Today, Nintendo unveiled its next generation video game console, which will double as a mobile gaming system as well. Dubbed Nintendo Switch, and previously code-named NX, this new device looks to be a delightful departure from the monolithic consoles that Sony and Microsoft offer.
“In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose,” the company notes. “The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.”
While hard core gamers will question whether any mobile system can deliver the graphics horsepower needed to meet the expectations of those who experience 4K graphics or virtual reality on other consoles, what I see here is quite thrilling. The system is truly modular, too, and not just between docked/console and portable modes. You can remove the controller pads from either side of the handheld, for example, and play games while that handheld is propped up on a built-in kickstand. Two people can even compete on the same device, each with their own controller pad.
And there are concessions to gamers from other platforms: The Switch gamepad looks a lot like an Xbox Wireless Controller, and features the same basic button layout. And the game graphics shown look just fine, thank you very much, and for the most part are not as cartoonish as those on previous Nintendo consoles. (Obviously, the Mario game that is shown is on the cartoonish side, by design.)
In some ways, the Switch appears to one-up Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere scheme, in the sense that you really can play Switch anywhere. With Microsoft’s solution, you’re limited by the size and portability of these devices on which you can play. The firm’s expensive Surface Book, for example, cannot successfully play any Xbox Play Anywhere title with any degree of graphical fidelity or performance.
I’m impressed. Like many, I had written Nintendo off. But the Switch looks innovative and fun. I cannot wait to get one.