Nintendo Switch launch confirmed for 3rd March globally

Nintendo finally lifts the lid on its new hybrid console

By Alex Winton

Today’s big Nintendo Switch presentation has been and gone in the wee hours of the morning, and the end result is… mostly just confirmation of what a lot of us had already assumed, but confirmation all the same. The Switch will be out worldwide on the 3rd March for $299US/£279.99. There may be software bundles announced later, but for now, there will be two configurations available at launch, one with two grey Joy-Con controllers and one with a Red and a Blue Joy-Con controller, which you can see below with the rest of the contents of the box:


The Joy-Cons also have attachments that add a strap to the controller so you can avoid chucking them at the TV when you’re playing motion games, as well as making the shoulder triggers a bit bigger and easier to press. The trigger buttons on the joycons would not appear to be analog, though – but it’s not clear if it’s the same for the Pro Controller.

The sizzle reel below detailed a number of the games coming to Switch, but most aren’t available at launch in March – in fact the only two games announced for the 3rd March itself so far are a new ‘game’ called 1, 2, Switch, which uses the Joy-Cons for a mini-game that involves you pressing a button on it quicker than the other player and inexplicably will cost full price, and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – which despite rumours to the contrary, will be available worldwide on the 3rd. The amazing trailer for that is also below.

Also revealed at the presentation was Splatoon 2 – a sequel to the breakout hit of the Wii U – coming in the summer and Super Mario Odyssey – a sort of open-world-ish Mario game that looks to bring a lot of the best elements of Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy together with some actually new concepts. Both trailers are also below:

Arms, a brand new IP which seems to be an attempt to bring together the success of Wii Sports and the success of Splatoon into one package will miss the launch in March, but is due sometime shortly afterwards in the spring. Using the Joy-Cons for direct physical control, the game is effectively a long-range boxing match not too dissimilar to Punch Out on the Wii – but with greater range of movement, attacking and defence. Nintendo claims that the game is both instantly accessible because of the controls as well as deep and full of strategy (and hopefully content given the full game price tag). It genuinely looks fun, but it is a little concerning that it’s both not a launch game and quite expensive for what surely seems to be the Switch’s Wii Sports – a game everyone got for free with their £180 Wii…

Not featured in the presentation, but confirmed all the same is an updated (‘Deluxe’) release of Mario Kart 8, featuring all the game’s DLC content as well as new content based on Splatoon. It’s due out at the end of April in the US (no details for anywhere else yet, which is probably why it wasn’t featured) for full price.

Other confirmed, new, games for the Switch include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Snipperclips – a cute two-player puzzle game – Super Bomberman R (trailer below) – a truly new Bomberman game featuring plenty of local 8-player content as well as single (or 2-player co-op) content – and Puyo Puyo Tetris from Sega (trailer below) – a mashup of Puyo Puyo (or Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine as most people outside of Japan probably know it better as) and Tetris with a bunch of multiplayer content.

Sonic Mania, Skyrim, Disgea 5, Minecraft, Minecraft Story Mode, Rayman Legends Definitive Edition, I am Setsuna, Steep, Dragonball Xenoverse 2 and Fifa 18 were also all confirmed for a Switch release alongside reveals of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers – an updated release of Street Fighter II – a new Shin Megami Tensei game, Fire Emblem Warriors and a new game from Squeenix’s Bravely Default team, Project Octopath Traveller.

Overall, it’s a promising eventual lineup, but it’s a little concerning how sparse launch itself currently is. We’ll reserve final judgement until closer to release, though. On the plus side, it’s actually not too bad to see big name titles coming throughout the year.

In other details, Nintendo revealed that their online service for the Switch will be joining Microsoft and Sony’s in requiring a paid subscription to play online and use voice chat. Similar to the PS+ and Games with Gold deals, subscribers will receive a free game monthly – but unlike those deals, which feature games native to that console, and thus released within the last 20 years, Nintendo will be giving away NES and SNES virtual console games.

The paid online service will come with a free period allowing subscribers to use it until Autumn 2017 for free, but for reasons known only to Nintendo and whatever fever dream convinced them to do it, the service will only be available in the USA, Canada and Mexico at launch in March. No pricing details have been announced yet.

A range of official accessories has also been announced. The Switch’s Pro Controller (not included with the console) will be available for $69.99, while you can pick up a pair of extra Joy-Cons (in grey or in a pair or combination of the two colours available) for $79.99. You can also buy the left and right Joy-Cons individually for $49.99 and a charging grip, similar to the one included in the box, but with the ability to charge the Joy-Cons while you play, for $29.99. If you have multiple TVs you’d like to use your Switch with, you can also pick up an extra dock separately for $89.99, and finally for those who simply can’t play Mario Kart without a plastic wheel, a set of two for fitting individual Joy-Cons into will be available for $14.99.

Pre-orders won’t open in Japan until next week, but will open up in North America, the UK and Europe throughout today and the weekend. We should have a better idea on games and accessories outside of the US then too.

In short: the console isn’t too expensive, but launch looks disconcertingly sparse. Zelda making it for launch is certainly very positive, but it’d be nice to see a bit of a wider range of content available on day 1. Let us know what you think below.

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