With just about a week to go until the launch of the Nintendo Switch, there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. However, with press previews making their way into the wild, we do have a better picture of what to expect. While some of it is barebones, there is still some great stuff to look forward to.
Perhaps the most barebones part of the Switch is the OS and UI. With a lack of applications like Netflix and YouTube and no internet browser, the Switch will be purely a game console at launch. This wouldn’t normally be an issue, but one concern would be the necessity for a landing page when accessing public Wifi in places like hotels. Will there be a dedicated browser specifically for that? We’ll know for sure (hopefully) soon.
While the other software aspects of the Switch are lacking, it will be making up for it with its launch list. While physical titles remain consistent from earlier this year, some digital releases got updates to March 3rd. As has been known for some time, we have;
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Super Bomberman R
- The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
- 1 2 Switch
- Just Dance 2017
- Skylanders: Imaginators
The amount of digital launch titles is also impressive. These include;
- I am Setsuna
- Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (alongside the Treasure Trove update)
- Little Inferno
- Fast Racing RMX
- Human Resource Machine
- World of Goo
*Update – Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together will also be a launch title, with a free demo available at the same time.
The only disappointing factor in the Switch’s launch library is the lack of Virtual Console titles. While not at all surprising, the lack of any details from available titles to discounts for those who bought previous Wii/3DS/Wii U versions is a bummer.
Only one hardware issue has reared its ugly head so far, and that is the JoyCons seeming to disconnect when used far enough away from the Switch. Thanks to the good folks at Gamexplain, the cause has been narrowed down to weak Bluetooth signal coming from the JoyCons.
Since Bluetooth radio signals can be obstructed by water, blocking the JoyCons’ line of sight with your hand or body causes dropped inputs when played from 8-10 ft away from the console. Luckily, the controllers stay synced the whole time.
What does this mean? Well, it’s possible that this issue was seen during production and the Day 1 Patch will fix it. It’s actually quite easy to fix how strong the radio signal a controller outputs with a firmware update, as the PlayStation 3 and 4 faced similar issues.
The worry comes from this being unable to be patched, in which case there’s either a recall on the JoyCons or we are stuck with them. Worst case, this issue is not present in the Switch Pro Controller, so that can be used for docked-mode free range.
While full functionality is limited, we do have some information on how the Switch will handle accounts. You can create up to 8 users on one Switch, and even link a Nintendo Account to one. You can also create a User ID for your Switch now by going to accounts.nintendo.com and adding it to your current account. Any eShop credits you have leftover from 3DS and Wii U purchases will be usable on the Switch.
Purchases will be linked to your account like on the Wii U, but are no longer tied to the console. You can freely reinstall any purchases you’ve made with having to contact Nintendo Customer Service and go through its lengthy restoration process. It does have its limits, as the account system won’t support signing into and downloading games onto two Switches a la PlayStation 4’s Primary and Secondary System design (at least at launch).
There are some other features confirmed to not be available at launch. A launch-day update will add Micro SDXC support, allowing full use of the up-to-2TB standard. Future updates will include USB 3.0 support and peer-to-peer software updates. The latter is rather notable. As an example; If you’re playing some local Splatoon 2, but one player has update version 1.4 instead of 1.5, he can quickly update his version regardless of internet access. A great touch for a console focused on on-the-go play.
For the time being, that’s really it. Besides some more hands-on previews, we don’t have much going on until launch. While no Direct-style presentation has been announced, we will be getting a showcase of the Switch’s upcoming indie titles on Tuesday, February 28th at 9am PST/12pm EST. Of course once we get our hand on one, we’ll have some solid details for you. Be sure to stay tuned!