Nintendo pulls back curtain on the Nintendo NX to reveal the Switch

After months of rumors and speculation, Nintendo is finally revealing their newest video game system: the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo of America tweeted Wednesday night that the first preview trailer of the new video game system -- which before now had been code-named the Nintendo NX -- would be revealed at 10 a.m. Thursday.

 

Before now, what exactly the NX will be had been subject to much debate, with the latest reports indicating it would work as a home device with a mobile component users can take on the go.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has started shipping software kits to developers to create games for the new platform. The console will reportedly feature high-end processing chips, potentially putting it on par with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.

On Thursday morning, Nintendo revealed the new system and its new name: the Nintendo Switch.  Their website almost immediately crashed upon the reveal, but a tweet shows off a preview video of its at-home or on-the-go compatibility:

Nintendo says the Switch "enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever, and with whomever they choose."

The video shows that at home, the Switch is a tablet-like device that rests in a Nintendo Switch Dock that connects the system to the TV and lets you play it like a traditional video game console. But by lifting the Switch from the gaming dock, it will reportedly transition instantly to portable mode with a high-resolution display. 

The rumors of detachable controllers were also confirmed. When owners want to play on the go, they remove Switch from the dock, attaching two "Joy-Con" controller on the sides.

The Joy-Con controllers resemble small remotes, featuring a thumbstick and a variety of buttons. The controllers can detach and used in games by one player or serve as individual controllers for multiple players. They can also be slipped into an accessory that turns it into a more traditional controller.

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Nintendo is pressing forward with a new leader at the helm, Tatsumi Kimishima. Nintendo named him president and CEO last month following the death of longtime chief executive Satoru Iwata this summer.

Entering three years on the market, Nintendo's current home console -- the Wii U -- has struggled to attract video game players. As of June, Wii U sales topped 10 million. Meanwhile, Nintendo's handheld DS platform continues to perform well. Sales of its 3DS topped 53 million, while its predecessor, the DS, has sold more than 154 million units to date.

Nintendo plans to launch the Switch in March of 2017. No pricing details have been revealed at this time.

Footage of the Switch in action shows two people playing Mario Kart, each holding one of the Joy-Con controllers sideways. Another clip shows a person playing an action game holding both controllers vertically like remotes while the Switch is propped up by a kickstand.

Nintendo says several third-party publishers will partner with the company on Switch games including Activision, Electronic Arts, Capcom and Ubisoft. During a video showcasing the console, footage of Bethesda Softworks' role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Take-Two Interactive's NBA 2K were spotted.

"With the Nintendo Switch’s unique capacities and design, Nintendo could again redefine the way we play games," said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in a separate statement. "The Nintendo Switch is accessible at its core and also seizes on the growing trends of sharing more experiences and playing anywhere at any time."

The Switch will run a custom version of Nvidia's Tegra processor, the chip maker confirmed in a separate blog post. Versions of the Tegra processor are used in device's such as Nvidia's own portable gaming platform, Nvidia Shield.

With the Switch, Nintendo seeks to rebound from sagging sales of its current home device, the Wii U. Since launching in 2012 -- a year before Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One -- Nintendo has sold more than 13 million Wii U consoles. By comparison, sales of the PS4 have reached 40 million.

The Wii U features a controller with a tablet-size touchscreen, somewhat similar to the design of the undocked Switch. However, it failed to catch on with consumers, while third-party publishers bailed in favor of producing games for PS4 and Xbox One.

Meanwhile, Nintendo also produces the 3DS handheld console, which has sold nearly 60 million units to date.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter says the support from third party publishers looks "impressive," adding the Switch could perform well depending on how it stacks up against the PS4 and Xbox One.

"If the specs are comparable, and the price point is comparable, and the software is comparable … I think things are going to be great," says Pachter.


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