Price, Release Date and Games: Predictions For The Nintendo Switch Event

Price, Release Date and Games: Predictions For The Nintendo Switch Event

Nintendo Switch Predictions Glixel

Here's what we think you'll see from Nintendo's live event in Tokyo tonight

Here's what we think you'll see from Nintendo's live event in Tokyo tonight

This Thursday night at 11pm ET, Nintendo will finally reveal all the details we've been craving on its next big gaming console – the Switch. The company initially unveiled the new device in a three-minute video event on October 20, 2016 billing it as a hybrid system that blends the best parts of both home console and portable gaming device. Aside from some basic details – like the fact that it's cartridge-based like the 3DS, docks with a base-station to connect to your TV, has a 6.2" 720p display and a number of different controller options – the company was otherwise frustratingly economical with specifics. Friday's livestream will dish everything we could possibly want to know, including price, release date, the specifications of its innards and – most importantly – the first batch of games that will be released.

Here are our predictions, based on talking with industry insiders and sleuthing our way through the scant available snippets of information, for what Nintendo will actually announce at the end of the week.

Price tag will most likely be $249
There have been rumors all week based on retailer placeholder prices that vary from $250 to $400 for the Switch. We're inclined to believe the prediction made by Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei that the base price of the Switch will be Y25,000. This would translate to something around to $250 for the core system. That would be just for the base station, tablet device and a pair of Joy-Con controllers. There may very well be bundles announced too that include the pro controller, games or other accessories, and these will no doubt push prices up as high as $399. This would align with Nintendo primarily positioning the Switch as the ultimate portable gaming device that also does a great job of playing games on your TV. In that light, $250 would be the perfect price and sets up the Switch as a successor to the 3DS as well as the Wii U.

Release date stays in March, we're betting on the 24th
Until relatively recently Nintendo had been in the habit of releasing major hardware and software on Sundays, but they've since switched this up to Fridays. It has already confirmed that the global roll out will be in March, and there's no reason to suspect that this has changed. With that in mind...pick a Friday in March. There have been some purported leaks indicating that games will start arriving in stores on Sunday 19th, so we're going to take a wild guess and say that the global roll-out will be the 24th.

It will be more powerful than you think, but not as powerful as you might like
We already know that the guts of the Switch, provided by PC chip maker Nvidia, will deliver a gaming experience that's more advanced than the Xbox 360 and PS3, but nothing like either the current PS4 or Xbox One. Nvidia's own Shield TV device and Google's Pixel C tablet – both released over a year ago – use the same X1 chip that Nintendo are expected to confirm tonight as the beating heart of the Switch, in modified or enhanced form. So, underpowered when compared to the other under-the-TV consoles of today, but easily the most powerful handheld gaming device on the market. If Nintendo's strategy is to merge two product lines into one, with its most consistently successful – handhelds – leading the way, this makes perfect sense. Back in 2005, Nintendo of America president (then chief marketing officer) Reggie Fils-Aimé said "For 16 years, Nintendo has owned the portable game space. We created it, and we're not moving out." It seems likely that now, 12 years on, the Switch is the ultimate personification of that sentiment.

Zelda will lead the charge, but Switch versions of older games will back it up
Expect The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild to lead the pack tonight. There were rumors of a delay before the holidays but without it Nintendo would be risking another console launch without either of its biggest guns – a new 3D Mario game or Zelda. The lackluster 2012 launch of the Wii U suffered from precisely that problem and we can't imagine Nintendo would make the same mistake twice. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess, but if there's any truth to the recent German Gamestop leak we'll see Switch versions of Nintendo's Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, an all-new 3D Mario adventure, a version of the online-only Japanese MMO Dragon Quest X (first released in 2012 for the Wii), Ubisoft's Just Dance 2017, a Monster Hunter game and – yes – yet another game from 2012, Bethesda's fantasy RPG Skyrim. That leak – which showed what may or may not be a hastily-snapped photo of the stock and inventory screen from one of the retailer's stores – also showed entries for an NBA game, a Sonic game (Project Sonic 2017) and Lego City Undercover, which we have since learned is confirmed, and is the same game that came out for Wii U in 2013.

Thanks to comments Nintendo creative lead Shigeru Miyamoto made at the end of 2015, where he described development as "almost complete" there's a chance we may also see Pikmin 4 – an all-new addition to his gentle, colorful realtime strategy series designed to drive kids to explore nature with tiny Tellytubbie-like creatures and to cause most adults to question whether that sandwich they just ate was laced with acid.