It has been a couple of days since Nintendo Switch was officially launched, and I feel it’s important to take you through this new innovation.
Well, reviewing the Nintendo Switch now feels mature considering I’ve spent a couple of days with one and learnt several things so far. I had earlier stayed off the topic because everyone knew about this new innovation that would be hitting retailers worldwide from 3rd March.
Fast forward to today, and now I’m here with this innovation trying to look into every detail about how this Japanese video game company has planned to improve gamers’ experience.
Introducing Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console designed to operate as both a portable (handheld) and home console. The switch console is a tablet-like gadget with two detachable controllers – Joy-Con L and Joy-Con R – on either side of the unit.
And that’s why the designers describe it as the console that gives you the freedom to have fun wherever and whenever.
“Nintendo Switch is designed to go wherever you do, transforming from home console to portable system in a snap. So you get more time to play the games you love, however you like.”
The console can be played in three ways: Handheld mode, TV mode, and Tabletop mode.
For Handheld mode, the controllers are normally attached to the unit in portable mode.
“You can eject Switch from its docking station and take it with you to play on the go. The Joy-Con controllers are attached directly to the sides of the screen, making it resemble a Wii U gamepad that can function on its own.”
For television output mode, detach the Joy-Cons from the tablet, slide the switch into the dock linked to your television (the systems starts charging) and slide the controllers into the Joy-Con Grip. Once in the Joy-Con Grip, the Joy-Cons look like any other standard controller.
“You can insert Switch into a docking station, which allows it to be played on your television. The Joy-Con controllers can then be used wirelessly to play games from your couch; or they can be attached to a grip accessory to provide a more traditional controller experience. A Switch Pro controller is also available to use, but is sold separately.”
For the tabletop mode, you can detach the controllers and setup the Switch’s inbuilt kickstand on a flat surface, giving a chance single and multiplayer modes.
“Nintendo also seems to be focused on local multiplayer with the Switch, even in portable mode. The main device as a kickstand, so it can be propped up on a table or other flat surface. Then players can detach the Joy-Cons for more comfortable play.”
Each player can use single controllers (i.e. one Joy-Con) for multiplayer titles.
However, from my experience with this device, it’s possible to have more than three modes of play, these include: TV Mode with Pro Controller, Handheld Mode with Joy-Cons Attached, TV Mode with Joy-Con Grip, TV Mode with Joy-Cons Free, Tabletop Mode with Pro/Grip Controller, and Tabletop Mode with Individual Joy-Cons.
The Switch measures 4.0 by 9.4 by 0.5 inches and weighs 10.6 ounces. From my understanding, the weight and thickness works to Switch’s advantage given it makes it feel more solid both with the controllers attached and on its own.
“Approximately 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached)
*The depth from the tip of the analog sticks to the tip of the ZL/ZR buttons is 1.12 inches”
Through a blog post, Nvidia announced that the device is powered by a custom Nvidia Tegra Processor.
“Nintendo Switch is powered by the performance of the custom Tegra processor. The high-efficiency scalable processor includes an NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards.”
I’ve also come to notice that the television doc doesn’t offer any extra processing power, and it’s only meant for charging the system and television output.
The Nintendo Switch gaming experience is generally supported by fully custom software, with a refurbished physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and the following specs:
“Screen: Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 6.2-inch LCD Screen / 1280 x 720
Storage: 32 GB of internal storage, a portion of which is reserved for use by the system.
Users can easily expand storage space using microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 2TB
Networking: Nintendo Switch can be connected to the Internet via a wireless (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
and Bluetooth 4.1
Video output: Up to 1080p via HDMI in TV mode
Up to 720p via built-in screen in tabletop mode and handheld mode
Audio Output: Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output
Output via HDMI connector in TV mode
Headphone/mic jack: 3.5mm audio jack
Game card slot: Nintendo Switch game cards
MicroSD card slot: Compatible with microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC memory cards
Operating environment: 41-95 degrees F / 20-80% humidity
Sensor: Accelerometer, gyroscope, and brightness sensor
Internal battery: Lithium-ion battery/4310mAh
Battery life: Approximately 2.5 – 6.5 hours
Charging time: Approximately 3 hours”
Gameplay is further enhanced by several great features on the dock, Joy-Con controllers, and the Joy-Con Grip.
What you need to know about the battery life
After getting enough games to play on our new gadgets, we sat in a room with my colleagues, each gaming on their own switch. Initially, I was absorbed by Zeld as it was equally fun and comfortable to play either in handheld mode or in docked mode using the Joy-Con Grip
After a couple of days of playing different games, I managed to test the battery and saw how close the Switch got to Nintendo’s claims.
Nintendo proclaims that the switch can last over six hours, but this varies depending on the graphics requirements of game and usage conditions. For my case, the battery only lasted for about 2.75 hours while playing The Legend of Zelda at 100% brightness with Wi-Fi enabled. But managed to go for about 3 hours when I played at 50% brightness in airplane mode.
This was actually similar to Trusted Reviews’ findings on using the Switch on the same set of conditions.
“When used at 100% brightness with Wi-Fi enabled, I estimate you’d get around two hours and 45 minutes. Less than the three hours claimed by Nintendo, but not by much.
In the second test, which is more typical of how most people will use the console on the go, is encouraging. At 50% brightness and in Airplane Mode, you’d get around three hours and 15 minutes – a decent 30 minutes or so extra and over Nintendo’s three-hour guideline.”
The battery drained at 36% (at 100% brightness with WIFI enabled) and 31% (at 50% brightness in airplane mode). After an hour of charging under the same condition through the provide AC adapter, the batter recharged at 47% and 45% respectively, implying the battery charges quicker than it drains
Inside the box
Once more, Nintendo reminds us how crucial it is as both a hardware and software manufacture.
The Switch come with the tablet (console), the two Joy-Con controllers, the grip, the dock, the Joy-Con wrist straps, an HDMI cable and a USB-C cable (the power adapter).
The Switch doesn’t come with any bundled games in order.
Earlier in the year, in an interview with Gamespot, Nintendo of America President Regggi Fils-Aime explained that it was the company’s decision to allow gamers to have exactly what they want at an affordable price.
“We look at every launch uniquely as to what’s the right thing to do for that launch.
And I’ve been involved in launches dating back to the Nintendo DS. Each one is a little different. For this launch, what we found is that with the range of software that’s coming–not only available day one but through April and into the summer, and including the holiday timeframe with Super Mario Odyssey–that we wanted to enable the consumer to buy the software they want, to look to get to the most approachable price point we could get to. That led us to a $299 price point, and let the consumer decide what games they want to buy.”
Personally and according to most gamers, the company ought to have included a few bundled games or demos to give us a glimpse of what to expect in terms of gameplay and experience.
Setting up the Switch for any mode of play is simple. Just follow the manual book and you’ll be good to go.
Pairing the controller was a little complicated for me at first, but I mastered the art after a couple of trials.
Gameplay and experience
Well going by our experience, there are a variety of techniques to approach the system. Although it takes time to figure a few things out, everything gets better with time.
That’s why I borrow Geek.com’s advice to old-fashioned gamers.
“For an old-fashioned gamer who doesn’t want to bother with a new twist on their game controls, just leave the Switch in the dock and pick up a Pro Controller. Despite the weird translucent plastic, the Pro Controller is totally traditional and feels hefty yet comfortable, which it should give its price.”
Nintendo Switch Online Service
I haven’t had the time to test the online service, but from the look of things, it’s indeed a great feature for gamers.
According to the developers:
“This service lets Nintendo Switch owners enjoy online multiplayer gaming as well as a dedicated smartphone app that connects to your Nintendo Switch system and helps you connect with friends for online play sessions.”
During an interview with the Japanese newspaper, The Nikkei, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that the service would cost between 2,000 yen and 3,000 yen per year, putting it in the $17–$26 range.
The online service is currently free until the paid online service launches in fall 2017.
“You’ll be able to play compatible co-op and competitive games online by signing in with your Nintendo Account. Online play will be free for Nintendo Account holders until our paid online service launches in fall 2017.”
Switch has launched with the following 11 titles:
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Just Dance 2017
- I Am Setsuna
- Super Bomberman R
- Skylanders Imaginators
- Binding of Isaac Afterbirth+
- Little Inferno
- World of Goo
- Human Resource Machine
Upcoming major releases due this year include Ultra Street Fighter II, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Lego City Undercover, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, along with original new titles Arms and SnipperClips.
Nintendo provides a range of add-ons to improve your gaming experience:
- New Joy-Cons: Used to play game with more than two players, or to easily play games with more than one.
“Pick up an extra set (or two) of Joy-Con, the controllers that make new kinds of gaming possible. Add more players to compatible games with a left or right Joy-Con controller”
- A Pro Controller: You’ll need it to control the Switch in a more conventional way, it worked perfectly for Zelda and other meaty single player games.
“Take your game sessions up a notch with the Pro Controller. Includes motion controls, HD rumble, built-in amiibo functionality, and more.”
- Joy-Con Charging Grip: This is used to charge the Joy-Cons and still play with them while the Switch is docked.
“Combine the left and right Joy-Con into one larger controller with this handy grip. It also lets you keep playing while you’re charging your Joy-Con, so you don’t have to miss a minute.”
- Joy-Con Wheel Pair.
“Insert a Joy-Con into this accessory to feel like you’re behind the wheel in your favorite racing game.”
- A Screen protector. I know most of you may not need this because the screen doesn’t feel fragile, but it’s important for safeguarding it in case of accidents.
Partnership with different publishers and developers.
Nintendo has a huge list of key game developers and publishers that are publicly declaring support for the Switch.
The Nintendo Switch as of now is a great system for straight up playing, and I’m confident that future updates will expand its other features nicely.
Although it was my wish that Nintendo had included features to fully deliver on things like Virtual console, online multiplayer and other third party support systems, we should just give them time as the company evaluates the trends.
We should be willing to constantly appreciate video games and the machines we use to play them.
All in all, the Nintendo Switch is good for video games.
Nintendo Switch unboxing and first time setup