Everything we know about Nintendo Switch

All the facts about the new console

It took us a long, long time to get here, but we finally can speak with confidence about the Nintendo Switch. The new home console is unique in that it’s not just a home console: It’s also a handheld. The Switch can either sit in a dock and connect to a TV for some traditional play, or players can take it on the go and use the tablet-like system’s own screen as their main display.

Nintendo revealed a lot of information about the console during its live press conference, answering many of the questions we’ve held about the Switch for many, many months.

Need to catch up on all the Switch facts quickly? Follow along for everything we now know about the console.

NINTENDO SWITCH WILL LAUNCH ON MARCH 3

Nintendo revealed that the system hits stores on March 3, 2017. That gives us a little less than two months to prep for the next generation of Nintendo games.

NINTENDO SWITCH COSTS $299.99 AND COMES IN TWO DIFFERENT BUNDLES

For $299.99, you’ll get a console with 32 GB of memory on board. One bundle includes two gray Joy-Con controllers; the other comes with one red and one blue controller. That set is referred to as “neon.”

NINTENDO SWITCH SUPPORTS THREE GAMEPLAY MODES

The Switch can be played while in TV mode, which means it’s seated in the dock and games are played while looking at the TV. It also can be played as a handheld, like a standard portable system. Finally, there’s tabletop mode, where players can flip out the tablet’s kickstand and rest it on a table, detaching the controllers for some solo or even multiplayer action.

LAUNCH TITLES INCLUDE THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD, 1-2 SWITCH AND SKYLANDERS

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch alongside the console on March 3. Other launch titles include the minigame collection 1-2-Switch, Just Dance 2017 and Skylanders Imaginators.

THE NEXT MARIO GAME IS SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY

Super Mario Odyssey will be out this winter. It features Mario running around a sandbox-style world full of different landscapes — including a human-populated metropolis. While the settings may look wildly different than those of past Mario games, expect the goal to be saving Princess Peach as always.

THE SWITCH WILL ALSO GET MARIO KART, SKYRIM, FIFA AND MORE

Versions of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, Mario Kart 8, Shovel Knight and FIFA will all hit the Switch later this year. Also coming: NBA 2K18 and I Am Setsuna.

THERE ARE NEW GAMES IN THE WORKS TOO, OF COURSE

Totally new games include Arms, a fighting game where the combatants have expanding limbs; Fire Emblem Warriors, a collaboration between Nintendo and Koei Tecmo, as well as a completely new Fire Emblem game in 2018; a new Shin Megami Tensei game from Atlus; and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which is due later this year.

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Also exciting is Splatoon 2, a sequel to the Wii U title, will also be available this summer. Super Bomberman R, a new title in the fan favorite franchise, hits in March.

NINTENDO SWITCH GAMES WILL COST $59.99

Switch games, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2, will be sold for $59.99. That’s the same price that Wii U games are sold at right now. We also got to see the box art for some upcoming games, and we’re pretty big fans so far.

Some titles, including 1-2-Switch and Super Bomberman R, will be sold at a cheaper price point: $49.99.

NINTENDO SWITCH HAS UP TO SIX HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE

The Switch can hook up to a TV, but it can also be played on the go. When it’s not plugged in, players can expect between two and a half and six hours of gameplay at the highest brightness setting. Games like Breath of the Wild can run for about three hours on battery alone before needing a charge.

THE SWITCH’S DOCK CHARGES THE CONSOLE

Although the dock serves as the main charging port, the console can also be charged over a USB-C connection. The whole process will take three hours.

THERE’S A CAPACITIVE, MULTITOUCH TOUCHSCREEN

Nintendo Switch has a touchscreen, although it can do more than the Wii U and 3DS’ touchscreens could. The Switch has a capacitive display, which allows for multitouch input, like most modern smartphone and tablet screens. Don’t expect any Nintendo games to make great use of it at launch, though.

SWITCH GAMES RUN AT A LOWER RESOLUTION UNDOCKED

In handheld or tabletop mode, the Switch is capable of outputting games at 720p resolution. When docked, games run at up to 1080p resolution. Not all games hit 1080p when docked, however. Nintendo confirmed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild runs at 900p when it’s connected to a TV.

ONLINE FEATURES COME AT A PRICE

Nintendo is catching up to Sony and Microsoft with its new online service. In order to play multiplayer games online, users will have to pay a fee. While online gaming will initially be free, Nintendo will start charging for that service sometime this fall. Nintendo’s online service will include features like voice chat, discounts and a free monthly classic game download. Nintendo plans to release a dedicated app for smart devices that will handle features like voice chat and multiplayer game invites.

THAT FREE CLASSIC GAME DOWNLOAD IS ONLY PLAYABLE FOR A MONTH

Here’s a big catch about the paid online service: Those monthly game downloads don’t work like the free games for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold members. Nintendo confirmed that players will only be able to try them out for one month, making them for like rentals than full downloads to keep.

THE SWITCH DOESN’T HAVE MIIVERSE OR STREETPASS

Nintendo first launched Miiverse on the Wii U, but the platform is now available on both that console and 3DS as well. The online community won popularity with fans as a place to chat about different games, ask for tips and discuss other topics. The application’s best feature, though, was that it allowed users to create and upload original artwork based on whatever they wanted, leading to some creative illustrations and fanart for the biggest Nintendo franchises.

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StreetPass, on the other hand, remains a 3DS-exclusive feature. The social app works when players take their system on the go with them in rest mode. As they pass other 3DS owners along their travels, each user will collect the other’s StreetPass data, which includes name, location and most recently played game. Other than that, users can play minigames and exchange puzzle pieces with the Miis of the 3DS owners they’ve passed by while each one had their systems tucked away.

All of this is to say that the Switch won’t have either of these applications. Nintendo seems to be pushing for the Switch as predominantly a home console, even if it has a portable mode. That may explain why StreetPass is going by the wayside. It’s unclear as to why Nintendo isn’t continuing its popular Miiverse feature, however.

THE JOY-CON CONTROLLERS HAVE MOTION SENSORS, PRECISION FEEDBACK AND MORE

Nintendo detailed what the detachable Joy-Con controllers can do during the presentation. These include motion, an infrared sensor on the right controller and “HD rumble” for some precise force feedback.

Games like Arms and 1-2-Switch will make ample use of these features to show off just what these unique controllers can do. Arms has players tilting the Joy-Con controllers to move fighters and throwing punches to, well, throw punches, while 1-2-Switch relies heavily on the rumble sensations.

Check out all the buttons for a sense of the breadth of these little gamepads:

 

THE JOY-CON RUNS FOR UP TO 20 HOURS

The Joy-Con controllers won’t need to be plugged back in as often as the console does. The detachable peripherals will run for upward of 20 hours. The controllers need three and a half hours to charge fully. There are a couple of different methods for charing the Joy-Con — but note that the charging grip Nintendo showed off, which allows players to continue using them unplugged, is sold separately.

JOY-CON CONTROLLERS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES CAN BE PURCHASED SEPARATELY

The new, unique Joy-Con controllers will be available to buy separately. These come in several different color configurations: gray, red, blue or both red and blue in one package. They’ll cost $49.99 individually or $79.99 for a bundle, which also has straps thrown in.

Also going on sale are other peripherals and accessories, like the Pro Controller ($59.99), a charging grip ($29.99) and an extra dock for the Switch unit ($89.99). There’s even a Joy-Con wheel available for racing games, like Mario Kart 8. The plastic shell comes in a set of two for $14.99.

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The hefty cost of some of these peripherals, especially the controllers, has many customers already up in arms.

WIIMOTES WON’T WORK ON THE SWITCH

You can ditch your old Wii and Wii U controllers. None of them will work with the Switch, according to Nintendo.

THE SWITCH HAS EXPANDABLE STORAGE

The Switch supports microSDHC and microSDXC cards to supplement the 32 GB of system storage it has available. These cards can go all the way up to 512 GB in volume. That’s good to know, considering games like Breath of the Wild use 13.4 GB of space alone.

The Switch doesn’t support external hard drives quite yet, however, Nintendo confirmed to Polygon.

YOU CAN STILL USE YOUR AMIIBOS

The Switch supports amiibos, those collectible figures based on Nintendo characters. The right Joy-Con has a sensor directly under its thumbstick that can read amiibo. Players just need to press the bottom of the figure to the top of the thumbstick to scan them into their games.

THE SWITCH IS REGION-FREE

Nintendo Switch will be region-free, unlike the Wii U and other past Nintendo home consoles. That means players can import games from other territories and play the to their liking; no more having to buy games from the same country that your console came from!

NINTENDO SWITCH WILL ALLOW PLAYERS TO TAKE AND SHARE SCREENSHOTS

A share button on the left Joy-Con controller is used to capture screens from games. Nintendo says players will also be able to save and share gameplay video in the future.

THE SWITCH HAS A PRETTY SVELTE UI

We’ve taken a look at the user interface of the home menu very, very briefly. It’s sleek! It comes in at least two themes! Take a look:

THE SWITCH WON’T HAVE NETFLIX OR OTHER STREAMING SERVICES AT LAUNCH

That’s not to say the console will never have Netflix, but Nintendo confirmed that it won’t have streaming platforms available when the Switch launches. That’s because the system is meant to be a gaming platform first, according to Nintendo reps.

THE SWITCH IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

Target, GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart and other retailers have limited stock, so if you want the console on launch day, you’d better run out and put your money down to pre-order the Switch now.

WE STILL DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SWITCH

Nintendo answered a lot of our biggest Switch questions, but there are plenty more we have now that the presentation has wrapped. For example: What’s the deal with Virtual Console? How much will online cost? We’ll be sure to continue finding as many answers to our lingering inquiries as possible.