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Nintendo Switch Will Launch On March 3rd For $299, Won't Feature Region-Locking Software (cnet.com) 167

Nintendo has released more details about its upcoming Nintendo Switch gaming console. We have learned that the console will be launching on March 3rd worldwide, and in North America the console will be available for $299.99. What's more is that it won't feature region-locking for software, meaning you can play games from any region no matter where you buy your console. CNET reports: There will also be a Nintendo Switch online service that will be a paid service. It will launch as a trial with pricing to be announced later in 2017. For fans of imports of Japanese exclusives, it was announced the new system will have no region locking -- a big break from tradition for Nintendo. The Switch itself is said to have battery life from 2.5 to 6 hours and can be charged over USB-C. Nintendo says it will have portable battery accessories also available to charge on the go. The Joy-con is the name for new controller, usable in a combined controller style or separated into two halves to let two players play together. It will also be available in a range of colors for people who want to mix things up. The Joy-con has a whole bunch of clever tricks -- motion control, IR sensor, haptic feedback -- and a series of 'versus' game ideas called "1, 2, Switch" that let you play games (like a quick draw shooting game) without needing to look at the screen, just face each other down with the Joy-con controllers. Other games announced that need you to keep the full Joy-con all to yourself include 'Arms', a robotic boxing battle game, and Splatoon 2. Plus the new Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, which aims to deliver a 'sandbox' experience across many realms outside the Mushroom kingdom, including the real world. And this time his cap has come to life. For the more serious RPG fans, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was also announced for the Nintendo Switch. Followed by a very small tease for Fire Emblem Warriors. All up, Nintendo says there are over 80 games in development for the Nintendo Switch. If you live in New York, "a limited quantity of pre-orders for the #NintendoSwitch will begin on 1/13 at 9AM while supplies last," Nintendo NY tweeted.
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Nintendo Switch Will Launch On March 3rd For $299, Won't Feature Region-Locking Software

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    You're dead to me, Nintendo.

    • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @03:25AM (#53659345)

      You're dead to me, Nintendo.

      I said the same thing when they introduced region locking with the Nintendo 3DS. I think I only bought one or two games from overseas for the DS, but I just don't want to have any worry when buying a game from a website which region it is for. And dammit, it's the principle.

      I don't play multiplayer games, so it will be interesting to see how tempting the Switch is to see if I will stand on principle there too.

      • As someone who has no interest in non-local multiplayer, this is a non-issue

        • Yes, but will the games have local multiplayer?

          • Most of the big "classic" Nintendo lineup does (Mario, Mario Kart, Mario Party (split the players up again like the old days Nintendo instead of all in the same vehicle!)...

    • Sounds like it includes cellular connectivity and a free VC game every month (possibly always an online-capable title but it's not clear). If it's a flat price regardless of how much bandwidth you use and it's a fair price I might go for it.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Friday January 13, 2017 @03:10AM (#53659303) Homepage Journal

    Pay to play online when your prior consoles were FREE (and even then, MP was risky at best) and then in your lineup are several games that were notoriously bad MP-wise/connection-wise on the prior generations? (DBZ as an example.)

    Nope! Lost sale.

    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      Or... don't play online? It's a console, you have no control over it. I trust Nintendo more than I trust Microsoft or Sony, but that doesn't mean that I trust Nintendo - it should probably be assumed that if you take this thing online then it's going to be spying on you.

      You can keep playing your online games on your PC (apparently that's what you were planning on doing anyway, since Sony and MS also charge to play online), and use the Switch for single player games.
    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      It really depends what the service includes. The Microsoft/Sony offerings are very reasonable for what you get given the included free monthly games, so I think it's a bit silly to judge before knowing how much it'll cost and what it includes.

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 13, 2017 @04:49AM (#53659493) Journal
      It just amazes me console players will put up with this shit. Hell I can fire up MP on games I bought a decade ago on my PC and play all I want and it don't cost a cent, why in the world would I want to pay money to some third party which we've seen will happily pull the plug the second they can't nickel and dime enough shekels to make them happy?
      • Of course no PC multiplayer games have ever closed down /s

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Yes and you can also fire up a PC game and discover all the servers have been shut down or there is nobody on them to play against. In some cases the multiplayer service facilitator such as Gamespy has been shut down so you're totally screwed.

        I do find the thought of having to pay to play multiplayer to be very objectionable however. The only reason I would think it worthwhile is if the platform holder (i.e. Microsoft / Sony) laid down the law to the likes of EA / Activision etc. on how / when / if ever t

        • Yes and you can also fire up a PC game and discover all the servers have been shut down or there is nobody on them to play against.

          Yes, but only console games and MMOs use dedicated servers you can't get. In many cases, a free/open server has been reverse engineered. But with console games, it is normal for all multiplayer matching to be done through the service, and it's normal to have to pay for that functionality on only one major console. It's not normal to have to pay Sony for multiplayer matching, that functionality is available for free. You have to pay for the fancier benefits like game demos IIRC, but that's not really relevan

          • You have to pay for the fancier benefits like game demos IIRC, but that's not really relevant to this discussion. (Although, being asked to pay for game demos? Horseshit.)

            Playstation users don't pay for demos, why do you think they do? Now if you want "Featured content" demos to be automatically downloaded to your machine without you doing anything....now that's a PS+ benefit.

            What's actually interesting about that is that Sony themselves have a fairly good history of keeping servers up long past the point at which a game is profitable.

            Except for "Home", the thing was profitable, but they dropped that thing like a rock. Funny thing is, now we have these "Home-ish/Unity-ish" things with microtransactions on PS4 like Big City Stories (aka Home Tycoon), and that Casino one (basically Home Casino), but they're separate from each other.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          In these days of virtual machines, I don't necessarily see that a hosting server ever needs to be shutdown - they should be able to scale up or down with demand.

          How well does the ability to fix security vulnerabilities and perform other server maintenance tasks "scale up or down with demand"?

        • Sorry but to steal a line from Mel Brooks "bullshit bullshit aaaannnnndddd bullshit!"

          Lets go down the list, shall we? 1.- No players...if you have friends that like the game? You got players. And if a game is even slightly popular, with so many PC gamers in the world? There is gonna be players. If you'd like an example Gotham City Impostors has been abandoned by WB since 2012 and left to rot...you can still jump into a match as there is around 10k people worldwide still playing. 2.- Gamespy...nope, sorry. I

      • Hah. I still play Unreal and Jedi Academy online from time to time.

      • Hell I can fire up MP on games I bought a decade ago on my PC and play all I want and it don't cost a cent

        Sure you can do that, but how many people are actually doing that or "want" to do that. Two words...niche community.

        The reason Sony switched to the method it uses now is because:

        1. the DEVELOPERS complained about having to maintain servers and account systems and whatnot for each individual game.

        2. The PLAYERS complained about not having a unified service.

        why in the world would I want to pay money to some third party which we've seen will happily pull the plug the second they can't nickel and dime enough shekels to make them happy?

        Sony and the other companies aren't the third parties. They're the First parties. Third parties in this situation are things like Gamespy, or those dud

  • It needs a classic game boy emulator.
  • ...and cram it up up your wazoo.
  • Additional Info (Score:5, Informative)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @04:06AM (#53659413)

    It has a 1280x720 6.2" capacitive touchscreen, and the battery will last ~3 hours when running typical games. Zelda is coming out on launch, 3/3, and same day on Wii U. It has 32GB internal storage, and the two SKUs differ only by joy-con color scheme. The storage is expandable by microSDXC cards, presumably eshop games can be directly installed onto them like the 3ds (unlike the Wii U.)
    More detailed hardware specs (RAM?) have yet to be revealed, though. I'm particularly curious if it's more graphically powerful than the Wii U.

    • Re:Additional Info (Score:5, Informative)

      by guises ( 2423402 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @04:52AM (#53659501)
      Games come on cartridges, similar to the DS but a little thicker. - This was important to me and I had to go searching to confirm this, so I thought I'd mention it.
  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @04:23AM (#53659443)

    The video says "Holiday 2017" for Mario Odyssey, and if history is any indication, there will be delays. Launch lineup is very likely going to be primarily cross-platform ports and Zelda Breath of the Wild.

    Still, that will be enough to sell a lot of units, and provide a lot of great entertainment, just don't expect an avalanche of first-party top content out the gate this time. It'll appear in pretty wide intervals, but when they're putting their focus on something, the quality level from Nintendo tends to beat just about anyone outside of Blizzard and a few other top-end developers.

    I skipped the WiiU since none of the first-party games appealed to me - no Mario Galaxy/Metroid Prime/Zelda games - Pikmin was cool, but not enough, and I despise time limits on open world games. The switch, however, I'm seriously considering picking up, if only for a nice open world Zelda game and eventually the Xenoblade/Mario games. Here's hoping they bring back the Metroid Prime team, and make Metroid Other M retroactively (pun intented) non-canon.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Yeah, they kinda screwed the pooch on the launch date. Who releases a console just after Christmas, when everyone just spent their money on a shiny new XBox One S or Playstation 4 Slim?

      • Who releases a console just after Christmas, when everyone just spent their money on a shiny new XBox One S or Playstation 4 Slim?

        Probably a company that learned from the supply crunches and scalping that plagued the Wii in 2006 and NES Classic Edition in 2016. The idea as I see it is that by fourth quarter 2017, there will be enough Nintendo Switch consoles in the channel that console scalpers don't interfere with selling games to users.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2017 @04:40AM (#53659471)
    The 3DS succeeded because it was a relatively affordable, robust device with a small footprint and a clamshell design to prevent damage. I wonder how many parents are going to buy a large, $299 device for their kids when it looks like one drop could damage or destroy the thing. I wonder how many will get dropped as kids fiddle trying to snap on the controllers. Even the controllers look like they suffer damage on their runners / clips which break them. Oh and there's no backwards compatibility either. And the battery life is pretty poor.

    So that's one audience this thing doesn't seem pitched for.

    But perhaps people with consoles will like it? Except that even when docked, performance is likely to be terrible compared to rival consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Aside from that the device will be gimped by the same storage space issues that crippled the Wii U. So patches, DLC and all the usual stuff which people expect from a console won't happen.

    So who the hell is supposed to be the target audience for this thing? Perhaps a Switch Mini will turn up in a year or so and make more sense of the platform. Maybe even a console-only variant. But as it stands it looks like a stupidly expensive not-very-portable, not-very-performant-console device.

    • The 3DS was like $200. In the past decade, the median income in current dollars has increased (~2% inflation per year, but dollar income goes faster); so more like $225 vs $300. Neither is really much money.

      Its clamshell design is a bane; the Gameboy Advance was the best Gameboy, except the SP had a better D-pad. Damaged screens have never been a problem in the Gameboy line; Nintendo wanted a larger system that still fit in your pocket, and went with the DS design.

      Battery life doesn't seem like an i

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )

        Its clamshell design is a bane; the Gameboy Advance was the best Gameboy, except the SP had a better D-pad.

        and a rechargeable battery
        and a light

        • True. I meant by form factor; and the Wiimotes I still feed with EBL or Eneloop batteries, which will last like 180 years in that use continuously (most of them are going to last me 3,000 years--by then the batteries will have decayed into dust, so the fact they can hold 80% of their charge and can carry 70% of that for 1 year at that point is moot). Rechargeable battery is just a matter of form factor.

          We could have put a light into the GBA.

    • They buy them idevices... not that far of a stretch.

  • Tough sell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @06:20AM (#53659681) Journal

    It's hard to see this being a major success, outside of the (aging, shrinking) Nintendo hardcore. The consensus on gaming sites (and their forums) seems to reinforce this. So do the markets; Nintendo's stocks have fallen around 5.75% since the reveal.

    The stock price shift will almost certainly have been driven by the price. It's higher than expected by at least $50 (and realistically closer to $100). Sony and MS got away with even higher prices when they were launching the PS4 and XB1, for sure. However, those consoles were significantly more powerful than their predecessors. They also launched at the same time as each other. So in essence, there were two expensive consoles without many games in direct competition with each other, which actually negated those disadvantages a bit. Nintendo are launching a less powerful console against two cheaper and well-entrenched mid-cycle consoles with extensive games libraries. That's going to be tough.

    The launch games line-up is also poor. Zelda looks pretty good, but there is a cheaper Wii-U version also available that doesn't look appreciably worse. The rest of the launch window looks pretty pants. The XB1 and the PS4 had the same problem, of course, but again, their near-simultaneous launch actually offset that as a problem.

    Beyond the launch-window, the games lineup is nothing special. The same first party range that didn't do much to help the Wii-U. A couple of more interesting (but still niche) second party titles like Xenoblade 2. Third party support from a few companies with a long-standing relationship with the Nintendo DS line (like Atlus), whose games aren't yet even confirmed for release outside of Japan. And a tentative dip of a toe in the water from EA. The poor specs, eccentric hardware and unusual control configurations are going to put a lot of other third party developers off.

    I think the console itself is also going to be very hard to market. It's not quite clear what the USP here is. The thing looks large and clunky by handheld standards; more awkward than a tablet or even a PS Vita. As a home console, it's badly underpowered compared to the competition. Nobody has quite explained yet why the hybrid configuration is such a good thing, and the attempts to date to do so have been toe-curling.

    On the plus side, it's region-free. That's actually pretty huge news and is a sign that even the most authoritarian of the platform owners is now being forced to open up a little. I might actually buy one just to reward that, because the fear is that if the Switch fails horribly (as I fear it might), then Nintendo will swing back to region locking in future. But it is really hard right now to see a pathway to this thing being a success.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      It's hard to see this being a major success, outside of the (aging, shrinking) Nintendo hardcore. The consensus on gaming sites (and their forums) seems to reinforce this. So do the markets; Nintendo's stocks have fallen around 5.75% since the reveal.

      Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo are making money... and they'll make money on this even though its a lack lustre offering.

      The Wii U still outsold the XBox One, more importantly it made a profit which Sony hasn't been able to do despite selling more consoles.

      So I'll count on Nintendo being around longer than Sony or Microsoft's game divisions as they have to be supported by other divisions. As soon as they get in trouble, games will be axed.

      • Re:Tough sell (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @09:48AM (#53660303) Journal
        Almost every word of your post is factually incorrect.

        The Wii-U did not out-sell the XB1. Not even close. The most recent "units shipped" numbers for the Wii-U are at 13.36 million, as of September 2016. The most recent equivalent number on the XB1 is 19 million, from January 2016 (so the gap has likely widened significantly since then, boosted in particular by the XB1-S release over the summer). Both numbers are "shipped" rather than "sold".

        And don't mistake the fact that Nintendo sell hardware at a profit (which they don't always these days anyway and haven't consistently since the first 3DS price-cut) with them being profitable. Nintendo hasn't been consistently profitable since FY2010-11, which was the last year in which it reaped Wii-led mega-profits. Since then, it has flipped between loss and (small) profits, but with the main deciding factor being currency fluctuations. When Nintendo has reported an operating profit over this period, it has generally been on the basis of the 3DS. The Wii-U may not even have recouped its development costs, particularly after its abandonment by third parties led to licensing fees all but drying up and a number of first party titles such as Starfox Zero crashed and burned.

        Moreover, the gaming section of Sony has been very profitable indeed since the launch of the PS4 (and, indeed, since the company got its house in gear in the latter part of the PS3 cycle). In fact, while Sony was a bit of a basket case until a couple of years ago, the company has bounced back strongly in recent years, almost entirely on the basis of its gaming division [bloomberg.com]. Remember, whether a console is sold at a profit or a loss is not actually all that relevant - licensing fees are where the real money is. How MS's Xbox division is doing is a bit harder to judge, but they seem to have turned things around a bit over the last 18 months and are likely at least no worse than Nintendo now. As of late last year, Nintendo was posting some pretty awful financial losses [cnbc.com].

        It would be good if we could start to ditch some of the 2007-era narrative now. Nintendo's position today is a lot weaker than it was then, but we still hear the same old clichés trotted out.
    • ...reveals are the end of hype, end of sky high expectations, end of speculation in the news cycle. Reveals always precipitate a stock drop.

  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    The difference is, PC multiplayer games often have servers that you can get running later on.

    It's only the MMO's that tend to go offline.

    I can still setup a SvenCoop server using the HL engine, or play many games where the service has gone offline. Direct TCP/IP connectivity for an awful lot of them.

    It's not that it doesn't happen. But with consoles, it happens EVERY generation for almost all the games. Games are abandoned when sequels or new platforms come out and there's nothing you can do.

    Hell, I can

    • Another good one is Discovery Freelancer [discoverygc.com], a mod of Freelancer [wikipedia.org] that's still running long after Microsoft's servers shut down. Freelancer itself is pretty mod-able, and we've run private servers of the vanilla game at LAN parties pretty easily. (Back when people used to do LAN parties.)

    • I can still setup a SvenCoop server

      Hell, I can still load up AOE2

      Sure, you can do that...but how many people actually "want" to play those games in 2017. Sure you can boot them up for nostalgia sake and some of the old games have small niche communities still.

      But that's the point "niche community". In console-world we get new stuff all the time, we don't have to keep playing/modding brown-shooter 2004 because we're second-worlders with no money. Or we don't have to wait because Brown-shooter-maker's CEO is a lazy bum who just wants to sit around playing games, distrib

  • I am completely unsold on a phone chip for a home console. Yes it's portable, but it's also a home device.

    • Yeah, you need something marketed as a home chip not marketed as a mobile chip!

      • Because if you try to use a mobile chipset for a home console, you get OUYA. But did it fizzle because of its mobile chipset, or did it fizzle because of no first party games?

        • I've told you why it fizzled. It fizzled because no one wants to play IAP Android crap on a TV except a few guys like you obsessed with claiming how Nintendo/Sony's/MS's policies are hostile to garage developers

          They're not.

          https://store.playstation.com/... [playstation.com]

          You'd just rather complain and whine about how Evil Nintendo or Sony is preventing you from your dream...when it is something else more personal to you that is doing that totally unrelated to Sony or Nintendo.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            It fizzled because no one wants to play IAP Android crap on a TV

            I could have mentioned Apple TV instead. It's also a set-top gaming device built on an SoC "marketed as a mobile chip". Is IAP iOS/tvOS crap any better?

            policies are hostile to garage developers

            That's been solved for months: Itch to Steam to consoles.

      • Ya, that's didn't work out every well for the PS4 or XBOne. Err, wait.

      • No, I want something that has modern gaming performance, and a phone chip, with phone chip graphics isn't that, full stop.

  • by Revarg ( 4035425 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @10:48AM (#53660615)
    After dealing with the Wii and 3DS and the Nintendo account system I don't intend to buy a new Nintendo system till they get that figured out. Having to spend 2 hours with customer support to transfer my account from my old 3DS to a New 3DS is not an experience I'm looking to repeat ever. They need to follow catch up with Steam, PSN, and XBL, and make that easier before I'd even consider them again.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Friday January 13, 2017 @02:01PM (#53661913) Homepage Journal

    You need a smartphone for voice chat?

    Really? I can think of two things wrong with this idea. A. people will already use voice chat apps on their phone, and not the one Nintendo (might) provide. B. This sounds like a violation of anti-tying provisions in the Magnusson-Moss warranty act.

    • You need a smartphone for voice chat?

      What kind of insanity is this? Even the PSP had voice chat built into the few games that used it.

      I'm thinking this is yet another way that Nintendo is stuck in the past, after all with all the Nintendo fanboys on slashdot going on about Smash brothers or Mario Kart played LOCALLy, how many people actually used voice chat on Nintendo consoles.

      Not only that but if you want to use the pro-controller and voice chat, you have to plug in a mic into the Wii-U's gamepad.

    • How many kids who use this will have a cell phone? Personally I don't have one (and my kids obviously don't either) so I have no idea how we are going to use this. I have a tablet but no carrier, no sim card (no sim slot!).

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        All three kids upstairs (my neighbor's kids) all under the age of 12 have a cell phone. Those handy-dandy family plans, yanno. At least they've gotten over PokemonGo after all the crashing it did.

        • That would be an extra $130/mo I don't have to pay now just to be able to chat or whatever with the Switch? Horrible value proposition! I really don't need my kid turning into a texting zombie either...

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