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Will the Nintendo Switch, due in March, be the console we’ve been waiting for?

A combination of home console and portable device you can play on the go, the Switch has prompted lots of questions: How much will it cost? What games will it have at launch? How powerful will it be compared to current Xbox and PlayStation rigs?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 1:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 1:17pm

After years of waiting, Nintendo’s new video game console is almost here. The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console – you can play it at home on your living room television or you can take it with you on the go.

The Switch is scheduled to be launched this March and a gaggle of games starring Nintendo’s most prominent creations is in the works. Nintendo isn’t offering many explicit details just yet, but it has an event scheduled for January 12 where gamers can expect to learn more about the console.

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In the meantime, reporters have been digging up as much info as they can. Here’s a roundup of the most credible rumours about Switch, from the price of the console to the games you can expect to find when it arrives in March.

It should be less expensive at launch than Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii U.

The Wii U launched in 2012 with two models: a US$300 base edition and a US$350 deluxe edition that came with more storage. That was way too much for a console that was seriously underpowered compared with the competition from Microsoft and Sony.

It sounds like the Nintendo Switch won’t repeat that mistake. Some sources say Switch is launching with a US$250 base model and a US$300 deluxe bundle that comes with more storage space and an included game. That would put the Switch’s price in line with the prices of base models of Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

It sounds like the Switch isn’t as powerful as the ageing competition.

A version of Bethesda Game Studios’ The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been seen running on the Switch. It’s a great game, but it originally came out in 2011.

It sounds like Nintendo’s aiming for affordability over horsepower. Without getting too technical, sources say the hardware inside the Switch is less powerful than the Xbox One, to say nothing of the PS4.

That’s good and bad. It means Nintendo can keep the console affordable for consumers, but it constrains what developers are capable of doing with the system. It also means you’re unlikely to see multi-platform games on the Switch – stuff like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, for instance.

The home version of the Switch is reportedly more capable than the mobile version.

Reports say the Switch will be more capable when plugged in at home than in mobile form.

There’s a simple reason for that: power. Mobile gaming platforms – from the original Game Boy to the Nintendo 3DS and the iPhone – are limited by their reliance on batteries.

That constraint is removed, though, when you’re plugged in to a power supply. So when you dock the Switch at home, it can turn on horsepower that it otherwise doesn’t use. It’s up to game developers to choose if and how to use that extra horsepower, of course.

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It will reportedly allow you to use SD cards up to 128 GB in size.

The Switch will reportedly have a slot for SD cards all the way up to 128 GB. This is a pretty big deal as storage on the Xbox One and PS4 is, to put it lightly, a tremendous hassle as the base models offer a measly 500 GB of storage which fills up quickly if you play a decent number of games. Both consoles allow for users to expand the storage capacity, but neither has a solution as simple as what’s rumoured for the Nintendo Switch. SD cards are inexpensive and easy to use.

About that bundled game …

A report about the games available at the Switch’s launch says the more expensive version of the console will come bundled with a new version of Splatoon, the colour-based classic shooter that debuted on Wii U. Notably, the reveal video for Nintendo Switch featured footage of people playing Splatoon on the console, with new in-game outfits and hairstyles. If this report is true, that new version of the game will launch with the Switch and be part of the deluxe bundle.

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A new Mario game, in the same vein as Super Mario 64, is said to launch with the Switch.

A still unnamed 3D Super Mario game is briefly seen in the Switch reveal video. Most importantly, it will apparently launch alongside Switch in March. The game is said to follow in the footsteps of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, with a central hub area to explore that contains several levels to choose from.

Skyrim may also be a launch game.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim just got an upgraded re-release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and that same version may also launch alongside Nintendo Switch. This comes as no surprise, as the game is prominently featured in the Switch reveal video.

It’s unclear whether the new Legend of Zelda game will be ready for launch, but the most recent rumour says it will.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been something of a poster child for Nintendo Switch in the console’s marketing. It’s gorgeous, it features an iconic Nintendo character, and it’s a highly anticipated game. One report suggests the game will be available for the Switch at launch but other sources say the game will miss the launch date. This would be a huge blow were it not for the major new Super Mario game coming out alongside the console.

A couple of other major Wii U games are coming to the Switch.

The Wii U was a major flop, but the console has a fantastic library of games, and most were made by Nintendo itself. Games like Splatoon, Super Mario Maker and Mario Kart 8 are all fantastic, but few people played them because of the Wii U’s poor sales. It sounds like Nintendo’s going to give some of those fantastic games a second chance at life on the Switch.

One of EA’s “bigger games” will come out on Switch.

Electronic Arts – one of the biggest video game publishers in the world – is going to release one of its “bigger games” on the Switch, according to a company executive. What does that mean? We don’t know just yet, but EA is responsible for all sorts of massive games, from Madden to Battlefield.

Most notably, EA is the creator and publisher of the Fifa series. And Fifa is the biggest sports game on the planet. You could cross your fingers and hope it’s Mass Effect: Andromeda. The next entry in the excellent series of sci-fi role-playing games launches in the same month as Switch.