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Pros and Cons of the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo unveiled all the details of its launch roster, pricing, and dates for the Switch hybrid console last week.

Now all the information is out in the open, those sites that were whooping it up last week are now doing their usual, “well, this is all crap!” posts to try and stir up some fanboy bashing.

TechAcute ignored the stampede and now takes a more balanced look at what the Switch is, and isn’t. First the basics, the console will cost $299 (£279 UK) on launch day, 3rd March. There are five games at launch, with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the pick of the bunch, along with mini-game collection 1-2-Switch, Just Dance 2017, Skylanders Imaginators and Super Bomberman.

Rather than go mad on day one, Nintendo is stringing out the releases with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe arriving in April, and system seller Super Mario Odyssey in time for Christmas. Third party support is currently limited to an updated legacy version of FIFA and good old Rayman from Ubisoft. Indie game developers seem keen to bring many titles like Shovel Knight to the Switch.

Power of the Switch

The console itself offers 720p gaming in tablet mode on the sweet 6.2-inch screen, and up to 1080p gaming on your big screen. However, powerful games like Zelda will run at lower resolutions, in this case, 900p. In terms of power and performance, Nintendo isn’t publishing any specifications, except 3-6 hours of battery life. However, the Tegra processors from Nvidia are perfectly good for cutting edge mobile HD gaming. Storage is limited to 32GB on the machine, with SD cards, which are cheap, for expansion.

Online chat largely compares the Switch as a successor to Sony’s more-or-less forgotten PlayStation Vita portable, a six year-old device that offers crisp 544p sub-HD gaming but has a massive library behind it and Remote Play for PlayStation 4 users.

Cons of the Switch

Aside from the lack of games and absurd pricing for the lesser titles, Nintendo faces criticism for charging for online access from Fall onward, with what seems like a feeble offering. The current plan is free rental of a retro title per month. That’s not going to cut it with gamers used to free titles on PlayStation Plus or Games for Gold on Xbox. However, Nintendo has plenty of time to change this deal, expect it to evolve rapidly after Christmas.

Also, their lack of a pack-in game, of any type, and fact the Pro controller ($69) costs extra, as does a charger ($29) for the JoyCon mini-controllers means that the actual retail price is nowhere near what most people will pay, especially if you want lots of players. My advice is to ignore the launch period and wait for a price cut and wider choice of third-party peripherals before Christmas or early 2018.

YouTube: Nintendo Treehouse Live with Nintendo Switch (recording)

Photo credit: Nintendo

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Chris Knight
I've been writing about technology. PCs and mobile for over 10 years, covering news, tutorials, reviews, comparisons and other pieces across magazines and websites.