in the competing Xbox One.
The Joy-Con can be used either as standard controllers or as motion controllers analogous to the Wiimote and Nunchuk. Physical games are stored on Game Cards similar to those used in the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo Switch Online
The Nintendo Switch utilizes a paid online service requiring a subscription fee of around $20 per year; while several features are still available without a subscription, payment is required to access most features, including online play. The service also introduces new and convenient features, like online cloud saving. The service launched on September 19, 2018. Most features are centralized around the smartphone app which also released the same day.
Subscribers are also able to access a free app which allows them to play from a selection of popular Nintendo Entertainment System games for as long as they are subscribed. They release every month
On October 16, 2015, the Nintendo Development Kits for Nintendo's new console, code named "NX", were confirmed to be distributed to various publishers. This confirmed that the NX is succeeding the Wii U and 3DS and is coming out in multiple formats. There seems to be a massive boost in making them developer friendly with development portal at developer.nintendo.com with the Nintendo Dev Interface
In 2013, Nintendo chose to merge the handheld and home console development teams into a single Research & Development division, due to the emerging possibility of integrating the software used by both platforms. Satoru Iwata said that it was important to "take advantage" of the established architecture of the Wii U while developing a future system, because of the ability to use common ways to program a handheld display and a full-size television display. At the time, Iwata stated that Nintendo was aiming to change the situation of developing separate versions of games for both handheld and console versions. He expressed interest in developing new hardware using the common programming of Android software, which would help alleviate the time taken to port the same game between separate handheld and home console releases.
Yoshiaki Koizumi, the general producer of the Nintendo Switch console, made sure that the hardware development team included experience from "various different sections and disciplines", including both handheld and home console design. He wanted to make sure sure that there was a high potential of "mixing and matching" those different areas of experience, to reach a single product. Many different hardware designs were proposed and considered, including a patented elliptical touch-screen controller capable of 3D display, as well as a controller which uses a camera to sense the player's hand actions. The NX's vision was to appeal to the on-the-go lifestyle of today's consumers, and adapt to their needs. This lead to the concept of "switching" between a home console and a handheld.
Shinya Takahashi, the general manager of the Entertainment Planning & Development Division at Nintendo, described how the early brainstorming stages focused on the essential functions of a portable home console. The team also looked back at the accessibility and popularity of the Wii when developing the Switch, while still retaining features from other past Nintendo consoles, such as the handheld screen of the Wii U. Early on, it was also considered important for the system to come with two controllers that can be attached and brought on the go for two players to easily play together (in a similar way to how the Famicom docked two controllers on the system), although still providing a "full and satisfying single-player experience". Reggie Fils-Aime stressed the concept of "constant engagement" during Nintendo Switch planning, and appeal to an "anywhere, anytime, any way" approach. The use of color was recognized to have been emphasized by Nintendo's systems in the past, notably with the Nintendo GameCube and Super Nintendo's multi-colored buttons. This inspired the use of red and blue Joy-Con for the Nintendo Switch, whereas the alternative grey design was aimed to appeal more to a "core gamer who is looking for something more sleek".
A notable challenge during development was "packing" all of the required technology and features into the Joy-Con's desired weight and size, such as the IR Motion Camera, while still focusing on "communicating" the value of that technology through the software. The HD Rumble, described by Yoshiaki Koizumi as a form of "virtual reality", required a lot of collaboration and trials between the hardware and software teams in order to utilize it within game design.
In 2015, Satoru Iwata spoke about how the need for region locking wasn't entirely due to consumer actions, but of the seller in global vendor licenses and different circumstances between countries. Iwata acknowledged that there were advantages for both the consumers and Nintendo in lifting region restrictions, and if future hardware were to use region-free games, then such problems would need to be pre-determined and subsequently solved. On January 12, 2017, Nintendo announced during a livestream presentation that the Nintendo Switch's games will be region-free.
The name "Nintendo Switch" was decided due to the ability to easily switch from a television screen to a handheld screen, as well as being akin to flipping a switch to "change the way people experience entertainment in their daily lives."
Nintendo chose not to give much information about the console throughout most of its development due to concerns over industrial espionage; as a result, an overwhelming majority of the NX's publicity prior to its official reveal focused on unconfirmed rumors and speculation from various third-party sources.
The information Nintendo had provided clarified that the NX would not truly succeed the 3DS or Wii U and that games would still be developed for the latter two consoles, as it would be impractical to discontinue both. However, the Wii U was discontinued shortly after the NX's official reveal due to the commercial failure of the former. Additionally, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed during a Q & A session following E3 2016 that Nintendo has been doing research on virtual reality.
On October 20, 2016, Nintendo released their official preview trailer for the console after months of little to no information; this trailer showcased the variety of ways that the NX, now referred to by its official name of the "Nintendo Switch", can be played; particular emphasis was placed on its handheld capabilities, while still showcasing the ability to use it as a home console. Despite positive fan reception, Nintendo's stock took a significant downwards spike due to investor skepticism caused by the trailer appearing to market the device towards a combination of casual and core audiences rather than the core market alone and by the continued lack of information towards the Switch's technical specifications.
On December 7, 2016, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime did a surprise live demonstration of the Switch during his guest appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; there, he allowed Fallon, a noted fan of Nintendo, to play a brief demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While nothing was stated about the technical specifications of the Switch, its live demonstration showcased its home-to-handheld transition capabilities and its ability to run Breath of the Wild at a noticeably smoother frame rate than the Wii U version, implying a greater technical prowess.
In January 2017, Nintendo discussed the Nintendo Switch in full in an hour-long presentation, detailing the system hardware, its accessories, the prices of the system, games, and accessories, the release date, and several notable games coming to the system, including Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Fire Emblem Warriors, FIFA, and Project Octopath Traveler.
The following weekend, Nintendo had a hands-on event in New York, Japan, the United Kingdom and more with tours to travel across Europe and North America up until the system's launch in March 2017. Additionally, numerous internet celebrities known for specializing in video game-related content (such as Emile R. Rosales-Birou, Ross O'Donnovan, and Jirard Khalil) were shipped Nintendo Switches and copies of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild early for the purpose of reviewing both the console and the game.
On March 3, 2017, the Nintendo Switch saw worldwide public release, with retailers describing sales of the console as being ambiguously strong. While reception of the console was mostly positive, many noted the underwhelming launch lineup, with Breath of the Wild, the system's most anticipated game, having the added caveat of being available for the previous-generation Wii U as well as the Switch. Others also noted software issues such as spotty connectivity between the left Joy-Con and the console, stating that issues such as these marred the experience of the system. Nevertheless, consumers, reviewers, and even other video game companies generally praised Nintendo's console.
On June 20, 2017, the 3.0 update was released, it added the possibility to choose new profile icons inspired by Splatoon 2. It also allows the user to add their friends from the Wii U, 3DS and mobile games friend lists, to register a specific channel to receive News for specific games, receive notifications when your friends go online, to find controllers within communication range by activating the vibration feature, to change the user icon order on the Home Menu, to change the system volume from the quick settings, to lower the maximum volume for headphone or speakers connected to the audio jack, to change display colors to Invert Colors or Grayscale, it allow the connecting of a USB keyboard to the dock and to type whenever the keyboard is on the screen.
The update also added a feature that suggests deletion of software data if there is insufficient space when downloading other software.
On September 20, 2017, the system was announced to be released in South Korea and Taiwan on December 1, 2017.
On October 19, 2017 the 4.0 update was released, it added the possibility to choose new profile icons inspired by Super Mario Odyssey characters as well as more The Legend of Zelda characters. The update also allow the user to capture short video for the games supporting the feature, the possibility to transfer saved data and profiles to another Nintendo Switch and the option to pre-purchase (also known as pre-order) certain games on the Nintendo eShop were also included in the update.
During its first month 2.74 million Switches were sold worldwide. After 16 weeks on the market, the Switch sold more than 1 million copies in Japan. As of June 2017, the Nintendo Switch sold 4.70 million units worldwide. After 26 weeks the Switch sold more than 1.5 million units in Japan which is extremely fast, for comparison, the PS4 took 69 weeks to reach these numbers. By October, the Switch reached 390,000 units sold in France which is a huge number to reach for a Nintendo system in a single European country during such a short span of time. As of September 2017, the Nintendo Switch sold 7.63 million units worldwide. The Nintendo Switch reached 10 million units sold worldwide by the end of November 2017. In January 2018, Nintendo announced that the Switch was the fastest selling console in 10 months in the United States, Canada and France with France already selling 911 000 units in 2017.
As of the end of December 2017, The Nintendo Switch sold 14.86 million copies which means that Nintendo's hybrid console outsold the lifetime sales of its predecessor, the Wii U, in less than a year. As of March 30, 2018, the Switch sold over 4 million units in Japan. As of the end of April 2018, the hybrid sold 17,79 million units worldwide. The Nintendo Switch reached 19.67 million units sold by the end of June 2018. As of September 30, 2018, the Nintendo Switch sold over 22.86 million units, which is more than the lifetime sales of the Nintendo GameCube.
According to Nintendo, in November 2018 the Nintendo Switch broke the US sales record previously held by the Wii during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. This five days period was also marked by a lot of sales records being broken by individual Nintendo Switch games. As of December 2018, the Nintendo Switch sold over 32,27 million units worldwide.
As for games, Nintendo released their top ten best-selling Switch games at the end of January 2019. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe headlines the list, followed by Super Mario Odyssey. The next three were Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Let's Go. Number six was Splatoon 2, followed by, yet another Mario title (Super Mario Party). The pack-in launch title, 1-2-Switch, came next on the list. At number 9, Mario Tennis Aces made its appearance. Kirby Star Allies rounded off the list. The Nintendo Switch reached 36.87 million units sold by the end of July 2019. By the end of September 2019, the Nintendo Switch's number of sold units were above 41.67 million.
There were over 100 games in development for the Nintendo Switch. The system launched with the following titles:
- 1-2-Switch (2017)
- Just Dance 2017 (2016)
- Skylanders: Imaginators (2016)
- Super Bomberman R (2017)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
- Fast RMX (2017, eShop)
- Human Resource Machine (2017, eShop, previously released on Wii U in 2015)
- I am Setsuna (2-17, eShop only in West)
- Little Inferno (2017, eShop, released on Wii U in 2012)
- Snipperclips - Cut it out, together! (2017, eShop)
- Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (as well as Specter of Torment) (2017, eShop)
- Vroom in the Night Sky (2017, eShop)
- World of Goo (2017, eShop, released in 2008 on Wii)
- Disgaea 5 Complete (2017, Japan only, released in 2015 on PlayStation 4)
- Dragon Quest Heroes I + II (2017, Japan only)
- Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence (2017, Japan only)
- Puyo Puyo Tetris (2017, Japan only, released in 2014 on PS4 and 3DS)
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII (2016, Japan only)
- 5 Arcade Archives titles (2017, Japanese eShop, released in 2014 on PS4)
- Blaster Master Zero (2017, Japanese eShop)
- New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers (2017, Japanese eShop)
- Soldam 2 (2017, Japanese eShop)
- VOEZ (2016, Japanese & European eShop)
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- The first hybrid console in the standard game market.
- The first home console to utilize physical games as cartridges in over 20 years, since the Nintendo 64.
- The first console since the Nintendo GameCube to include the word "Nintendo" in it.
- The first console to utilize a USD Type C connector for charging.
- Nintendo's first console to feature the player indicator light based on amount of lights instead of placement. In prior systems, the placement of 1 light out of 4 indicated the player. Now the number of lights total indicates the player number (player 2 will have 2 lights, 3 will have 3, etc.)
- Nintendo's first region-free home console, and their overall second after the Nintendo DS.
- The Nintendo Switch is the second home console to not have a Mario game as the launch game, since 1-2-Switch released first. The first console is the Wii with Wii Sports.
- It is Nintendo's fastest-selling and most financially successful console to date.
- The Nintendo Switch has surpassed the lifetime sales of the Wii U (13.56 million) in just 10 months since December 2017. The Switch also exceeded the lifetime sales of the Nintendo GameCube (21.74 million) and the Nintendo 64 (32.93 million), as well as other past-generation consoles. It is currently Nintendo's fifth best-selling console and the ninth overall, as well as the sixteenth best-selling console of all time.
- Since it's launch, the Nintendo Switch has surpassed the sales of its competitor, Sony's PlayStation 4.
- The phrase "THANKS2 ALLGAMEFANS!" can be found written on the Pro Controller's motherboard, just above rightstick; the message is viewable by holding down rightstick and peering through the transparent plastic in the surrounding socket.
- A copy of 1984's Golf is embedded in the Nintendo Switch firmware. Activating it requires the internal system clock to be set to July 11 – Satoru Iwata's death anniversary – and performing his iconic "directly to you" hand gesture with both Joy-Con controllers on the main menu. If successful, a voice clip of Iwata from a Japanese 2012 presentation will confirm the input, and an emulation of Golf with added motion control support will promptly boot up. Golf has significance as one of the first video games Iwata programmed himself for Nintendo while working at HAL Laboratory. This version of Golf was overwritten as of the 4.0.0 update, making it unplayable.
- ↑ Falcão, Pedro (May 25, 2017). Jogos de Nintendo Switch e 3DS serão distribuídos no Brasil. Vice. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
- ↑ Official Nintendo website (South Korea). Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- ↑ Official Nintendo website (Taiwan). Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- ↑ Iwata, Satoru (March 17, 2015). Business and Capital Alliance Announcement. Nintendo. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
"[...] let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX'."
- ↑ King, Ashley (June 19, 2015). Reggie calls the Nintendo NX a home console. Wii U Daily. June 19, 2015 snapshot via WayBack Machine.
- ↑ Nintendo (October 20, 2016). First Look at Nintendo Switch. YouTube. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- ↑ Nintendo (January 12, 2017). Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017. YouTube. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
- ↑ NintendoAmerica (October 26, 2016) "Learn more about Nintendo's new home gaming system at the Nintendo Switch Presentation, streamed LIVE on Jan. 12". Twitter. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- ↑ http://www.nintendo.com/switch/events/
- ↑ NintendoAmerica (January 4, 2018). "Within 10 months, #NintendoSwitch has become the fastest-selling video game system of all time in the US!" Twitter. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
- ↑ Peckham, Matt (December 3, 2015) 14 Things Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima Told Us. Time. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ Iwata, Satoru Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing Ending March 2014: Question 5. Nintendo. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ IGN. (February 28, 2017) How Nintendo Made the Switch. YouTube. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ Byford, Sam (December 11, 2015) Wild Nintendo patent filing shows game controller made out of a screen. The Verge. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ Brian (March 1, 2017) Reggie on Switch. Nintendo Everything. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ Iwata, Satoru Semi-Annual Financial Results Briefing Ending March 2015. Nintendo. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ McWhertor, Michael (January 12, 2017) Nintendo Switch will be region-free. Polygon. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ Brian (December 6, 2016) Nintendo on Switch’s name. Nintendo Everything. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- ↑ Dickens, Anthony (March 4, 2017). Have You Seen The Hidden Message Inside Your Switch Pro Controller? Nintendo Life. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- ↑ Flog. switchbrew.org. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- ↑ Satoru Iwata – 1999 Developer Interview originally featured in Used Games magazine. shmuplations.com. Retrieved September 27, 2017.