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The Nintendo Switch MEGA FAQ – Everything you need to know 

by Daniel VuckovicJanuary 27, 2017

With the Nintendo Switch just a month away we’ve been working hard to bring you this, our Mega Nintendo Switch FAQ! We’ve done one for the Nintendo 3DS, the Wii, the New Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U and now it’s time for the Switch to get the same treatment.

This guide aims to inform you about everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch, from the basics, to the advanced questions and to the questions that only die-hard Nintendo fans want answered.

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This isn’t a static article, it’ll evolve and grow as we get closer to the release date and once we get our own Switch we hope to fill the system with plenty of videos as well.

This is your guide to the Nintendo Switch.

The Basics

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s latest home console, but with a twist. The console itself is all contained within in the tablet portion of the device you see below. You can play the console in three different ways;

You can play it docked and connected to the TV, standalone as a handheld unit or what Nintendo are calling ‘tabletop’ mode. The controllers on the side of the tablet are called Joy-Cons and can be removed. The Joy-Con controllers can be played in a number of different ways. You can play them one in each hand or for multiplayer each player can take one play it on its side much like a SNES pad. The Joy-Cons are absolutely packed with technology including motion controls, HD rumble and more.

So is it a home console or portable? 

Technically it’s both, the Switch can be played attached to the TV just like any other console can but you can also remove the entire unit and take it outside the house. The console is the tablet, unlike with the Wii U where you had to be within range of the system to play everything is in that little box.

The Switch is fully featured, it has a 6.2-inch capacitive touch screen, inbuilt 32GB of memory, a MicroSD card slot, rechargeable battery, USB-C port for charging and headphone jack. There’s a slot on the top for inserting the brand new type of game cards Switch games come on.

So when is it out and how much does it cost? 

The Nintendo Switch will be released worldwide on March 3rd. In Australia the Switch will retail for $469.95AUD, it’s the most expensive console that Nintendo has ever released but it’s also the most complex.

The Switch will be sold in two colour configurations in all regions. The only two difference between the two is the colour of the Joy-Con controllers attached to the system. There’s an all grey setup and one with a neon blue and neon red controllers. All of these coloured Joy-Cons can be purchased separately if you’d like an all blue setup or an all red one.

The console comes with 32GB of onboard storage however some of that may already be taken up by the operating system. You’ll need to purchase a memory card for it to install more games. Games purchased on cards from stores do not need to be installed to run.

What’s in the box?

The Switch does not come with any games bundled or pre-installed. Here’s everything you’ll get in the Nintendo Switch box upon opening it. Yes, there’s an AC adapter this time.

What about the battery life? 

Even though the Switch is a home console, it’s also a portable device and that means it has a battery. Running games in HD isn’t easy so how does the console fair undocked and on the road?

Nintendo says the Switch will run anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6 hours depending on what game you’re playing. We’re going to suggest turning off wireless and turning down the brightness could also change this as well.

Nintendo says as a baseline something like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will run for 3 hours before you’ll be needing to dock the system. You’ll be able to recharge on the go using a battery pack if you wish.

How quick does the Switch between portable and docked mode? 

Here take a look, the delay back to the TV is actually not the Switch taking time but the TV taking time to switch the signal back on.

So if it’s portable as well, how will the graphics look? 

The Nintendo Switch isn’t going to be the absolutely powerhouses that the PS4 and the Xbox One are either docked or undocked. What it will do however is offer a consistent experience no matter where you are playing. The only change between playing docked and undocked is the resolution. It all depends on the game but most games docked will reach 1080p at 60fps.

When you’re undocked the system changes resolution to match the 720p display of the tablet. Nintendo’s made sure that the system can play the game no matter if it’s docked or not, only the resolution changes. The Nintendo Switch is powered by a NVidia’s Tegra X1 processor, other specs like how much memory it  has and what frequency the CPU is running at – we might never know.

The Joy-Con 

We’ve talked about the Joy-Con’s above but let’s go into them in some detail. They’re versatile controllers and they might look simple there’s a lot going on in them we need to talk about.

The Joy-Con L and R are two parts of one controller, but they’re also two separate controllers as well. When attached to the Switch or attached to the Joy-Con Grip they’re essentially a traditional controller, although they do look a little different to what we’re familiar with.

The Joy-Cons together can be used outside of the grip to play with each half in one hand, much like a wireless Wii Remote and Nunchuck would have been. The batteries are inside the controller themselves and last a handy 20 hours. To charge the controllers you’ll have to dock them with the Switch or purchase a separate charging Joy-Con grip. The Joy-Con Grip in the box only holds the controllers, it does not charge them.

The other way to use the Joy-con controllers is on their side, they essentially then are like a souped up Super Nintendo controller. There’s two shoulder buttons on the ‘top’ of the controller which are hidden when the controllers are docked. If you think the Joy-cons look small, that’s because they are.

To add some extra height there is two Joy-Con straps included. These straps don’t just add a wrist strap to stop you from throwing your controller across the room but also make the shoulder buttons a little taller and improve the aesthetic of the Joy-Con.

The other part of the Joy-Con is the technology in them you can’t see;

HD Rumble 

While it sounds like a gimmick, Nintendo’s HD rumble is actually something amazing. It’s in both the Joy-Con controllers as well as the Pro Controller. At its core HD Rumble is a more advanced or precise form of rumble, during Nintendo’s presentation they explained that you would be able to feel individual ice cubes shaking within the remote as if they were in a glass.

The better example however is in 1-2 Switch where you can play a mini game you have to guess how many ‘balls’ are rolling around inside it. When you tilt the Joy-Con left and right it actually feels like there’s ball rolling around.

It’s not just these ‘gimmicky’ ideas that work, both Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2 featured a more refined rumble experience. It’s one of those things you have to try yourself.

IR Camera 

Not to be confused with an IR pointer like on the Wii Remote. This camera instead can pick up how far away it is from something, what kind of gestures your hand is making and other things we’re sure we haven’t even thought of yet.

Motion Controls 

Both the Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller feature the capability for motion controls. We’ve played with both controller setups and it worked just as you would expect a Wii Remote Plus to.

NFC Pad for amiibo and Skylanders

Like the Wii U Gamepad the right Joy-Con only features an NFC touch pad for amiibo and now also for Skylanders figures. No dock required! The pad is hidden between the ABXY buttons and the right analog stick.

The Pro Controller

The Pro Controller is the alternative controller and sold separate option for Switch players. The Pro Controller looks and feels like a traditional video game controller. It’s also hiding some impressive technology in it as well. It also has the HD Rumble, Motion Controls and the NFC pad built like the Joy-Con controllers do.

The battery life also clocks in at an impressive 40 hours. This is down on the 80 hours the Wii U Pro Controller offered but above and beyond any competitor controller.

The Games

The most important part of any console is its games lineup. Nintendo and their partners have announced over 80 games are in development for the Switch with more being added everyday. The day one lineup is also evolving but it’s a lot smaller that the Wii U was, luckily for us Nintendo seem to be following up the launch with more games on a consistent basis. There won’t be any droughts of games for the first year it looks like!

Here’s whats coming out on day one;

eShop Only

March, April, May

And then…

1001 Spikes Dragon Quest X Zombie Vikings
Oceanhorn Dragon Quest XI Rusty Pup
Cave Story Dragon Quest Heroes 1 + 2 New Frontier Days
Arcade Archives Project Octopath Traveller Spelunker World
Farming Simulator 18 Derby Stallion Shin Megami Tensai
Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap Story of Seasons
TANK IT!! Taiko Drum Master
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom LEGO Worlds
Nobunga’s Ambition Project Steamworld 2017
State of Mind Blazblue

Nintendo Switch games will be sold in stores and come on ‘cartridges’. Well technically they’re not cartridges but read-only memory cards. Save games will save only on the console, a departure from the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. We’re expecting most games made available in stores will be available on the eShop as well as per usual.

Region Free

Nintendo has made a big deal about the system being region free. It’s expected that you should be able to buy a game from anywhere in the world and have it play on your Nintendo Switch. Finally!

The eShop situation is a little more unclear but Nintendo have said the following;

“The Nintendo Switch system is not region locked, but we recommend that players buy games within their region to ensure full service and support. The user will access the Nintendo eShop that corresponds to the country identified in their Nintendo Account. (Up to eight user accounts can be created on a single Nintendo Switch system.)”

While not completely detailed it should mean you can load multiple accounts onto your Switch from different regions. Whether or not Nintendo block purchasing on the eShop from outside those countries or there’s any other restrictions remain to be seen.

Backwards Compatibility

The Nintendo Switch is not backwards compatible with any other Nintendo system, everything is brand new. It doesn’t take discs and it can’t fit in Nintendo 3DS or DS cards. See the section below about if any purchases or Virtual Console games will transfer over.

Online

Unfortunately at this time there isn’t a whole lot of information about Nintendo’s online plans for the Switch. We know, there’s only a month to go!

Here’s what we do know, starting later this year Nintendo for the first time will start charging us for online multiplayer. From launch until then everything will be free with a special trial. Nintendo says that ‘most games’ will require a paid online subscription. How much that costs is yet to be revealed.

So what do you get for you money?

Online lobby and voice chat

Nintendo will route matchmaking, voice chat, friend invites, play appointments all through a smartphone application. This application however won’t be launched until our Winter, the middle of the year. Some games like Ultra Street Fighter II have detailed their online modes and it doesn’t seem to require this smartphone app.

Monthly game download

Nintendo will assign one NES or SNES game per month and make it available to download for free. At the end of the month they’ll select another game and unless you buy that game you’ll lose access to it. This is a stark difference to the PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold service free games that are offered every month which people can keep in perpetuity until they un-sub.

Exclusive deals

Special offers and discounts for people who subscribe to the Nintendo online service. Whatever that actually means, we’ll have wait and see.

Nintendo eShop

At this point we know Nintendo will have an eShop on the Nintendo Switch and you’ll be able to buy games, but what that looks like beyond that. No idea.

Will I be able to transfer purchases (Virtual Console) from the Wii U? 

Nintendo has unfortunately not communicated any of its digital storefront plans at all for the Nintendo Switch. This sadly also includes no news on whether purchases of any kind will transfer over to the Nintendo Switch. While we can’t expect every game to make the trek over to the Switch, Virtual Console games probably should.

The only hint we have is from an interview with Nintendo of America’s president Reggie Fils-Aime who spoke to Wired about the possibility of purchases transferring over.

Wired: I hear from a lot of people like me who’ve spent a thousand dollars on classic games on Wii and Wii U…

Fils-Aime: That’s a lot of money.

Wired: It is a lot of money! Is there going to be a discount for us if we buy the games again on Switch?

Fils-Aime: What I would say first is, we recognize that some of our most passionate fans have spent quite a bit, whether it’s with Virtual Console on Wii or Wii U, and we recognize that consumers are rightly concerned about moving to Nintendo Switch without backward compatibility. My comment is: Stay tuned, we understand the concern, more information to come.

There’s 40-some odd days between now and launch. There are more details to come. And at that point we’ll be able to define all of those various details of that online experience.

We’ll update this guide when we hear more.

Everything Else

Parental Controls

This is actually something pretty awesome from Nintendo and a great leap in parental controls. Nintendo will launch a separate Parental Controls app for smartphones. It won’t just allow you to lock what games your kids can and can’t play but will go one step further. You’ll be able to set time limits per day, get warnings when little Timmy goes over those limits and eventually block him should he not listen you.

It goes further as well keeping a log of what games they play and for how long, hopefully that functionality will be available to everyone else so we can keep an activity log like in the Nintendo 3DS.

Does the Nintendo Switch have Miiverse and StreetPass? 

The Switch unfortunately has neither Miiverse or StreetPass.

“I can answer that we’re not going to be using Miiverse for Nintendo Switch,” – Nintendo of America’s assistant manager of public relations David Young.

We’re not sure why they’re removing Miiverse, the Switch does allow you to instead share to other social networks with the Capture button however. As for StreetPass, Nintendo’s saying it’s because it’s a home console first. Plus we’re sure the battery would last about 20 minutes with the wireless going all the time.

Are there any applications on the Switch like Netflix or a web browser? 

At launch the Switch will do nothing but play games, that means no web browser and no applications for streaming video. Hopefully this will change, even the 3DS has Netflix.

Guide last updated: 30/1/2017 

 

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.
7 Comments
  • bernietoast
    January 27, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Awesome FAQ, covers everything, nice work.

  • Burak H
    January 27, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    A fantastic article, but my God that launch line-up…

    I really, really hope that there are more launch games that have yet to be announced because I’m really tempted to just hold out until the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The Switch has the potential to be a huge hit right out the gate but NOT with those games.

    • Phantom Ganon
      January 27, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      It has Zelda and not just a Zelda but what looks like THE Zelda, that will be enough to move systems at launch.

  • Harris
    January 28, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Mission answers to your complete FAQ: Will game cards feature multi language?

  • metalisticpain
    January 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    If I can have my entire Wii/WiiU VC for free or even each for like $2 bucks, I’d prob migrate to a switch at launch.

    Not of this crappy dribble out titles shit though. I’ve waited for ogre battle MOTBQ on Wii U so I could play on the tablet for years. Not happening again.

  • Thomas
    January 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I know the Switch supports Micro SDXC cards, but does it support the use of Micro SDHC aswell, I have a 256gb SDHC laying about and would like to use it for ther Switch if its possible

  • Oliver Winfree
    February 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I gotta agree, this is a pathetic launch window line up, unless they announce some killer titles, this will be another wii u scenario

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