As many people will agree, when Nintendo first showed off the Wii U back in 2011 it was more than a little confusing to many people that it was a brand new console and that the tablet controller wasn’t compatible with the Wii. This confusion dogged the Wii U due to questionable marketing and commercials that often left the general consumer thinking the Wii U wasn’t a new system, but an add-on to a system they already owned. That’s why it was so important that Nintendo unveil the NX in a strong and straightforward manner. I think it’s safe to say that they seem to have done that with the Nintendo Switch debut preview trailer. It’s pretty evident what this new machine can do (play games on the TV and play games on the go with many different controller configurations).
However, one could be forgiven if it was a little unclear what part of the device is the actual console. Traditionally, the piece of hardware that hooks up to the TV is the console, and the device used to control the games is the controller. With the Nintendo Switch, the entire console is actually the tablet. This is necessary because when you take your games on the go, you need to have all of the processing power in the tablet itself to run the games. When playing on the TV, the dock is used to charge the console and to display the picture on the big screen. A Nintendo representative told IGN:
The Nintendo Switch Dock has been created so that it is extremely easy to seamlessly switch from playing games on a TV to transition into a portable mode. The dock is not the main console unit of Nintendo Switch. The main unit of Nintendo Switch is the unit that has the LCD screen, which the two Joy-Con controllers can be attached to and detached from. The main function of the Nintendo Switch Dock is to provide an output to the TV, as well as charging and providing power to the system.
Some believed that the dock might add extra computing power to the main console so that it could display the games in higher definition on the TV. While the statement above doesn’t rule that out completely, it’s looking likely that it’s more of a charge station than anything else. It’s obvious by looking at the high resolution picture of the dock that there are USB ports on it. These are, presumably, to attach accessories like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller so they can charge. It also would not at all be surprising to learn that an external hard drive could hook up to increase storage while gaming at home.
Nintendo also clarified a few other tidbits for IGN. Just incase you weren’t sure, the Joy-Con controllers will be included with the Switch. These are the left and right (Joy-Con L & Joy-Con R) controller pieces that slide onto each side of the tablet-like console. In addition, amiibos will be compatible with the new system, which is hardly surprising since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one of its key games, has amiibo figures releasing alongside it. When asked about whether or not the screen is a touchscreen, Nintendo declined to answer at this point, but promised answers before the system launched in March (obviously). It should be noted that Emily Rogers, one of the journalists on Twitter whose leaks all came true about the NX had previously mentioned that the screen is a touchscreen, so I think it’s a foregone conclusion.
We expect more details about Nintendo Switch to be revealed next week at Nintendo’s investor meeting. However, big reveals, like price point, release date, and launch games will probably arrive after the holiday season.