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Nintendo unveils the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid console/handheld system


 

Nintendo has officially revealed its next console.

Goodbye NX, hello Switch.

On Thursday, Nintendo (NTDOY) lifted the curtain on its next gaming system, and as promised by countless reports, it looks to combine the company’s in-home and portable console businesses into one machine.

Due out in March 2017, the newly minted Nintendo Switch mashes together a tablet, handheld and home console into a single device. Here’s the full reveal trailer:

The small system functions in two distinct ways. At home, it rests in a dock that connects to your TV like a traditional home console. Players can also lift the device out of the dock, revealing a tablet with a built-in screen that’s reminiscent of the Wii U’s Gamepad controller. They can then take that tablet out and about and continue playing their game.

“Nintendo Switch allows gamers the freedom to play however they like,” Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said in a press release. “It gives game developers new abilities to bring their creative visions to life by opening up the concept of gaming without boundaries.”

A look at Nintendo’s new Switch console.

While players will be able to use a conventional gamepad at home, on the road, they can detach two joysticks — Nintendo calls them “Joy-Con” controllers — built into either side of the tablet. Continuing Nintendo’s handheld tradition, the Switch will use cartridges.

Missing from the trailer was any information about the Switch’s internal specs, although hardware manufacturer NVIDA confirmed in a separate blog post that it will be powered by a custom version of the company’s Tegra processor.

The debut trailer features a number of games including Switch takes on homegrown franchises like Super Mario and Splatoon, as well as big third-party console games like NBA 2K and Skyrim. That’s likely meant as a pre-emptive strike against the long-held criticism that Nintendo systems lack third-party support. To that end, the company also released a lengthy list of third-parties already on board, including heavyweights like EA, Activision, Bethesda and Take 2 Interactive.

Some of the major third-party developers already onboard with Nintendo’s Switch.

Some big questions remain. How long does that battery last? What’s the online situation? And are those two tiny controllers made for human- or Donald-sized hands?  We’ll undoubtedly learn more in the coming months. In the meantime, watch that trailer again!

More from Ben:

Ben Silverman is on Twitter at ben_silverman.


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