After months of teasing its new console under the secretive alias Nintendo NX, Nintendo finally revealed the Nintendo Switch today.
Doubling down on the gamepad system introduced with the Wii U, Nintendo Switch is a portable game system that—as suggested in Nintendo’s launch video—you could take on a plane or to the park with friends. When you’re at home, you can park the gamepad in a dock to connect to your TV for a more comfortable at-home play experience.
While the system prominently features a gamepad, there are a few significant differences from the Wii U. First, the Wii U gamepad needed to be within range of the console to operate. The Switch allows you to roam away from the home dock. The system also features two detachable side-panel controllers (which Nintendo has dubbed Joy-Con controllers). These controllers can be used in tandem attached to the side of the gamepad, connected together with “grip” accessory, or detached like the old Wiimote and nunchuk design from the original Wii. They can also be used individually by two people who are, say, MarioKart racing while waiting for the bus.
The video for the console also shows another option: a more traditional game controller that can be used comfortably from your couch if you don’t want to juggle the large gamepad or side controllers. It’s unclear if the controller will be an add-on accessory you’ll have to purchase separately or an item included with the system.
“Nintendo Switch allows gamers the freedom to play however they like,” Reggie Fils-Aime, president and COO of Nintendo of America, said in a statement. “It gives game developers new abilities to bring their creative visions to life by opening up the concept of gaming without boundaries.”
We’ll get our hands on this new console in March 2017, right around the time the most anticipated new Nintendo game, The Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild, is set to debut. The expansive Breathe of the Wild will be available for the Switch as well as the Wii U.
We’re still waiting on information on price, specs, and exact launch date, as well as the list of launch titles that will be available for the new console.