Nintendo officially announced that their new hybrid console and handheld device, Nintendo Switch, will be launching on March 3, 2017 at $299.99. At launch, there will be two different system SKUs with the only difference being the color of the included controllers; one with a set of gray Joy-Cons and the other with a neon blue and neon red Joy-Con. The system will also come with two Joy-Con controllers (a left and right), a Joy-Con grip to attach two Joy-Con together, a set of Joy-Con wrist straps, a Nintendo Switch dock, an HDMI cable and an AC adapter.
Using the included Nintendo Switch dock, players can play any of the games on a connected television, as if it was a traditional home console. When the Switch is taken out of the dock, players can continue playing using the 6.2-inch capacitive multi-touch screen. Battery life will be the primary concern for consumers and depending on the game and usage; it can last 2.5 to six hours. The press release made a note that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can only be played for roughly three hours before the Switch needs to be charged.
Although small, each Joy-Con can be used separately, acting as a standalone controller with all the necessary buttons. Both include an accelerometer and gyro sensor, which means Nintendo isn't giving up on motion controls with the new platform. The main idea behind separating the Joy-Con controllers from the Joy-Con grip is for local multiplayer. The left, and right Joy-Con each have unique features, as the left Joy-Con has a capture button for players to snap screenshots of gameplay. These can be shared with friends on social channels. The right Joy-Con includes an NFC touchpoint for interaction with amiibo figures, as well as an IR Motion Camera. This new feature can detect shape, distance, and motion of nearby objects. For example, it can tell how far away your hands are and if your hand is forming a rock, paper, or scissors shape. Both controllers include HD Rumble, providing subtle vibrations that should feel more lifelike than ever.
The system supports online multiplayer, but up to eight Switch's can be connected locally. Nintendo also announced that a new online subscription service will begin in Fall 2017, but will include a free trial at launch. In Summer, the service will launch a smart-device app that lets players invite friends to play online and chat with one another.