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October 20, 2016 7:10 AM   Subscribe

After endless speculation and at the tail end of a console that was largely a commercial flop, Nintendo has unveiled the Nintendo Switch.

As rumored, the console appears to be a portable/home hybrid tablet with detachable controllers. Also notable that is has a pro controller and appears to run Skyrim(?!).
posted by selfnoise (162 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Or, I should say, it has pro controller support. Other games shown were Splatoon, Breath of the Wind, and what appeared to be a new 3D Mario game.

The think that was most striking to me was the trailer featured no children or families and appeared to be pitched entirely to younger adults.
posted by selfnoise at 7:13 AM on October 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Needs more scenes of people driving, skateboarding, or going to work meetings while playing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:15 AM on October 20, 2016 [23 favorites]


That definitely looked like Skyrim. It'll be nice to know how powerful this will really be. Nintendo got burned on the Wii U because it could barely run the 3rd party ports it had at release, so all the 3rd party support disappeared. They're lucky that their first party games this generation were (mostly) so good (sorry Starfox), and that the 3DS continues to print money. I love the Wii U games I have, so I hope the Switch does better than the Wii U did.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:21 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


That big beautiful dog he takes to the park and subsequently ignores is all THROW IT!
posted by mochapickle at 7:22 AM on October 20, 2016 [16 favorites]


All I can say is, the only people I can imagine using that portability extensively are hardcore Smash Bros players, and they're not going to bite unless this thing has GameCube controller adapters.
posted by fifthrider at 7:22 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


This kind of makes me feel like they've been developing this thing for ~10 years, and at some point in development realized it was taking a lot longer than expected, and they were looking at a gap in their hardware release schedule, and basically bolted what they had so far onto a souped-up Wii and called it the Wii U. Is it just me?
posted by DiscountDeity at 7:23 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm definitely interested in this, though I'm keen for some more details.

It bugs me that the Wii U did so poorly, but it sadly is the apotheosis of Nintendo's problem with engaging and keeping 3rd party developers. I like the system a lot, and the 1st party games have been top notch, but good lord is it a desert landscape as far as titles outside of those go.
posted by tocts at 7:23 AM on October 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


An Nvidia rep has already confirmed that it's running a custom Tegra chipset, so it's unlikely to be on the same level as the PS4 or Xbox One, let alone the PS4 Pro or Scorpio. Those all run various adaptations of full-fat AMD graphics adaptors. Tegra is a mobile part previously used in the somewhat similar Nvidia Shield.

That said I don't really care about that... for me it's competing with something like the DS. I really want a system I can play on the couch while my wife uses the TV. Also, Zelda.
posted by selfnoise at 7:25 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hey gurl why don't you come down and join the fun..! Oh, oh, you brought your video game to the party... that's nice. We were talking and having fun but I guess we can hunch over you two guys playing a game...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:26 AM on October 20, 2016 [29 favorites]


Looks about right for a 2016 console design.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought I'd be more excited for this than I am. I think I need to know more about its performance, what games will be released for it, if it will stream stuff like the PS4, and what other Nintendo platform games it will play (3ds??). The tablet and two controllers look kind of dinky - I can imagine them breaking during attachment.
posted by Stonkle at 7:29 AM on October 20, 2016


Wow this ad is terrible. It's literally nothing but shots of attractive twenty-somethings ignoring the real world in favor of their portable console. I mean there's some nod to sociability with bros hanging out staring at the screen in their hands in the same room. And apparently it will help you meet a pretty girl at the airport. But the pitch is entirely the opposite of what was so brilliant about the Nintendo Wii, a regression. It's unappealing.
posted by Nelson at 7:30 AM on October 20, 2016 [15 favorites]


Also, I know this is extremely unlikely because Nintendo, but if this thing could stream from a PC like the Shield I would hit buy so hard the keyboard would break.
posted by selfnoise at 7:30 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hey gurl why don't you come down and join the fun..! Oh, oh, you brought your video game to the party... that's nice. We were talking and having fun but I guess we can hunch over you two guys playing a game...

Yeah, that really struck me about this commercial, too. All of these cases of people interacting in the real world and then "OR WE COULD STARE AT A SCREEN!"

Take your dog for a walk? Now you can stare at a screen!
Play basketball? Why not play it on a screen instead?
Visit some friends? How about you hunch over a screen?
posted by synecdoche at 7:31 AM on October 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


We're living in darkness until something flips on the Switch.

- Wynonna Judd
posted by fairmettle at 7:32 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is bluetooth allowed on airplanes now? This is the second ad I've seen today that shows someone using bluetooth on a plane.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:33 AM on October 20, 2016


Yeah, that really struck me about this commercial, too. All of these cases of people interacting in the real world and then "OR WE COULD STARE AT A SCREEN!"

Games and screens both exist in the real world.
posted by codacorolla at 7:34 AM on October 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


It bugs me that the Wii U did so poorly, but it sadly is the apotheosis of Nintendo's problem

A console that is, itself, also a peripheral no one wants or asked for might be the apotheosis of their other problems.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:35 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is it just me, or did nobody ever touch the screen itself? I imagine the screen will be touch capable, why not? But it's interesting how they're downplaying the touchscreen aspect.

Also yes, the "let's stare at a screen at our rooftop dinner party" is dumb, but the pro player, home use, and airplane use examples make up for the dumb unrealistic ones.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:41 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


A console that is, itself, also a peripheral no one wants or asked for might be the apotheosis of their other problems.

It's interesting. Nintendo has been trying for 15 years (it started with the GBA/Gamecube connection) to push people toward multi-screen games. But there hasn't been a game that everyone needed to play that used that functionality.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:41 AM on October 20, 2016


Is bluetooth allowed on airplanes now?

Bluetooth has been allowed on airplanes for years.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:41 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


A console that is, itself, also a peripheral no one wants or asked for might be the apotheosis of their other problems.

I think you sorta have to look at it from their perspective. They still do well with their handheld system (better than their console currently, afaik). This system is basically a new handheld system that's also a console (so, one platform to develop for). If they get buy-in from DS users they can now also sell games that would have previously been DS-only to non-DS users. (As an example, that would be me -- I still own two very old early version DSes, but haven't bought a DS game in ages, despite some of the games being things I was interested in).
posted by tocts at 7:42 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nintendo should just make a game controller for iPads and then get out of the hardware business. This isn't anything a third-rate android tablet maker couldn't do in a couple of months. The Nintendo value proposition is their intellectual property, why are they wasting money on these distractions?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:43 AM on October 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wow this ad is terrible. It's literally nothing but shots of attractive twenty-somethings ignoring the real world in favor of their portable console.

I was also thinking about those poor people's video game addictions as I was watching this, but there really is no better way to showcase the portability of the thing other than having the people constantly playing games on it. I know that I would probably never take this out and about like these people but I have definitely started to grow tired of having to anchor myself to one spot when using our home consoles and this solves that nicely.

I tend not to buy new consoles until there's a price drop, but if new Splatoon is a launch title then my wallet's going to be in trouble. (Those hairstyles, though, what?????)
posted by phatkitten at 7:43 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


But there hasn't been a game that everyone needed to play that used that functionality.

The only game I've played on the Wii U where I didn't actively hate the second screen was Affordable Space Adventures, but I lost access to the Wii U when leaving my old roommate. I am, like many people who were children when I was a child, a big fan of Nintendo's intellectual property and mostly I just want to play new Mario games without having to mess with nonsense.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:45 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Wii U was the first Nintendo console system that I didn't get since the 64 and this doesn't really sell me on the new one.
posted by octothorpe at 7:45 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


A console that is, itself, also a peripheral no one wants or asked for might be the apotheosis of their other problems.

It's interesting. Nintendo has been trying for 15 years (it started with the GBA/Gamecube connection) to push people toward multi-screen games. But there hasn't been a game that everyone needed to play that used that functionality.


Based on the video I'm not sure that's possible? You plug the tablet into a dock that obscures the tablet screen to play on the TV.

Nintendo has got to have realized what a terrible idea that was after the Wii U debacle.
posted by selfnoise at 7:46 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


That poor dog. A causality of video game addiction. No love in this world, just the bare minimum. Brought to you by Nintendo.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:46 AM on October 20, 2016 [7 favorites]



Is it just me, or did nobody ever touch the screen itself? I imagine the screen will be touch capable, why not? But it's interesting how they're downplaying the touchscreen aspect.

I would imagine that if the system is meant to be equally accessible in portable or docked mode there isn't much room for touch screen functionality; if they want a game to be playable on a TV with those detachable controllers, they can't have any essential functions linked to touching the screen. Also, I'm wondering if they want to downplay similarities to the 3DS and Wii U so the Switch doesn't feel redundant.
posted by DiscountDeity at 7:47 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Bluetooth has been allowed on airplanes for years.

Thanks. I feel silly. I think my phone still turns it off in airplane mode, and it had never occurred to me to ask anyone.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:47 AM on October 20, 2016


You plug the tablet into a dock that obscures the tablet screen to play on the TV.

I'm kinda hoping that's an option, not a requirement (e.g. I hope it's possible to use the small and big screen simultaneously). I guess nobody else likes it, but I really do love that on the Wii U. Not enough games use it as well as they could, but even just having the small screen for inventory management and the like (or keeping a map up) is a big feature for me. I also really love 2 player local gaming where one player can use the small screen, instead of dealing with a split screen.
posted by tocts at 7:48 AM on October 20, 2016


I'm excited for it!
posted by Talez at 7:49 AM on October 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


Yea, I've had no interest in Nintendo stuff for a few generations but this looks like something decent.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:50 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks. I feel silly. I think my phone still turns it off in airplane mode, and it had never occurred to me to ask anyone.

My phone was released last year and still turns Bluetooth off as part of default airplane mode. It's infuriating, and leads to totally understandable assumptions like yours that "oh well, it must not be allowed."
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:51 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Games and screens both exist in the real world.

Yes, but the games shown don't exist in the real world. They show us people playing Skyrim and Smash on a tiny little screen with an underpowered computer. Those games aren't relating to the real world around them in any way, it's just a worse experience than playing on your TV at home. But portable.

That's the regression I was talking about. The Wiimote was a brilliant innovation, allowing your body in the real world to matter to the game. People loved Wii Bowling and Wii Tennis, the physicality of it, the shared social space. Unfortunately no one figured out how to build any more complex games with that controller and it's become a dead end.

Meanwhile the most interesting game development now is in augmented reality games. Where your screen (typically your phone) is showing you game stuff overlayed on the real world. This kind of game is still pretty new and none of the major consoles have embraced it yet. But it's coming, and the first game platform that has a Google Glass-like overlay display that works will be enormous. And Pokemon: Go is already huge, with very limited portable devices. How ironic that Nintendo's new console ad ignores it.
posted by Nelson at 7:52 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Color me skeptical. Love the idea of local multiplayer but the Switches were practically touching. What’s the range? Do the devices need to be within a few feet?

How about battery life? The Wii U tablet died after less than six hours. Can I charge this with a mini USB cable or will it be some proprietary thing that costs $25?

What will the media look like? We saw a glimpse during the airplane scene but I want to know more. How much can it hold? What about internal storage? Is it expandable?

I’m assuming it’s a touchscreen because it has to be but is it multitouch? Capacitive?

What about all the virtual console / Wii U games I already own? Can I use those on the Switch?

I didn’t expect the first trailer to answer any major technical questions since Nintendo doesn’t do that but I did expect some kind of press release that offered more nitty-gritty details. There’s less than six months until release so I expect we’ll see a lot of information in a short timespan.
posted by Diskeater at 7:52 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


That wasn't Skyrim, that was Zelda.
posted by My Dad at 7:53 AM on October 20, 2016


VR/AR nonsense IS pretty conspicuous by its absense, now you mention it, as is any kind of Kinect style motion interaction. TBH I'd put that down to those things being a bit of a bust.
posted by Artw at 7:54 AM on October 20, 2016


Dog guy was playing new Zelda; airplane guy was playing what definitely looked like Skyrim.
posted by phatkitten at 7:55 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


All I could think while watching these beautiful twentysomethings prance around the world with their new video game system was those fiddly bits are going to get lost really quickly.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:55 AM on October 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Dog guy was playing new Zelda; airplane guy was playing what definitely looked like Skyrim.

Ah, I see. I got them mixed up. "Why doesn't he have a beard anymore?"
posted by My Dad at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2016


This kind of makes me feel like they've been developing this thing for ~10 years, and at some point in development realized it was taking a lot longer than expected, and they were looking at a gap in their hardware release schedule, and basically bolted what they had so far onto a souped-up Wii and called it the Wii U. Is it just me?

That's funny because I remember reading somewhere this same thing about the original Wii. Something about "two GameCubes duct taped together".
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I guess this will also follow the traditional Nintendo cycle of late.

- Launch slightly gimmicky, considerably underpowered console;
- Solid launch titles, some good third party support, people excited buy it because Zelda/Mario/big third party title nobody expected;
- Developers notice porting titles makes them go back around a generation. Start cutting back on releases because...
- Players notice for the same money they are not getting the same experience they would get on PC/Bone/4;
- Players forget console exists until Zelda/Mario/big third party title nobody expected is released;
- Nintendo pledges a new, better console after release schedule is whiter than a polar bear in a snow storm

Also, this is more or less what I could do with my PSP-2001 with the component cable. It's the same concept, only properly implemented. And some 10 years later.


Take your dog for a walk? Now you can stare at a screen!
Play basketball? Why not play it on a screen instead?
Visit some friends? How about you hunch over a screen?


Aka the Pokemon Go strategy.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:02 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]



That's funny because I remember reading somewhere this same thing about the original Wii. Something about "two GameCubes duct taped together".


I'm not a tech-savvy person, but my understanding is that this was essentially correct. But the Wii had an original concept in the motion controls that felt really fresh and new and fun and accessible and opened up gaming to kids and families who were sort of being shut out of an Xbox/Playstation market that was increasingly targeting teens and young adults.

Conversely, the Switch just feels like a remixing of concepts that they've already used: the Wii U included the screen-in-controller thing, and had some limited functionality for playing (Virtual Console) games on either a TV or the controller screen, and added in the DS's dual-screen setup. It just makes the Wii U feel like a transitional form between two unique, interesting console ideas that could have been interesting on their own. But now I feel like the Wii U just served to steal the Switch's thunder.
posted by DiscountDeity at 8:07 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Aka the Pokemon Go strategy.

No no no! Pokemon: Go is all about interacting with the real world. And your game overlay. It's a great example of a mobile game platform having a reason to be mobile other than convenience. The games the Switch ad shows don't do that.
posted by Nelson at 8:09 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


No, I mean, in the sense of "you can do EVERYTHING and still PLAY A GAME"
posted by lmfsilva at 8:11 AM on October 20, 2016


Needs more bait.
posted by sfenders at 8:12 AM on October 20, 2016


But how is this going to allow the Zelda game to bug me to also buy the portable platform so I can do things that aren't required to beat the game

Oh wait I never bought the portables anyway. But yeah I'd buy this for the Zelda aspect. Those games have wormed their way into my heart.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:20 AM on October 20, 2016


My kid (who, like basically a dozen of his friends, got a Wii U for Christmas last year) adores his Wii U and is pretty crushed that they're no longer supporting it. the Wii U has its issues -- a big one is that you can't use two of the touchscreen controllers at the same time - but he uses console and portable so so differently that I can't imagine this being a draw for him (and he loves him some video games). Unless and until they find a way to make Mario Maker portable (which this clearly can't do because no touch screen) I can't see this being appealing (hence, I suppose, all the adults in the ad).

Anyway, the Mario Maker community still seems to be booming, and Splatoon is still fun so long as it continues to run.
posted by anastasiav at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


IDK I think this makes sense? The kind of games that do well as mobile games are either casino-esque games without the money, or low-key social games where you check in every so often. I think Nintendo doesn't want to or know how to do this well. They want to make games, for the most part, that are a carefully designed experience where you're going to sit down and play for a while.

There are "quality" video games for the iPad but 1) the device gets horribly hot if they are 3D games, and 2) they aren't widely played.

Custom hardware seems valuable for a gaming device where the two main concerns are power efficiency and graphics, that is pretty much going to run one program at a time, and where you can assume that developers will be used to compiling to native code and hand-optimizing the shit out of everything. I know little about this but it does seem like existing mobile systems+hardware are designed around very different use cases.

Even if it made sense as a business proposition for Nintendo to totally give up the licensing revenue from having their own platform, and give a 30% cut of revenue to Apple, and any individual iPad were the right piece of hardware, it seems like it would be pretty hard to make a good game that runs flawlessly on all the iterations of the iPad. I mean hell Apple's iPad product cycle is faster than game development for a lot of their flagship titles. Let alone trying to support the entire world of Android hardware.
posted by vogon_poet at 8:28 AM on October 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Nintendo has not given two shits about third party games since the GameCube, nobody buys a Nintendo platform hoping for a "PS4/XBox experience" whatever that means. A lot of this talk is ignoring how successful Nintendo's mobile platforms continue to be to this day. You may play your mobile games on the iPhone but Nintendo is still raking in money on the 3DS, especially in Japan where console gaming has seen a considerable decline.

The Switch is Nintendo's way of bringing their 3DS fan and developer base to the big screen and uniting their two product lines into one. There's fantastic games on the 3DS and a few on Wii U that I've never played because I can't be bothered to shell out for both systems. The thought of playing all of what Nintendo has to offer on one platform is way more appealing.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:31 AM on October 20, 2016 [16 favorites]


I took the games on display to be a branding choice by Nintendo. People recognize Smash, Zelda, Kart and Splatoon so it makes sense to put them in a commercial for a flagship product. It's not hard at all to think about how a powerful, portable game console could be used to make really fun games that are also social. Even without portability, I'm sure that all of us remember fun experiences with Guitar Hero, Donkey Konga, Mario Party X, or Mario Kart at a party. Adding in portability and AR type controls just sweetens the deal. And if any company has the right mindset to create games like that, I think that Nintendo is that company. Nintendo's big thing (starting with the Wii and up through Pokemon Go!) seems to be demolishing the (imo, very stupid) idea that there's a screen world and a real world.
posted by codacorolla at 8:35 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


An Nvidia rep has already confirmed that it's running a custom Tegra chipset

So the machine is just the handheld, and the home thingy is just a charging station and a/v connectors? They didn't put a beefier gpu in the home thingy? Oooooookay.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:36 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's fantastic games on the 3DS and a few on Wii U that I've never played because I can't be bothered to shell out for both systems. The thought of playing all of what Nintendo has to offer on one platform is way more appealing.

It's appealing to consumers, but I'm not sure how "combine product lines and sell half as much hardware" seemed like a good business model to Nintendo.
posted by DiscountDeity at 8:41 AM on October 20, 2016


Unfortunately no one figured out how to build any more complex games with that controller and it's become a dead end.

the real failure was when they didn't make a wii-compatible katamari release.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:48 AM on October 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


I guess I must be one of the only people here who likes the idea of this... I used to be a hard-core console gamer, and I've really changed the style of how I've played over the years. It wasn't so much an intentional decision as it was something that just sort of happened... maybe it's something about being able to dedicate so much time to sitting down with a single game at one time. I've got tons of mileage out of the 3DS for the simple reason that I can just flip it open, play some, flip it closed, and there's no real setup or delay or anything else. I don't have to dig out controllers or fiddle with a remote to switch modes or anything, and it moves from room to room really easily without really requiring a dedicated space. It's the convenience of causal gaming, while still allowing for some really in-depth games. If this can bring a similar experience, then I'm sold - out of all of the games I've played, it's typically the Nintendo exclusives that I've come back to after some time and still enjoyed. I don't really care about a mobile chipset vs. "desktop class" GPU, or specs in general - I've had tons of enjoyment out of playing really well designed games on "underpowered" systems. Give me something that can pull off a similar visual style and gaming experience as Skyward Sword with the casual-play ability of the 3DS and I'm a happy person.
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:05 AM on October 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm loving how the Splatoon community is legitimately getting hyped about pants and hairstyles, and that there's already art about it.
posted by lucidium at 9:07 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Those controller sliding pieces are going to be a problem if someone loses them.

Also I don't think the battery life would be that great.
posted by 81818181818181818181 at 9:16 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, I really really like the idea of being able to prop up the screen on whatever and have lightweight handheld controllers. I play a lot of stuff on 3DS and PS Vita and holding the whole device gets old fast (especially when it's top-heavy like the 3DS XL.)

Here's hoping they make more of the sorts of games for the Switch that have me continuing to bring my 3DS everywhere I go (currently playing Etrian Odyssey IV, Ace Attorney 6, and, uh, Pokemon Picross, the only Pokemon game I've ever played.) And I've still got regular DS games in the to-be-played queue.

Also the 3DS StreetPass puzzle thing sucks much less than it used to (now you can get multiple pieces from a single person!) so Nintendo is on my good list for the moment. I do love those puzzle pieces. I wish Sony would give me more of an incentive to schlep around the Vita when I'm not actively playing something on it. Near is not nearly as entertaining as StreetPass.
posted by asperity at 9:23 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did I stumble into 'Metafilter After Gramps'? New console from Nintendo with:
-focus on 3rd party
-USEFUL 'gimmick'
- promise to not just be about kids or Yet Another Mario
- clear backwards compatibility with WiiU

And you're complaining about how the trailer's filmed? Yeah great priorities, I hope the next trailer is just Youtube talking heads burning Radiohead albums JESUS
posted by litleozy at 9:31 AM on October 20, 2016 [34 favorites]


They seemed to avoid showing anyone touching the screen. I suspect there's going to be some irate gamers as more details emerge.
posted by Gev at 9:31 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm with vogon_poet, I think this concept makes a lot of sense.

Most non-Nintendo portable gaming tablets are hamstrung by being locked to the Android ecosystem. If you're making an Android game, you're going to aim for the lowest common denominator platform, i.e. you need an interface that fits on a ~5" screen and graphics that don't tax mid-low range smartphones too much. Otherwise, you're locking yourself out of most of the market. This also means that there's not a great value proposition to buying one of those gaming tablets, because there aren't that many games you can buy that will actually take advantage of your expensive device.

The Switch, on the other hand, has the full support of Nintendo first and third party developers. In the WiiU and 3DS generations, that hasn't amounted to much on each individual platform. But, combined, that's a very satisfying amount of gaming. Also, the appearance of Splatoon in the commercial seems to imply at least a small degree of backwards-compatibility, which hugely expands the library of games available to this device.

Additionally, speaking as a PC gamer, I'd never drop the cash for a PS4 or XBone. Anything I want to play on those consoles will have a PC port. But that hasn't traditionally been true of Nintendo's games. If I drop the money for a Switch to get both a Nintendo console and a Nintendo portable... that might just be worth it to me.

What I'm curious to learn is whether the base station adds any capabilities to the tablet portion. Microsoft's Surface Book, for example, has a discrete graphics card in the high-end version of the keyboard base and switches seamlessly between the tablet's integrated graphics and the base's discrete graphics when docking or undocking the tablet portion. The Switch could do something similar, in theory, though there are risks associated with that, particularly if some games end up not able to run on the separated tablet. They might be able to split the difference if the discrete card on the base is used only for driving 4K displays versus whatever resolution the tablet screen handles. I think it's more likely that the base station would expand the available storage than the graphics capabilities of the device, though.

Anyway, I do think this is a really exciting approach. Price point and games availability will be the deciding factors, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:35 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gaming in a group with other people is a real actual real world fun time activity, that's now been going on in the real world for nigh-on forty years (right back to nerds playing Spacewar on the PDP-1 in the 70s).

I have very, very fond memories of playing GoldenEye on the N64 with roommates back in the 90s.

Just because you think screens are bad, m'kay, doesn't mean they actually are. They're just another way to hang out, for a lot of people. Gaming is what you make it, not an inherent bad or good.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:35 AM on October 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Wow. Terrible ad. Makes me think of Microsoft, not video games. (Though Windows is still a GREAT platform for gaming!)

Anyway, I watched the whole ad and have no idea why I would want that. All the use cases are pretty ridiculous (the basketball scene and roof party notably ludicrous.) The only one that makes sense is the final group--professional gamers. I can see a valid use case there.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:42 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gaming in a group with other people is a real actual real world fun time activity

Absolutely. That's really the peak gaming experience for me. And hell yes to GoldenEye deathmatch.

But that scenario pretty much only works when all the people involved want to play or watch.

Showing up at a party with your video-game system (without asking if you can bring it) is pretty rude, imo.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:45 AM on October 20, 2016


It's clear that this console is not for me. I watched the ad and my first reaction was, why would I ever want this!? I already have a Vita and I don't use it enough, mostly because if I'm on the go or on a plane, I'm going to just use my iphone or ipad. I don't want another thing to bring around. And if I'm going to play a game like Skyrim, there's no way I'd do that on that tiny screen. Plus, those controllers look just so tiny in the video where they are playing games together on their tiny screen.

This just doesn't seem that interesting. The really interesting gaming community is all the stuff I'm seeing on Steam, by all the smaller developers. That's where I spend most of my time these days, or on the PS4. I think Nintendo should get out of the hardware game and just focus on their software at this point.
posted by FireFountain at 9:47 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


From everything I'm reading so far the impression I'm getting is that it's an underpowered console designed to be taken on the go. Which... is the 3DS already? If you're not already a big fan of Nintendo's house IP, what does this offer you that other systems don't?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:53 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think "power" actually counts for anything anymore.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on October 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


still no blast processing! sad
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:58 AM on October 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


still no blast processing! sad

Donald Trump reviews consoles.
posted by pipeski at 10:00 AM on October 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sure, no one's actually going to take their Switch down the skate park, but it doesn't make for a good ad to show a guy slowly drying up on the loo while playing Zelda.
posted by lucidium at 10:06 AM on October 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't know why and I know I'm repeating myself, but I still can't get over that the ad was 100% "we did a casting call for 'millenials'". No children, no families. Isn't the latter an easier play for Nintendo than the people already on Steam or PSN? Does Nintendo not care about being the 'family friendly' game system any more?

The weird thing is that after looking at this thing, I'm kind of sold... on the Nvidia Shield. My wife loves TV and I love games and it would be great to be able to sit next to her on the couch and do my thing instead of in another room.
posted by selfnoise at 10:14 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Does Nintendo not care about being the 'family friendly' game system any more?

Not if it's not going to move units.

The reality is that the main game market isn't kids anymore. It's adult gamers with actual disposable income.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:19 AM on October 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


it's an underpowered console

Why does it even matter?

Nintendo's strength has always been in their first-party games, and I would be hard-pressed to identify any of them that would benefit from more horsepower. I would in fact argue that for a lot of game companies, the assumption of horsepower is a hindrance; there's whole swathes of the industry where the art design is basically, "whatever generic [sci-fi / fantasy / modern] 3D 'realism' the hardware can muster". This is both really expensive to produce, and often totally forgettable generic garbage.

Nintendo has shown time and again that you can make amazing games without the crutch of MOAR POLYGONS MOAR SHADERS. I'll take a Pikmin or a Paper Mario or a Yoshi's Wooly World any day over whatever the latest generic shooter is.
posted by tocts at 10:19 AM on October 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


I don't think "power" actually counts for anything anymore.

It does and it doesn't. We've long since passed the point where extra graphics hardware actually makes a meaningful difference in the kind of game you can make (VR notwithstanding, but (a) that's its own thing; and (b) LOL, VR). But if the Switch is significantly less powerful than the XB1 and PS4 that makes it difficult to port games from XB1 and PS4, which means many publishers won't bother, which means it will have the same problem as the Wii U where after the launch burst the only games released for it will be those either published or partly bankrolled by Nintendo.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Is it just me, or did nobody ever touch the screen itself? I imagine the screen will be touch capable, why not? But it's interesting how they're downplaying the touchscreen aspect.

Also, it definitely looks like there's no motion controls. Everyone's just sitting on their asses.

It's as if they kept everything that made the WiiU unpopular, and abandoned all the things that made the Wii sell like hotcakes. Good luck with that, Nintendo.

And Nintendo being Nintendo, how much you wanna bet the only way to charge it is to put it in its special proprietary charging cradle, meaning you have to lug that thing around too?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


If there's no motion controls I'm not sure I'll be able to play Splatoon. That thing ruined stick shooters for me, I just can't deal with the clunkiness any more.

Also my phone just autocorrected "clunkiness" to "flu mines" which sounds like a terrible place.
posted by lucidium at 10:33 AM on October 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why does it even matter?

Because the console becomes ineligible for cross-platform games. It's only for Nintendo' own stuff. Which is good if you don't play anything else, but sucks if you do, because then you're just stuck buying an extra console.

Personally I think Nintendo should just stop making consoles and release cross-plstform.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:34 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


But if the Switch is significantly less powerful than the XB1 and PS4 that makes it difficult to port games from XB1 and PS4, which means many publishers won't bother, which means it will have the same problem as the Wii U where after the launch burst the only games released for it will be those either published or partly bankrolled by Nintendo.

That, and also gamers being gamers means that specs that can't keep up with the XB1 and PS4 will absolutely cost the Switch sales, thus reducing the impetus to serve the console.

And on a more general note, who else remembers a bunch of enemies being patched out of Fallout: New Vegas on PC because consoles (in particular the PS3) had so little RAM that the affected areas would grind to a halt? Never again, please.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:36 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


The biggest disappointment of the motion control era was that publishers kept releasing FPSes with analog controls despite that being the scientifically-proven worst way to play them and a pointing device being right there.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:36 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't be a Nintendo hardware release if it didn't include gripes about it being underpowered and statements that they should get out of hardware and just do software, would it?

Curious to see what the price point will be.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


This feels like a huge wiff. The hardware focus here is over-complicated and over-engineered. They had the opportunity to innovate on the software/infrastructure side and build something like a Nintendo-brand Steam-machine with a Nintendo-brand Netflix/iTunes for games. Sell a controller and a dongle. That's it. You could still sell a companion Click called the ClickGo (cash in on Pokemon Go name recognition) and release a dongle with a controller that includes a build-in screen and onboard hard drive that can have a handful of games uploaded to it. Click and ClickGo. Controller and dongle combo with a Nintendo brand Netflix for games: simple and elegant.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 10:45 AM on October 20, 2016


Also, it definitely looks like there's no motion controls. Everyone's just sitting on their asses.

Despite your opinions formed from a 2 minute introductory commercial, there are indeed motion controls.
posted by codacorolla at 10:47 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The only one that makes sense is the final group--professional gamers.

There's no way any professional gaming league would allow teams to bring their own computer hardware. That's a recipe for cheating.

(Also Nintendo's depiction of a professional Splatoon circuit is, well, aspirational. I liked they had a team with women on it too, but that's also, sadly, not a reality.)
posted by Nelson at 10:50 AM on October 20, 2016


Is it still using a PowerPC architecture?
posted by qntm at 11:00 AM on October 20, 2016


Is it still using a PowerPC architecture?

Probably not: it's a Tegra SoC which typically uses ARM architecture for the CPU.
posted by selfnoise at 11:04 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


High-quality graphics not important for -- and maybe even deleterious to -- quality gameplay, argue users of text-only website. (I kid because I love. I basically agree, FWIW.)

I'm quietly enthused by this. My Wii has been gathering dust for a couple of years but I definitely got my money's worth out of it and the 3DS I bought about a year ago is still entertaining me, not least because I recently picked up Farmville on a whim and was seriously underprepared for how soothingly addictive it can be.

I skipped the WiiU -- I was waiting for a big catalogue of games which never seemed to emerge, and my friends who had one seemed underwhelmed -- but I could be persuaded by this new one if 3rd party support looks strong. The switch from TV to portable is very appealing (most of my gaming is on trains), and while the slide-off controllers are a bit weird and worrying, my experience of Nintendo so far is that their hardware is nothing if not robust.
posted by metaBugs at 11:08 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hmmm...I wonder if the dock has additional (video card/gpu) hardware in it. That would definitely improve battery life. Portable->720p, docked->1080p. It would definitely help with all the bad press the wii U had for lousy controller battery.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:09 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's fantastic games on the 3DS and a few on Wii U that I've never played because I can't be bothered to shell out for both systems.

I play a lot of stuff on 3DS and PS Vita and holding the whole device gets old fast

I'd really like a 3DS counterpart to the Vita TV: a 50-instead-of-300-bucks console that plays (3)DS(i) carts, with no screen and no battery but with HDMI output and wired controller and network ports, though I guess the dual-screen and 3D gimmick sort of make it impractical.
posted by Bangaioh at 11:17 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know why and I know I'm repeating myself, but I still can't get over that the ad was 100% "we did a casting call for 'millenials'". No children, no families. Isn't the latter an easier play for Nintendo than the people already on Steam or PSN? Does Nintendo not care about being the 'family friendly' game system any more?

I think too many families have been burned on the Wii and WiiU. Every time I see one for sale on sites like Craigslist the description inevitably includes the sentence "My kid played it twice and lost all interest." Twenty-somethings with expendable income are going to be less reluctant to drop a couple of hundred dollars on a device they'll just discard in a few years. (see also: iPhones)
posted by dances with hamsters at 11:41 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


the dual-screen and 3D gimmick sort of make it impractical.

The dual-screen and touch-screen parts would be the problems; AFAIK the 2DS can play all the 3DS games, so there's no trouble running the games on non-3D hardware.
posted by asperity at 11:54 AM on October 20, 2016


Anyway, I watched the whole ad and have no idea why I would want that. All the use cases are pretty ridiculous

You're one of those people that talks to their neighbor on an airplane, aren't you.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:57 AM on October 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Dog: Hey, take me to the park, OK?
Person: OK.
Dog: now play with me, please!
Person: No, I'm playing Nintendo reading my book made of paper.
MetaFilter: I don't like the first thing, but I'm fine with the second.
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:02 PM on October 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


*looks longingly at my PS Vita*
posted by Fizz at 12:09 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The dual-screen and touch-screen parts would be the problems; AFAIK the 2DS can play all the 3DS games, so there's no trouble running the games on non-3D hardware.

Link Between Worlds looks kind of crap without the 3D, imo.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a big fan of hand-held games. I own both a PS Vita as well as a 3DS, they both satisfy the JRPG itch that I have inside of me. I've mostly switched away from consoles and use my PC, but the Switch does look appealing. I'll still hold off and see what it looks like. I'm not a big fan of all the little accessories/game-pads that are necessary. The one thing that I want is basically a larger sized 3DS with more power and this is what Switch looks to be.
posted by Fizz at 12:25 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think the Wii U is a solid console, even though the games library is pretty small. I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of it. We even just started playing the new Skylanders on it yesterday, and plan on getting Pokken Tournament now that my eight year old son's video game interests are expanding. We are also both happy with our 3DS's. So, I'll probably pick this one up just based on prior Nintendo experiences, including way back in the day with the original Nintendo and N64. I don't have the time to play video games more than a few hours a week, so completing a triple AAA first-person RPG with PS4 specs isn't in the cards for me anyway. I do like how Nintendo tries different things. I hope this one comes with some decent storage for downloadables. I ended up with one of the low end Wii U, and just never got around to expanding the drive.
posted by Roger Dodger at 12:54 PM on October 20, 2016


What we know (and what we can guess) about Nintendo Switch’s insides

You shouldn't expect the Switch to perform on the same level as the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One... The GPU should be able to push slightly more detailed graphics at 1080p than the Wii U can, but by now, gamers and developers are used to Nintendo consoles that don't perform on the same level as those from Sony and Microsoft.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:13 PM on October 20, 2016


Despite being old, I don't mind the look of the console or how it is used. However, from 1970s Antihero's article:

"Wii U backward compatibility is absolutely out of the question. The Switch's ARM chip won't be able to run code written for the Wii U's Power CPU, nor will it be powerful enough to emulate Wii U software."

So Virtual Console ports of old games and no physical media. That makes me less enthusiastic but I still would like to play with one. Power of the device is less of an issue for me as long as there is good playability and fun 2 player games.... I guess price point would potentially keep me from it. It kept me from the Wii U but I'm a cheap gamer.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:27 PM on October 20, 2016


No physical media? I thought the trailer showed a DS-like cartridge.
posted by whitecedar at 1:37 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I guess price point would potentially keep me from it. It kept me from the Wii U but I'm a cheap gamer.

Keep an eye out, we can probably expect those prices to drop very quickly and soon I would imagine.
posted by Fizz at 1:41 PM on October 20, 2016


It's been brought up on other sites, but the dock appears to have vents.

This could just be a little fan for cooling the tablet while it's in the dock... But perhaps the dock isn't just a dumb charger? The two ways i could see this is that, like some older gaming laptops, it runs "full power" connected to the dock and needs active cooling for that. The alternative is, a graphics booster in the dock?

It's as if they kept everything that made the WiiU unpopular, and abandoned all the things that made the Wii sell like hotcakes. Good luck with that, Nintendo.

Motion control on the wii and wii u was always a joke anyways. Besides a few good first party games, it was just waggle-city with games that implemented it basically just to say they did. Wii sports was cute and fun, most stuff was garbage.

The biggest problem was all the engaging 'woah i wanna try that!" games were fun for like ten minutes, and then you got bored. There were a few exceptions to this like wario ware, but it mostly felt forced and tacked on.

And i say this as a lifelong hardcore nintendo fan. If they just drop it, and drop most silly concepts like that, they'll likely be better for it.

A straight ahead console that you can pick up and use as a portable without any weird extraneous features is a great move. Motion controls got people in the door, but most of the games people actually played a lot(first party nintendo IP) didn't even use it. Yea, you could play mario kart using the controller like a steering wheel but most people just... didn't, after the first few times.

I know this is just like, my opinion, but i'd be really happy if this finally sealed the deal on them trying weird stuff that they'll only get right with a couple games.
posted by emptythought at 1:50 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Link Between Worlds looks kind of crap without the 3D, imo.

Haven't played that one yet, but my use of the 3D on pretty much all 3DS games is to turn it on for a bit, think ooo, pretty, and then turn it off again because it's too much trouble to keep the distance between my eyes and the screen consistent. I'd probably use it more if I had a New 3DS since it fixed that problem with its face-tracking. I don't care enough about 3D to upgrade, though, and I still play plenty of things that don't have it anyway.
posted by asperity at 2:14 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The NES Classic Edition made a bigger splash
posted by scruss at 2:23 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


All I could think while watching these beautiful twentysomethings prance around the world with their new video game system was those fiddly bits are going to get lost really quickly.

Well, sure, happens to all of us. But what about the Nintendo?
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:28 PM on October 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


(for context, and as a disclaimer about potential bias: I work at Sony on PlayStation stuff)

Well conceptually this seems like a cool vision of the future. And in the long-term ARM seems like a fantastic bet.

The top-selling 3DS game sold more copies than there are Wii-U consoles in the world. It must have been rough for their studios who got stuck making Wii-U games. I'm sure it's very appealing for them to stop splitting their development efforts across two markets.

My biggest concern is really the selection of games they show us. Every single one of them looks like it was designed to be played in a living room and given your full attention. But those games aren't any good to play a few minutes at a time in a noisy environment. Nintendo has more experience than anyone making fun games that work well in these settings, so why are they showing us someone playing Skyrim in a taxi? If that were what people wanted, wouldn't the Vita would have been more successful? I hope I'm reading too much into the video, and they understand all this plenty well, and someone just wanted to show the shiniest games in their big announcement video. We'll see!
posted by aubilenon at 3:11 PM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Assuming it is not priced ridiculously, I'm on board with it as a portable, but can't imagine ever plugging it into the tv.

My one wish list feature is that the charger be multi voltage or usb capable (or both). The 3ds is not and it is TERRIBLE if you ever want to take it on vacation. Hotels usually have 120V outlets for electric razors in their bathrooms, but that means literally sitting on the toilet to play.
posted by juv3nal at 3:18 PM on October 20, 2016


you mean that isn't where most people do their gaming
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:25 PM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am surprised to find myself hard in the minority on the internet with this today! I watched the trailer and I thought

"Aw, Cool!"

I'm super jazzed up about the ability to kickstand up the little screen and play with the controls separately in your hands, because that seems comfortable, like console gaming but portable. I like that the controls can be used for 2 player gaming out in the world, because that seems fun if you're killing time with your spouse or a friend.

I have often wished it was possible to switch the game I'm playing on a console onto a portable format. I think that's a super cool feature. I'd love to do some rpg grinding on the bus. (or in the bath)
posted by euphoria066 at 3:33 PM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


1. Haven't seen many people note yet that this doesn't use optical media, it's all game cards.
2. The real thing here, of course, is that Nintendo has finally merged their console and portable lines. They now get to support only one system instead of two. Logistically that's got to be a big thing for them. Plus, it means you finally can play their big console games on the same system as Pokémon. Don't ignore that.
3. Someone above mentioned that Smash players probably won't be interested if it doesn't support Gamecube controllers. My response is, Nintendo released a special peripheral for Wii U specifically to allow the use of Gamecube controllers with it, so it seems likely that they'll do the same here, if it doesn't explicitly allow use of the same device. (Have you used the USB GC adaptor? It's rather nice! And fans have created drivers for it that let you use it on PCs!)
4. One potential sticking point with this is storage. Flash storage has gotten to the point where a substantial amount can be included internal to the system, but if this doesn't explicitly support USB Flash drives it'll be a huge wasted opportunity. (For reference, you technically can use Flash media on a Wii U, but Nintendo warns that it will reduce drive life.) Carrying around a portable traditional hard drive into this thing to run your games from seems like it would kind of harm the experience.
5. I really hope this doesn't mean I have to re-buy all my Virtual Console purchases again. I counted, and discovered that I own no less than five copies of The Legend of Zelda. Are they really going to force me to make it six?
6. The thing that I'm most interested in is the networking opportunities. You can bet that Nintendo's going to be pushing inter-system connectivity as a justification for the system's portability. There were some fairly interesting experiments in this direction on 3DS, I'm wondering where Nintendo's going to take it from here.
posted by JHarris at 4:22 PM on October 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Ditching optical media makes a ton of sense for something running on a battery. Keeping a disc spinning consumes a lot of electricity.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:31 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Odd product; good discussion. This new season really *does* strike even deeper at the heart of the human cost that technology exacts...

[checks]

Oh, this ad was *not* about Black Mirror. Carry on.
posted by foodbedgospel at 4:33 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


AFAIK the 2DS can play all the 3DS games

The 2DS is essentially a 3DS without the 3D, but note that it's not a "New" 3DS. There are a couple of games that are New 3DS only, Xenogears being among them I believe.
posted by JHarris at 4:33 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, I have my suspicions that the new My Nintendo account system they have may actually allow you to migrate stuff like VC purchases. At least, I certainly hope it does.

I did hear some rumors about the Switch being region-free, but I've yet to see any meaningful confirmation. Would be a great change of pace, if you ask me — I'm some weird minority, I'm sure, but even though I live in the city Nintendo is based in and work as a Japanese translator, I often prefer Nintendo of America's writing for localization jobs to the original Japanese.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:34 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seconded on NoA's localization work DoctorFedora, I've often been pleasantly surprised by the care they pay to adapting content to Western cultures. In the few cases where I've seen someone compare the Japanese text, directly translated, of a first-party Nintendo product to a localized version, I almost always prefer the localization. It nearly always seems to be much more playful, although that might just be me missing cultural signifiers in the direct translation.
posted by JHarris at 4:39 PM on October 20, 2016


Naw, there's just a whoooole lot more you can do to have fun with English than with Japanese (though there is admittedly some fun stuff with Japanese that you can't do with English, too, of course). NoA just takes advantage of it — they split up translation and writing into two separate jobs, for one.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:58 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another few things that occurred to me:

What's the battery life on this? Historically those beefy recent generations of tegra chips have kind of sucked down power(see nexus 9, etc)

Also mentioned in a gaming group im in... can you plug this into a display WITHOUT the dock? I'm betting on no, because i'm on team "this thing runs in a different mode on the dock than it does when mobile".

Tied to this, i'm betting the internal display is 720p~ish(nintendo loves weirdass resolutions). That would be utterly fine at that size, and i'm betting when it's rendering at 1080p(or "1080p") it would last like two hours on the battery... hence the dock, with vents for a likely fan.

I really hope someone makes a usb>weird nintendo plug adapter, and that it just charges with normal 5v so that you can plug this thing into power banks.

The dock looks like it has USB ports in some of the photos, so i'm betting the gamecube adapter plugs right in.

I'm really really curious what the actual specs are here though. I'll be seriously shocked if the screen is more than like, 1280x800.

I REALLY hope it has an SD card slot. Pleaseeeeeeeeeee

I'm really hoping that this thing is fairly cheap. It would be really cool if it was $199. It's going to be an uphill battle if it costs close to a PS4/XBO especially compared to stuff like the shield tablet.
posted by emptythought at 5:13 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, $200 would be a super hard price to argue against. More likely would be $250 or $300, if you ask me.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:19 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


What's the battery life on this? Historically those beefy recent generations of tegra chips have kind of sucked down power(see nexus 9, etc)

I was a little concerned by that but apparently the Shield K1 (which uses a Tegra and has quite a similar function) actually gets great battery life. So all may not be lost! Also, this will probably use a part based off the Pascal 16nm process so it might gain in power savings there as well.

Tied to this, i'm betting the internal display is 720p~ish(nintendo loves weirdass resolutions). That would be utterly fine at that size, and i'm betting when it's rendering at 1080p(or "1080p") it would last like two hours on the battery... hence the dock, with vents for a likely fan.

I agree this sounds very sensible, and disabling some of the CUDA cores or what have you in mobile mode would save on battery life.

I REALLY hope it has an SD card slot. Pleaseeeeeeeeeee

I went back and looked at the video again and at least the games will not be... whatever he's inserting into it is comically thick in comparison. Probably a custom format to avoid piracy.
posted by selfnoise at 5:38 PM on October 20, 2016


My one wish list feature is that the charger be multi voltage or usb capable (or both). The 3ds is not and it is TERRIBLE if you ever want to take it on vacation. Hotels usually have 120V outlets for electric razors in their bathrooms, but that means literally sitting on the toilet to play.

You can purchase USB power cords for the 3DS.
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:54 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


For questions about the base station: Nintendo has a patent for a "Supplemental Computing Device" that contains an additional processor, memory, and other good stuff. They've outlined a system by which a portable device on the go can utilize the processing power of a network of base stations over the cloud. Basically, the idea is that you allow your base station to be part of this network while you're not using it, and in exchange you get boosted power via the cloud on the go.

Obviously nobody knows if they're actually making that happen, but that's what the patent described.
posted by davejh at 6:22 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


So the tablet could be some kind of semi-thin client?
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on October 20, 2016


So the tablet could be some kind of semi-thin client?

Seems unlikely given the bit where it's used on a plane? I mean, yeah, some planes have wifi, but it's not exactly reliable or quick.
posted by juv3nal at 6:29 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can purchase USB power cords for the 3DS.

Sure, but it just seems like it ought to be available out of the box if all my other devices can manage that.
posted by juv3nal at 6:31 PM on October 20, 2016


Seems unlikely given the bit where it's used on a plane? I mean, yeah, some planes have wifi, but it's not exactly reliable or quick.

Companies are often given to a somewhat unrealistic idea of how dataplans and reception work.

What would be interesting is if it had some smarts it could fall back on when not VPNing into a base-station with more oomph, though that starts sounding like a very complicated and fragile scheme.
posted by Artw at 6:34 PM on October 20, 2016


My New 3DS didn't even come with a regular power cord. That's extra these days.
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:11 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This ad reminds me of the Vainglory LAN party ad.
posted by liet at 7:17 PM on October 20, 2016


Give me a new Animal Crossing or give me death.
posted by SarahElizaP at 7:19 PM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Give me a new Animal Crossing or give me death.

You said Animal Crossing but what you really meant was Super Mario RPG.
posted by Fizz at 7:37 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


You said Super Mario RPG but what you really meant was F-Zero and/or 2D Metroid
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:42 PM on October 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


This image/mockup of custom controllers is pretty intriguing, and expands the idea quite a bit.
posted by suedehead at 8:53 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey there's a new Super Paper Mario! and there's an F-Zero level in Mario Kart 8.

Speaking of great Wii U games, god damn. I have put probably a hundred hours into Mario Kart 8. Perfect for picking up for an hour.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:38 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to play whatever form of Pikmin comes out of this. Tossing red Pikmin at a Bulborb is going to be so much better when it's done under a tree.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:49 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


maybe combine with vr goggles and a dji mavic?
posted by kliuless at 10:04 PM on October 20, 2016


Hey there's a new Super Paper Mario! and there's an F-Zero level in Mario Kart 8.

There are two actually, one in each DLC!

Speaking of great Wii U games, god damn. I have put probably a hundred hours into Mario Kart 8. Perfect for picking up for an hour.

Here are some other nice games to look for on Wii-U:
  • Lego City Undercover is, in many ways, the ur-Lego game. Although it doesn't have a co-op mode, it does have a huge open world to explore. It's not as dynamic a world system as GTA, but it's still a lot of fun to just mess around in and explore!
  • Splatoon is a seriously great shooter.
  • Super Mario 3D World is a stellar "on rails" 3D Mario game, and with four-player co-op with playable Peach, complete with her Mario 2 floaty jump! (I divide them into "free roaming" like M64 and Sunshine, and "on rails" like the Galaxy and 3D Something games.)
  • Additional to that you can now get Super Mario 64 3DS on Wii-U Virtual Console. You know what that means? Playable Wario, plus 30 extra stars, plus a horde of fun minigames.
  • Super Mario Maker is hugely great. And although it's not seen a lot of activity lately, there is a blog some of us post levels to occasionally. (Come to think of it, I have a good number of new creations I should post there!)
  • Hyrule Warriors is not a very good Zelda game, and is obnoxiously grindy, but there's still an awful lot of stuff in its "adventure mode."
  • Nintendo Land is hugely underrated.
  • As is Pikmin 3, which combines some of the best features of Pikmin 1 (a time limit) and Pikmin 2 (the time limit isn't so forbidding this time, plus multiple captains)
  • Zelda: Wind Waker HD is really great.
  • And Smash Bros. 4, of course.
  • Interesting indie games: Freedom Planet (a classic Sonic-style platformer), Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (both of Capcom's classic D&D brawlers), Shantae: Risky's Revenge and Pirate's Curse (fun and funny Metroidvanias), Citizens of Earth (humorous Mother-style RPG)
posted by JHarris at 10:57 PM on October 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


The list of 3rd party publishers supporting the switch is very encouraging. Particularly Unity and Epic Games, which presumably means that it'll get support for the Unity and Unreal engines, making ports and original games a dramatically easier proposition for other devs.

Far too early to know what comes out of it all, of course, but it's fun to speculate.

I'm intrigued and baffled to see Autodesk on there. CAD software on a console? Anyone know what that's about?
posted by metaBugs at 2:29 AM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I assume they make developer tools.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:19 AM on October 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hyrule Warriors is not a very good Zelda game,

That's because it's a Dynasty Warriors game, not a Zeldo at all. I don't enjoy that series, but friends of mine that do and have played it seem to like it well enough. But either way, hey, it gave us Linkle.
posted by sparkletone at 8:02 AM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I assume they make developer tools.

well...KORG has 2 synthesizers you can download for the 3DS, so who knows...maybe a Mario-themed version of sketchbook (assuming touchscreen)?...is Mario Paint making a comeback?
posted by sexyrobot at 8:07 AM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Alright, I've read through most of the comments here so I'm going to pick up a couple points I didn't see covered.

- The iPad (and Android tables) exists. It plays some neat games. But a lot of them suck. More importantly, though there aren't really any games that even try to emulate a good multiplayer experience. I'm aware of some board games for Android and iOS (Splendor, Carcassone, etc) but those are just giving you convenience of being able to play a board in non-board gaming environment.

The Switch, on the other hand, seems to be the kind of thing that is made for people to gather around. You Olds up there were griping up there about young people doing "real things" and stopping to play on a screen but you know what, they were doing something together, and I think that matters. But I also think it matters that this is something the iPad can't really do. And I bet that the first time somebody brings this thing to a party it will have the exact same effect as the Wii. Everyone stops and looks at the new toy. "Whoa, it's so tiny!" "Hey can we really play Mario Kart?" "I brought mine too, we can go 2v2!"

The Switch is a device people can gather around. That's pretty cool.

- Yeah, this is targeting Snakepeople pretty hard. And as far as I understand that demographic (to which I belong in age if not in other areas) many, many of them do not have TVs. They'll stream what they want to watch on their aforementioned iPads, or phones, or laptops. Here is a device that offers the Full Console Experience but without a TV? Neat!

- Nintendo does not care about 3rd party support and doesn't need to care about third party support. Nintendo consoles exist to get you to buy Nintendo games. If third parties want to come and play, OK, cool but as far as Nintendo is concerned they could take or leave them (despite what they say publicly to the contrary, their actions say otherwise).

- It's no joke that competitive Splatoon is featured at the end. Nintendo getting serious about eSports could be really big for them. Caveat: I'm not super knowledgeable about competitive gaming so take this all with a grain of salt. But. It seems they have been pretty good about the competitive Smash Bros scene. PS4 and Xbone have a lot of multiplayer but none of them seem to have the same reach as LoL, DOTA2, or CS:GO (though competitive Overwatch definitely will be) where it kind of looks like Nintendo might be trying to make inroads. Can Splatoon take them there? Probably not. Bringing more competitive Smash Bros into the fold? Definitely.

- I am excited, as you can probably tell, but the success of this thing really depends on the details like battery life, mini-controller range/life, storage, VC compatibility, etc. In a lot of ways though it feels like all of Nintendo's efforts have been leading up to this so, hopefully, the details are covered.
posted by Tevin at 8:43 AM on October 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Laura Kate Dale has a "deep dive" article up about the Switch. She's pretty reliable on leaks like this in the past (she did an unboxing of the PS4 Slim before it was officially announced, which lead to hilarious accusations that she 3D printed it), so it's safe to take the article as trustworthy.

Also, the fact that a trans woman is reporting on a new console called the Switch tickles me to no end.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:01 AM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


That report is sort of the problem with Nintendo not releasing any specs in 2016, isn't it? People are going to guess anyway and then assume the worst, and then we get the current battery life freakout that seems to be today's thing.
posted by selfnoise at 10:12 AM on October 21, 2016


So we're getting higher-fidelity versions of all the great games of the 3DS pipeline (Fire Emblem & Bravely Default/Second etc.), a better release schedule since third-party support of Nintendo portables is considerably better, and we still get console big hitters (which were few last gen but of consistently high quality - Xenoblade Chronicles was fantastic) and the option to play on the go when traveling/commuting/queuing. Sounds great to me.
posted by ersatz at 10:30 AM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


That report is sort of the problem with Nintendo not releasing any specs in 2016, isn't it?

Most people don't really care about specs though and that kind of person is going to find something to yell about no matter what? I've seen people deciding whether the new Mario for this thing will be good or not based on 3-5 seconds of footage that aren't even of the final game.
posted by sparkletone at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


The biggest takeaway from Dale's deep dive for me is that the Switch screen is a touchscreen, but games are not allowed to rely on it as a core element because everything has to be playable with the tablet docked.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:47 AM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone with a nvidia shield tablet, let me be first to say that the idea of a portable console does not work. You can't hold a controller and hold the screen. Nearly all of the time, when you are in a situation where you want to use the console, you don't have anything to put the screen on. You end up awkwardly propping it on your legs or something, and wishing you had a real portable system. Not that the shield tablet is bad - it's a fantastic tablet - but a tablet with a controller is not as viable a portable gaming device as a traditional portable is.

The switch looks like it might kinda-sorta alleviate that by being usable with the controllers docked, but that's going to require weird symmetric controllers and also require games to not need to use the whole controller, at least if multiplayer is possible for that game, since you have to be able to play it with half. It's going to be an awkward mess as far as controls are concerned, and there is essentially nothing more important about a game system. So I'm pretty skeptical.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:08 AM on October 21, 2016


The biggest takeaway from Dale's deep dive for me is that the Switch screen is a touchscreen, but games are not allowed to rely on it as a core element because everything has to be playable with the tablet docked.

Yeah, I think Nintendo is intentionally downplaying both the touchscreen and motion controls. Which is wise, because TBH the long-term consensus on both of those is that they're pretty much gimmicks. Some games use them very well, but most don't, and both have been around long enough for gamers to have caught on to these facts. So focusing too much on existing gimmicks for the console reveal over the actually revolutionary features would be unwise.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:22 AM on October 21, 2016


Some games use them very well, but most don't

Yeah. The only two that I can think of where the touchscreen seems much better than buttons are games with mapping (Etrian Odyssey, Persona Q, a couple of the Zelda games), drawing (Animal Crossing, a bunch of art/painting games) and, uh, Picross.

I might have a Picross problem
posted by asperity at 11:30 AM on October 21, 2016


Nearly all of the time, when you are in a situation where you want to use the console, you don't have anything to put the screen on. You end up awkwardly propping it on your legs or something, and wishing you had a real portable system.

I believe the console has little fold-out kickstands for resting it on a stable surface.
posted by JHarris at 1:58 PM on October 21, 2016


The kickstand thing was the part that made me cheer a little. It's an enormous hassle to prop up the 3DS so that I can watch things that aren't just on the top screen or so that I can play stylus-heavy games without having to hold the thing with one hand. Having that option actually built into the device (I've got stand for the Vita that works OK, but it's a separate thing to carry) sounds great.
posted by asperity at 2:35 PM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Reeeeeally hoping that the reliable leaks are also right about the region-free thing
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:51 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


JHarris: I believe the console has little fold-out kickstands for resting it on a stable surface.

Yeah, and the shield tablet has a little case that props it up. Doesn't help if you aren't sitting at a table, and in most of the use cases for a portable gaming device, you aren't.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:29 AM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone with a nvidia shield tablet, let me be first to say that the idea of a portable console does not work. You can't hold a controller and hold the screen. Nearly all of the time, when you are in a situation where you want to use the console, you don't have anything to put the screen on. You end up awkwardly propping it on your legs or something, and wishing you had a real portable system. Not that the shield tablet is bad - it's a fantastic tablet - but a tablet with a controller is not as viable a portable gaming device as a traditional portable is.

The switch looks like it might kinda-sorta alleviate that by being usable with the controllers docked, but that's going to require weird symmetric controllers and also require games to not need to use the whole controller, at least if multiplayer is possible for that game, since you have to be able to play it with half. It's going to be an awkward mess as far as controls are concerned, and there is essentially nothing more important about a game system. So I'm pretty skeptical.


Best I can tell, you'll be able to play on the go with the controllers docked but that they detach for those times when you have the option of not holding the entire thing. And the controllers are indeed weirdly symmetrical with buttons and a stick on each side so not only would you be able to play with both hands while holding it, there's the possibility that it will also be left-handed friendly like the Atari Lynx.
posted by dances with hamsters at 2:21 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


and in most of the use cases for a portable gaming device, you aren't

Well then where the heck are you? If you're not at a table then where would you set it anyway? If you're holding it in your hands to play then you don't need to set it down. I really don't get what you're asking for.
posted by JHarris at 5:11 PM on October 22, 2016


JHarris: Well then where the heck are you? If you're not at a table then where would you set it anyway? If you're holding it in your hands to play then you don't need to set it down. I really don't get what you're asking for.

Riding in a vehicle, mostly. You don't have a table in front of you in most vehicles (and the seat table in a plane is too close and takes up the places where your hands would be, so it doesn't work).

Or standing in a line, or whatnot. You almost never have a table in front of you when you have time to bring out a portable game, and nothing better to do.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:36 PM on October 22, 2016


So the tablet could be some kind of semi-thin client?

If anything i'm betting on something more like the expansion pack combined with the super fx. That is, of course, if i'm wrong about the lower power mode/full power mode thing.

There is current competitors doing this sort of thing in sense though. The ps4 pro works by having two of the GPU. New games will be written that can run on the old PS4, but on the PS4 pro they can just run with basically double the capability. Nintendo themselves have done the multiple-processors thing before with some of the DS models. But the PS4 is a much better example of what i'm thinking of here.

Basically, i don't think it would be a must-always-have-network thin client. But i could see the dock being the equivalent of a graphics amplifier.

The more i think about nintendo trying to generally do simple low power systems that are more affordable than other brands though, the more i think that's just too much complexity. The power-states/disabling cores route seems simpler.

But who knows, we'll just have to wait and see. Mobile CPUs are pretty cheap. Adding another one and some additional hardware might only add like $20 to the BOM. Both ideas kind of make sense for their own reasons.

A portable streaming system that depends on wifi/cell data does not seem like something nintendo would make. Sony already tried the handheld with data thing that didn't even always need to be connected and took a shot in the shorts.
posted by emptythought at 1:37 PM on October 24, 2016


My money's still on a discrete graphics card in the dock that takes over from the onboard integrated graphics chip when plugged in. Exactly like that Alienware graphics amplifier or the Surface Book keyboard dock. Both of those use proprietary connectors, but they're likely proprietary for marketing reasons, not engineering ones. (AFAIK, both are just PCIe connectors under the hood -- the Alienware post says as much explicitly.)

I'm not sure that downclocking or disabling cores when on battery would save enough power to be worth doing, but it's possible. Apple has been shipping their MacBook Pros with dual graphics chips and turning the discrete chip off while on battery for a while. I don't think the Switch has enough internal space to pull off something like that, but it's another possibility I suppose. And it'd definitely save more power than just disabling individual cores on the GPU/CPU.

For a lot of reasons, the tablet acting as a thin client for the dock seems really, really unlikely.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:48 PM on October 24, 2016


Re my comment above about Autodesk: it turns out they're a much bigger company than I thought (I was only aware of their CAD software), and one of their properties is the Stingray game engine. So that seems like a plausible guess.
posted by metaBugs at 9:31 AM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


So the woman who brings her Switch to a roof party because this is the internet, she now has her own subreddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoKaren/
posted by RobotHero at 11:51 AM on October 26, 2016


Also because internet, it's creepy as shit.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:13 PM on October 26, 2016


"We did it, Reddit!"
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:01 PM on October 26, 2016


But who knows, we'll just have to wait and see. Mobile CPUs are pretty cheap. Adding another one and some additional hardware might only add like $20 to the BOM. Both ideas kind of make sense for their own reasons.

You might be on to something here. One thing Nintendo loves doing is using many cheaper chips in their console designs, offloading functions onto custom hardware, like handing security to a special co-processor.
posted by JHarris at 6:58 PM on October 26, 2016


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