Nintendo Switch: Everything You Need to Know Right Now

Rachel Kaser 13-01-2017

On January 12, Nintendo held a live press event to reveal more about their latest console, the Nintendo Switch. Previously known as the Nintendo NX, the Switch was teased in a YouTube video back in October, and shown to be a hybrid between a traditional console and a handheld.


However, very little was officially disclosed other than the general shape and purpose of the console. Most of what we wrote about the Switch Nintendo Switch: What We Know and What We Don't Nintendo has announced their latest console: The Switch! They've released some information, but not a lot. Here's what we know, and what Nintendo still has to tell us. Read More at the time was based on speculation, and we were quick to point out that there was a lot we didn’t know.

Now Nintendo has finally unveiled more information about the system, its hardware, and the games that will be available for it. In their hour-long event, they confirmed several rumors and showed new games from many of their core franchises. Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch right now.

What Is the Switch?

We know what the Switch does, but we haven’t exactly been shown what it is, at least until now. The show gave us a fairly up-close look at some of the features of the Switch. However, some details were left out.

In case you don’t know already, the Nintendo Switch is intended to marry the worlds of console and mobile gaming. The Switch is actually the tablet-looking device with the touchscreen. The casing it sits in when you attach it to a TV is the Dock. The controllers are the small remotes that slide off the side of the Switch are called Joy-Con.


Even after the live show, we still don’t know much about the exact specifications of the hardware. The Switch itself has a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen (read about the difference between capacitive and resistive touchscreens Capacitive vs. Resistive Touchscreens: What Are the Differences? Capacitive and resistive touchscreen devices are everywhere these days, but what's the difference and how do they work? Read More  if you need more information) with a 1280 x 720 resolution. There’s no official word on how this resolution will change if the Switch is placed in a Dock attached to an HD or 4K TV.

The Switch runs games from cards that look slightly bigger than those available for the 3DS. It has 32 GB of internal memory, which they assure us can be upgraded. The tablet has a battery life — away from the Dock, which naturally acts as a charge port — of 2.5 to 6 hours, depending on what game you’re playing. It charges via USB-C, and does not ship with a non-Dock charging cable, though our list of USB-C chargers The Best USB-C Chargers: What's Safe and What's Dangerous? What are the best USB-C chargers? Benson Leung and Nathan-K's roundup of the best chargers on today's market can be complex to read. Fortunately, we've simplified it for you! Read More might help you make a safe purchase.


The live event was practically dominated by the new Joy-Con controllers, the small sticks that snap into place on the side of the Switch. These rather small successors to the Wiimote can each function as a controller on their own, and can be held independently of each other. Each one is made with motion controls in mind and has advanced vibration to communicate more subtly to the player.


In addition to the Joy-Con themselves, Nintendo showed off a few accessories for them. For starters, they can be fitted with wrist straps — again, very similar to the Wiimote — to make them more secure when playing a game with motion controls. They can also be fitted to the Charging Grip, which simultaneously charges the Joy-Con and lets the gamer hold something similar to a traditional controller.

One interesting addition: the left Joy-Con has a dedicated capture button, similar to the PS4’s Share button. The button can be used to capture screenshots and share them online, with gameplay capture being planned for the future.


If you don’t want to use the Joy-Con, you can invest in a Switch Pro controller. These were also shown off at the event, and look fairly similar to the Wii U Pro controller.

Nintendo Switch Launch Games

A large part of the live show was showing off the games that are being developed for the Switch. Out of all of them, only two are confirmed at time of writing to be available at launch, which may deter some people from buying the console immediately.

Nintendo also announced that the Switch would not be region-locked. This means that anyone who wants to buy a game that is Japan-exclusive can buy it, and you’ll no longer have to import those games 3 Websites To Buy Imported Japanese Games Thanks to the Internet, the process of importing these games is easier than ever. Read More .

Here are a few of the bigger games Nintendo has shown off.


Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This was the big one, the game that closed out the whole show and the one everyone was waiting to see. It’s also one of the two confirmed launch titles for the Switch, so Nintendo are very confident in its appeal being able to sell the console. The trailer shown was very dramatic and cinematic and featured — *gasp* — voice acting!

This appears to be Legend of Zelda‘s traditional formula mixed with Monster Hunter, which sounds like an interesting combination!

Super Mario Odyssey

The latest installment in the Super Mario series is an open-world game like Super Mario 64. Mario will be able to traverse large sand-box style worlds, one of which apparently includes realistically-proportioned people who make Mario look rather bizarre. Super Mario Odyssey will apparently include hats as a major feature, since Mario’s appears to be alive, can be used as a tool, and is crushed by Bowser at one point.

Super Mario Odyssey will be released sometime during Holiday Season 2017. For Mario lovers who want more, check out these websites 5 Sites For The Mario Lover In Us Mario has been around for a long time. If you are having a quick 5 minute break in front of the computer, then these sites could be just what you need for your Mario fix. Read More . There’s also going to be a Mario Kart game available for the Switch, as confirmed at the Nintendo Treehouse event the next morning.


Nintendo surprisingly announced this new IP before it debuted its iconic franchise games. Arms is a fighting game starring characters with extendable arms who can punch each other from across the arena. It’s designed to show off the responsive motion controls of the Joy-Con.

Despite the simple-sounding premise, the game looks surprisingly strategic, with each character having a variety of techniques and combos at their disposal.

And the Rest

We don’t have the space to talk about every single one of the games announced, especially since some of them were relegated to a sizzle reel at the end of the presentation. But here’s a short list of confirmed games:

  • Splatoon 2
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  • Super Bomberman R
  • Fire Emblem Warriors
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • 1, 2, Switch
  • Minecraft
  • Just Dance 2017
  • Untitled FIFA game

Hopefully more than just 1, 2, Switch and Breath of the Wild will be available at launch on March 3.

Switch Multiplayer Options

Nintendo announced that there would be online multiplayer available to Switch players, which would be free… initially. In Fall 2017, online multiplayer becomes a paid subscription service, similar to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live.

Nintendo Switch Online Service

In addition to online play, subscribers will be able to download a NES or SNES game to play free for a month. Considering the benefits of PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Xbox Live vs. PlayStation Plus: What Do You Get With Each? If you're got a PS4 or Xbox One, you've probably thought about subscribing to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. Let's see what they offer gamers for the price. Read More , this doesn’t seem like very much. Hopefully Nintendo will offer more benefits to subscribers as the free period draws to a close.

How Much Is the Nintendo Switch?

Now we come to something that can be a dealbreaker for many: the console’s price.

To be fair to Nintendo, the suggested price on launch day ($299 USD) is lower than the Xbox One or the PS4 were on their initial launches, and is about the same price as the PS4 Slim and the Xbox One S. When you buy the console, you get the Dock, the Switch tablet, two Joy-Con with accompanying straps and Grip, an HDMI cable, and an AC adapter — a fairly standard package for a console, and a decent value for the price on its own.

Unfortunately, there are other prices to consider. Namely, the prices of the games and the Switch accessories is a big point of concern for some, because they’re much higher than expected.

According to the Switch purchase page on Nintendo’s site, just one extra set of Joy-Con costs $80. These are the devices Nintendo spent by far the most time talking about during the show. They made a point of impressing on their audience just how revolutionary the Joy-Con are and how important they are to the multiplayer experience, yet having more than two Joy-Con is prohibitively expensive.

They also offer a secondary Dock as an accessory on the same page, which seems fitting. After all, if the whole point of the console is convenience and portability, then why not have an extra Dock for those with larger families or houses? The Dock is $90.

Nintendo Switch Game Prices

Individual Joy-Con are $50. The Joy-Con Grip is $30. The Pro Controller is $70. Many of the announced games are going for the now-expected price of $60. The prices stack up, and turn what should be a reasonably-priced console into a money pit.

Would You Buy the Switch?

As we pointed out in our first article on the Switch Meet Nintendo's New Games Console... the Nintendo Switch Nintendo has unveiled the Nintendo Switch, a home/handheld hybrid games console designed to give Nintendo fans the best of both worlds. That is if everything goes according to plan... Read More at the time of the original tease, reactions to Nintendo’s new console have been mixed. Even among the MakeUseOf staff, reactions have ranged from excited to bored.

Reactions online have been similarly divided. Some people are annoyed by the lack of a strong launch line-up for the game, while others are confident that the new Legend of Zelda alone will be enough to give the system some clout. If you are interested, the console is available for pre-order on Amazon, though at time of writing it was already sold out. Keep an eye on the page, as Amazon are likely to open it up to more pre-orders in the coming weeks.

Nintendo Switch - Gray Joy-Con - HAC 001 (Discontinued by Manufacturer) Nintendo Switch - Gray Joy-Con - HAC 001 (Discontinued by Manufacturer) Buy Now On Amazon $409.99

Are you going to be buying the Nintendo Switch? What are your thoughts on its launch lineup (or lack thereof)? How do you feel about the price? Let us know in the comments section below!

Related topics: Gaming Culture, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U.

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