Now after a Nintendo Direct press conference on Jan. 12, we can fill in the blanks on when you can get the portable/console hybrid and how much it’ll cost.
1) When will it be released?
The Switch will be available starting March 3.
2) What will it cost?
The Switch will cost $299. Pre-orders are now open.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 13, 2017
Obviously one of the biggest concerns going into the launch of any new console is consumer cost, as the wrong price point can sink a promising machine. For example, the PlayStation 3 took a few years to hit its stride thanks to the initially high price of the machine. The Wii launched at $250 including one game and the Wii U’s deluxe model came in at $350.
3) Online Service & Virtual Console
Nintendo announced that it will start offering a paid online service, likely similar to Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus.
The online service will be free for Switch owners to try until fall 2017, when it will start charging a fee. Switch will be a region-free console.
As previously reported, GameCube games, including Super Smash Bros. Melee, Luigi’s Mansion, and Super Mario Sunshine, will be available digitally on the Switch. The Wii and Wii U both made use of Nintendo’s Virtual Console marketplace, allowing players to download older games on their new system. GameCube titles were teased for Wii U, but they never made their way to the download service.
The Virtual Console will likely continue on Switch, and it may feature a way for players to download games they purchased on the Wii U for a cheaper price. This method was used between the Wii and Wii U’s launch as well.
4) Will Zelda be there?
Zelda fans will be thrilled to know Breath of the Wild will be a launch title for Switch.
Nintendo doesn’t have a bigger game on its radar than the next Legend of Zelda installment. The game began development for the Wii U, and will now apparently release simultaneously on both Nintendo’s outgoing system and the brand new one. (This isn’t unprecedented; Nintendo launched Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on both the GameCube and Wii consoles.) Rumors in late 2016 suggested that Breath of the Wild was delayed again until the summer, but Nintendo confirmed it will launch March 3 with the console.
5) Launch lineup?
The Switch’s full launch line-up is starting to take shape with Breath of the Wild, a game called 1-2 Switch, and a handful of other games coming in March.
Nintendo mentioned Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 at its press conference, but Splatoon 2 isn’t scheduled for release until summer and the Mario title isn’t dropping until the holiday season.
Nintendo made a point of mentioning its improved partnerships, announcing that 50 companies have games in development for Switch, including Square Enix, EA Sports, and even Sega.
Few of the third-party titles mentioned at the press conference have release dates for Switch. They include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, EA Sports FIFA, Dragon Quest 10 and 11, Atlus, and more.
Yooka Laylee is also confirmed for the system, and is scheduled to release in April, shortly after the Switch hits in March. Developers at Any Arts Production are working on an exclusive independent title, Seasons of Heaven, that is expected to release in 2017. The livestream didn’t shed any light on a rumored Pokèmon game and a Rabbids RPG.
6) What about Amiibo?
Nintendo’s toys-to-life figures did extremely well sales-wise on the Wii U, despite any significant title that made extensive use of them. Breath of the Wild has confirmed amiibo support, with the recently released Legend of Zelda line and the game’s own figures shown giving in-game bonuses. The Switch controller has a NFC reader like the Wii U’s gamepad had to scan amiibo, continuing use of the popular toys. Nintendo has been continually releasing amiibo, and will likely do so for the near future.
7) Skyrim on the Switch?
Yes! Bethesda announced that Skyrim is indeed coming to Nintendo Switch in fall 2017.
Nintendo is adamant that third-party support will be better on the Switch than it was for the Wii U, and the first trailer for the system showed off games like NBA 2K17 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bethesda’s epic RPG was recently re-released as an updated HD version, so it seems a natural choice to port over. In November the game’s creator Todd Howard confirmed in an interview with Glixel that Bethesda was working with Nintendo, also praising the new system’s two-screen play. “We’re definitely going to be supporting it,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve done something on Nintendo.”
8) Are we finally getting Mother 3?
After Nintendo’s press conference, we still don’t know.
Mother 3, a semi-continuation of the acclaimed RPG Earthbound, was never properly released in North America. A popular fan transition has satiated players for a few years, but there is still a passionate crowd wishing for an official release from Nintendo. Earthbound Beginnings, an English version of the first Mother game made its way to Wii U in 2015, and many thought this would indicate Mother 3 could be on its way. It may be that the 2006 game will eventually be announced for the Switch.
This story is updated as new information becomes available.