Nintendo Switch to launch in March, gets price, games announced

Nintendo announced the new Nintendo Switch system will launch worldwide on March 3, 2017, at a suggested retail price of $299.99 in the United States. (Photo: Business Wire)

Zelda, two Mario titles, Skyrim, and interesting new titles are ready for 2017 for Nintendo’s newest gaming console, the Nintendo Switch.

Details about the new 2-in-1 console were released during a presentation Thursday in Tokyo. The Switch will be available on March 3 for $299.99 in the United States, and some pre-orders have already begun.

Fans and potential buyers got to see Switch in action during a video in late 2016 that teased many new gaming abilities and titles. The Tokyo presentation got into some greater detail into functionality and announced two first-party launch titles for Switch, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “1-2-Switch.”

Switch not only connects to a TV or monitor at home, but it also can be taken on the go by continuing gameplay on a 6.2-inch handheld screen. Joy-Con controllers each contain an accelerometer and gyro sensor and can be used independently or snap them together for use in a traditional game controller style.

Battery life is dependent on the game, the company said. They expect more than six hours of usage, but the new Zelda game will drag that down to about three hours due to the demands of the game. The screen can be charged away from the charging dock by using an AC adapter into the console’s USB Type-C connector.

“Nintendo Switch is a brand-new kind of home gaming system that offers a wide variety of play modes,” said Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima. “We will introduce the world to new experiences made possible by the unique characteristics of the Nintendo Switch hardware and the Joy-Con.”

The system will support online Wi-Fi gaming, and Nintendo announced a subscription service that will let friends play online against one another, chat, and set play appointment. The service will be free at launch but will transition to a paid service in the summer 2017 with no cost yet announced.

While the hardware is impressive, and the ability to take a home game on the road without breaking stride is enticing, the true measure of any game system is the games it will play.

"The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" will provide players with a landmark Nintendo Switch experience on the system’s launch day in March. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Launching with a Zelda title is a masterful stroke. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is an open world adventure with more than 100 trials and a new variety of weapons and gear. The trailers have been gorgeous, and many fans of the series are excited about the new gameplay, which will be available with Switch launches.

They also announced a brand new title, “1-2-Switch,” which is a game where players look into each other’s eyes instead of the screen. It is definitely a party game and will go well with the portability of Switch.

"Super Mario Odyssey" is the first sandbox game that allows Mario to fully explore his world since "Super Mario 64" on Nintendo 64 and "Super Mario Sunshine" on Nintendo GameCube. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Two Mario games, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and “Super Mario Odyssey,” will also be available later in 2017. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” features new characters and new tracks in April. “Super Mario Odyssey” takes Mario out of the Mushroom Kingdom and lets him discover new worlds and experiences when it launches during the holiday season.

But Nintendo isn’t the only company supporting the Switch. Major third party developers are also banking on Switch’s unique gameplay abilities to get players into their titles.

Ubisoft announced three titles, “Just Dance 2017”, “Rayman Legends Definitive Edition” and “Steep,” will be part of their early lineup for Switch.

“We’re proud to be working closely with Nintendo on this new console, making sure players can enjoy great games on a device that shares the same philosophy: Great accessibility and the ability to bring people together,” said Xavier Poix, Ubisoft managing director, French Studios. “These three games are just the beginning.”

For sports fans, Electronic Arts will bring “EA Sports FIFA” to the new console in 2017, and 2K announced “NBA 2K18” will be available on the Switch in September, when it launches for the world.

“Bringing ‘NBA 2K18’ to Nintendo Switch is a natural progression as we continue to expand our audience and welcome new fans to the franchise,” said Jason Argent, senior vice president of Basketball Operations for NBA 2K.

For role-playing game fans, “Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls,” from Bethesda, and a new title from Square Enix will let players explore new worlds while walking around in their own world. It also showcases the power of Switch at home or on the go.

New titles in the “Xenoblade Chronicles” and “Fire Emblem” franchises will also enhance Switch’s appeal for those fans. Nintendo said more than 100 developers were working on games for the new console, and they expected to have 80 titles in the first year.

There are concerns about supply, as Nintendo doesn’t have the best track record for anticipating early demand for its hardware products. A set of Joy-Con controllers is $80. Just one is $50. The pro controller is $70. Don't lose or break your controllers.

The company will be holding a Treehouse Live presentation early Friday morning to possibly present more titles and detail about the upcoming Nintendo Switch.

What do you think? Are you ready to buy the Nintendo Switch? What would it take, and what games do you want to play on it? Tell us in the comments below!