Nintendo Switch release date, news and features

Nintendo has finally unveiled its mystery console

The Nintendo Switch could be one of the most revolutionary consoles ever released. 

At its core it's a hybrid between a traditional console and a handheld, meaning that you can use it while out and about like you would a Nintendo 3DS or a PS Vita and then 'dock' it while in your home to play games on the big screen.

This means you'll easily be able to seamlessly continue your gaming when you leave the house, and should also make it much easier to play in person with friends. 

Everything we officially know about the console so far has come from its announcement trailer which you can watch below. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Nintendo's newest console
  • When is it out? March 2017
  • What will it cost? Nintendo hasn't made an announcement yet regarding price

Nintendo Switch release date

The Switch's debut trailer revealed that the console will launch in March 2017, which agrees with what Nintendo had previously announced in its earnings call earlier this year.

Nintendo Switch Price

Nintendo has yet to officially announce the price of its new console, but we've collected together all of the most promising price rumors around. 

A recent product listing on Tesco's online store priced the product at £349.99 (around $450 / AU$595), but this was quickly removed, indicating that the price was just a placeholder, rather than being official.

We're also inclined to dismiss the listing, which was unearthed by Nintendo Life, because it gave a placeholder release date of 31/12/16, which is a far cry from the March 2017 release date that we've been given so far.

The business world meanwhile thinks that the console could retail for between $300 and $350.

In the past, high initial price tags were the biggest roadblock for Nintendo's most recent portable and home consoles, and we're hoping that the Switch isn't prohibitively expensive. 

Nintendo's previous generation of consoles, the DS and Wii, gained traction by launching at $150 and $250 (£99.99 and £179.99) respectively, so whether it's focused on dominating your living room or your public transportation commute, Nintendo knows where the sweet spot lays for pricing its consoles.

Nintendo Switch games

As well as giving us our first look at the console, the new trailer also gave us a great look at a number of the console's games. 

We saw a version of what appeared to be Skyrim, a basketball game, the new Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, and an all new Mario game in the style of classic Mario 64. 

Interestingly a couple of these games, including Mario Kart, appear to be ports of Wii U games. 

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Another point is how prominently the trailer showed off Skyrim, which is the kind of adult game that Nintendo has tended not to make a priority on its consoles. 

We also saw games being played competitively in a multiplayer setting, which may indicate Nintendo's intention to make eSports a focus of the console. 

In addition to the trailer, Nintendo has also sent out a list of all the developers and publishers who are planning to support the Switch. 

There are a lot of companies on the list that we're not surprised to see such as Activision, EA and Ubisoft, but it's more surprising to see a company like FromSoftware, developers of the Dark Souls series, on the list, due to its focus on more adult games. 

Nintendo Switch features

Nintendo has always been a company willing to do its own thing. While Sony and Microsoft have fought over having the more powerful machines, Nintendo has focussed its attention on interesting controllers and 3D displays. 

The Switch looks like a very unique console indeed. 

In recent years Nintendo has developed a bit of a problem with its attention being split across its consoles and its handhelds. The Nintendo Switch console will be a hybrid between the two, and might just solve this problem.

In other words what the console will be able to do is allow you to take it on the go, and then 'dock' it when you're back home in order to seamlessly transition to using it like a traditional console.

Nintendo should have just one piece of hardware to focus its attention on, and this should help it maintain a better level of focus.

When played as a handheld, you attach two controller portions to the side of the screen, which feature a 'split' d-pad as previously rumored. 

These can then be detached when your dock the console, at which point you can either play the console with a more traditional controller, which features a more traditional Nintendo d-pad, or reassemble the detached controller handles into a gamepad. 

You can also detach the controller handles to use with the console while it's in tablet mode. 

Nintendo has confirmed that you won't be able to use the tablet to create a dual-screen gaming experience similar to the Gamepad with the Wii U. Instead, the Switch will be an completely single-screen experience "on whatever screen you might choose."

From the looks of this controller it might be equipped with detachable  handles, but this wasn't made explicit in the trailer. 

The trailer also confirmed the fact that the console will feature games sold on a cartridge rather than a disc.

Unfortunately this means that the console won't be physically backwards compatible

The trailer didn't mention a major rumor that was doing the rounds about the console supporting VR after the company admitted it was "researching" VR technology, according to someone who was present.

Twitter's NStyles attended the meeting in Kyoto and claims Nintendo's Shigeru Minamoto said Nintendo was researching VR but has concerns about users playing for long periods of time.

Rumors about the console being powered by an Nvidia chip appear to be correct. The graphics card company has revealed in a blog post that the console is powered by a custom Tegra chip. 

Nintendo Switch specs

Thanks to a Nvidia blog post we know the console is powered by a custom Tegra chip, which was also found in the Nvidia Shield, but unfortunately neither Nvidia nor Nintendo have provided any further details on how powerful the chip is. 

The blog post does mention that the chip has been optimised for "mobile use cases" which we hope means that it's not too battery hungry, but there are rumors circulating that the console only has a battery life of three hours when used as a handheld

We also don't have any information on the resolution of the console's screen itself. The Nvidia Shield was equipped with a 720p screen, but we're hoping the Switch bumps this up to 1080p.

Although 4K screens are increasingly popular, Nintendo has never been a company to lead the way in terms of pushing high resolutions. After all, the company released the standard-definition Wii console to compete with the HD PS3 and Xbox 360. 


Jon Porter is Techradar's UK Home Technology Writer covering everything from TVs to Hi-Fi, gaming and home automation. He's also super into keyboards, and I think we can all agree that the obsession has gone a little too far at this point.