Nintendo to launch Switch for $299 on March 3

Nintendo is planning a simultaneous launch in several global territories, new Zelda confirmed as launch title

In its live conference from Tokyo today, Nintendo has revealed that the Switch console will officially launch for $299 (29,980 yen, 279.99) on March 3 in Japan, North America, major European territories and other regions. For European prices, Nintendo said that consumers would have to check with their retailers.

Nintendo Switch will also offer online multiplayer gaming and will feature a paid service beginning in the Fall of 2017. Players will be able to invite friends and set matches from a smart device, receive a free SNES or NES game every month, and receive discounts on digital software. All Nintendo account holders will be able to use the online service for free until the paid service launches this Fall. There will be more details at a later date. Furthermore, Nintendo proudly announced that it's doing away with the practice of region-locking for Nintendo Switch software.

One of the major hardware details Nintendo then shed some light on is what it calls HD Rumble. The Joy-Con controllers will offer a high fidelity haptic feedback that Nintendo claims can make you feel sensations like water filling a glass or ice shaking around in it. Furthermore, IR and motion sensors on the Joy-Con devices can measure proximity and shape of objects - demonstrated by showing the controller recognise the rock, paper and scissors hand motions. Essentially, it would appear that Nintendo has attempted to fine-tune the motion gaming aspect of the original Wii with the Joy-Con controllers.

The company demonstrated a new fighting IP called Arms, in which players can use the Joy-Con controllers to box or shoot out their arms with a twisting motion. You can move characters by simply tilting the Joy-Con, so it's easy for anyone to pick up and play, Nintendo said. The other Joy-Con initiative that Nintendo showcased was called 1-2 Switch, which focuses on real social interaction. Rather than staring at a screen, players can stare down each other like in an old Western movie; Nintendo said it's meant to be played with face-to-face interaction.

In a separate press release, Nintendo confirmed that the Switch will have multi-touch capabilities for some games and that its battery life can last up to six hours "but will vary depending on the software and usage conditions". For example, a fully-charged Switch will be able to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild for roughly three hours.

Speaking of Zelda, the game will arrive at launch as was expected. A new trailer was presented at the end of the event that was highly impressive. A new Mario called Super Mario Odyssey was also revealed to be planned for the next holiday season. Mario was shown jumping around a huge sandbox world with a variety of city and fantastical environments. His famous red cap can now be thrown to take out enemies and temporarily serve as a floating platform, and also had eyes that will add some new layer of gameplay that's not been fully detailed yet.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima also outlined what the two Switch configurations would offer. They're essentially the same except that one version comes with grey Joy-Con controllers and the other provides neon red and neon blue Joy-Con designs. The Switch box will include the console itself, the left and right Joy-Con controllers, wrist straps, the Grip controller, a dock, hdmi cable and AC adapter. A pro controller will be available separately.

Kimishima promised that many developers inside Nintendo are "working hard to deliver original game content," but in the meantime third-party support appears to be strong. There are over 50 companies working on Switch titles, with more than 80 games in development. Confirmed titles include FIFA, Skyrim, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a new title in Atlus' series Shin Megami Tensei, and a brand-new game from Square Enix called Project Octopath Traveler. Sega and Suda51 also took to the stage to pledge their support for the Switch.

In a sizzle video, we could easily make out titles in the Lego series, Minecraft, Sonic, Dragon Ball Z, Rime, Farming Simulator and others. Nintendo's online store currently lists the following games and release dates:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March 3 2017)
  • Super Bomberman R (March 2017)
  • Snipperclips - Cut it out, together(March 2017)
  • Just Dance 2017 (March 2017)
  • Has Been Heroes (March 2017)
  • I Am Setsuna (March 2017)
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28 2017)
  • Arms (Spring 2017)
  • Lego City Undercover (Spring 2017)
  • Sonic Mania (Spring 2017)
  • Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)
  • NBA 2K18 (September 2017)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Fall 2017)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)
  • Project Sonic 2017 (2017)
  • 1, 2, Switch (TBD)
  • FIFA (TBD)
  • Arcade Archives (TBD)
  • Disgaea 5 Complete (TBD)
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (working title) (TBD)
  • Farming Simulator (TBD)
  • Fast RMX (TBD)
  • Fire Emblem Warriors (TBD)
  • Minecraft: Story Mode - The Complete Adventure (TBD)
  • Minecraft (TBD)
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris (TBD)
  • Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition
  • Rime (TBD)
  • Shin Megami Tensi: Brand New Title (TBD)
  • Skylanders Imaginators (TBD)
  • Syberia 3 (TBD)
  • Steep (TBD)
  • NBA 2K18 (TBD)
  • Lego City Undercover (TBD)
  • Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (TBD)

Splatoon 2 was shown and slated for the summer, while Mario Kart was only briefly teased. In a press release, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was mentioned as an April release. That being said, the immediate launch line-up does not appear to be very big. We'll bring you more details as they emerge.

The full Switch presentation is below. Skip to around 40 minutes to begin.

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Latest comments (6)

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers ProductionsA year ago
That was not good.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A year ago
For all the blue ocean rhetoric of the past, this is one product going into battle on two fronts at the same time; home consoles and smartphones. All while having the narrowest set of use cases any device out there has.
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager A year ago
All nintendo had to do was to deliver/showcase games yet they ended up hyping icecubes in a glass and REALLY showing only a handful of games + arms (cringe). Launch lineup is poor excluding zelda. I worry.
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David Lee Chief Concepticator, ConcepticateA year ago
When everyone tells me Nintendo is going to fail with Switch, I remember them saying the same thing before the Wii launch. The past does not presuppose the present (and Wii U was certainly a failure) but when Switch is $299 with a Zelda pack in (not at launch but hopefully not long after) I'll be in line to get one.
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Oscar Escamilla Perez Game Designer A year ago
@David Lee: Well, Nintendo has more fails than any other Home console developer. Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii U...
I've been eager to buy a Nintendo system+Zelda before. It happened with Gamecube (Windwaker pack) and Wii U (Windwaker HD special edition). But then I discover that there are not many great games on the systems apart from the usual Nintendo suspects. Lack of interesting third party support, horrible OS user interfaces, pay again and again on each new system for emulated virtual console games...

I'm tired of this. Switch needs to become something really special if they want my money again.
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I won't be making the switch
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