Nintendo gave the world a more in-detail look at the Switch last Friday at a dedicated event in Tokyo, Japan. President Tatsumi Kimishima led the presentation where he and others unveiled the price, launch date, and games of the upcoming console.
The conference concluded after approximately one hour, and it drew mixed to positive reactions from the audience, around 500,000 watching the live stream on Friday night.
Now, a couple of days have passed, and there is more information Nintendo promised to share “at a later date.” While some of it is great news, others not so much. Let’s take a closer look at the info stemming from the Switch presentation.
The Good: Nintendo Switch is $299, and Zelda is a launch title
Fans around the world were relieved to hear confirmation from Nintendo that the Switch would cost $299 upon launch. Many others were excited to hear the console is arriving sooner than expected, on March 3.
The Japanese giant showcased the Nintendo Switch in detail, giving a more comprehensive look at the potential game styles and components that make up the console.
Other than that, the presentation built up momentum with an extensive display of games coming to the Switch, only to close with an epic trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its confirmation as a launch title for $59.99.
The latest Zelda game will also be available on the Wii U, but only the Switch gets the $99.99 Special Edition and the $129.99 Master Edition.
The Bad: Weak launch catalog, and pricey accessories
Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about the Nintendo Switch presentation was the fact that most of the games exhibited were not launch titles but works still in development.
On launch day, March 3, the Nintendo Switch will come out with just four games available: 1-2 Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Skylanders Imaginators, and Just Dance 2017.
Developers will release other 12 titles for the Switch throughout the year, with eight of them coming out at a later date in March or during the Spring. Super Mario Odyssey, for example, will launch in the Holiday Season of 2017.
Another downside to the Tokyo exhibition was that we got to learn the price for the Nintendo Switch accessories, and they are not cheap. A separate Dock will cost $89.99, while one Joy-Con will cost $49.99. A two Joy-Con bundle will be a more reasonable $79.99, but the Pro controller will have a price of $69.99.
The Ugly: Paid online service making its way to Nintendo
The ugliest moment of the night was when Nintendo barely glossed over the announcement many feared was coming: The company will launch an online payment system for multiplayer games.
The Nintendo Switch will have free multiplayer through the new Nintendo Account platform from launch date through Fall 2017. After that, players will need a yearly subscription at a yet undisclosed price.
Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Plus services both cost $60 a year, so that is the price tag people are expecting for Nintendo’s strange paid service model.
The Japanese powerhouse will offer one free game from its virtual console catalog for a month to players who sign up for the Nintendo Switch online service. Fans will have to use an app on their mobile devices to set up matches and talk to other gamers.
Another implication some people have failed to notice is this little piece of information on Nintendo’s page: “Starting in fall 2017, some online services will also require a paid subscription. Paid online service availability may be limited based on location.”
This means that, soon, the whole Nintendo ecosystem including the Wii U and the 3DS may be engulfed by this new paid online model, limiting access to necessary things like the Nintendo eShop in all consoles, and even leaving some regions completely out.