Nintendo reveals Switch price and date

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Media captionBBC Click's Marc Cieslak takes a look at Nintendo's long-awaited new console, the Switch

Nintendo has said it will release its long-awaited new console, the Nintendo Switch, on 3 March.

It will cost $299.99 in the US, £279.99 in the UK and 29,980 yen ($260) in Japan, more than some analysts and gamers had been expecting.

The stakes are high for the Japanese firm after its most recent console, the Wii U, failed to replicate the success of the original Wii.

Nintendo shares dipped as details of the launch trickled out.

Mario is back

Nintendo revealed in October last year that the games machine would be a handheld device that doubles as a home console.

Previously code-named NX, the Switch looks like a tablet computer with Joy-Con controllers that attach to its sides.

The screen is touch-sensitive and the controllers can detect movement, like the Wii Remote.

Nintendo Switch

What we know in numbers


US price tag

  • ¥29,980 Japan launch price

  • 2.5 to 6.5 hours battery life

  • 80+ games in development


When used at home, the tablet component slots into a dock that connects to a TV set.

Games will be delivered on small cartridges, a nod to older Nintendo consoles.

The firm said that about 80 games were in development, including a new Mario game called Super Mario Odyssey, out late in 2017.

One of the new titles unveiled was Arms, a motion-controlled boxing game, due to be released this spring.

Image copyright Nintendo
Image caption Arms is a new boxing game from Nintendo

'Bad price points'

Initially, there was some negative reaction online to the pricing of the console's accessories.

A Pro Controller, in the style of a traditional console controller, costs $69.99 (£57.50), additional Joy-Con controllers are $79.99 and a spare dock to use the Switch with another TV or monitor is $89.99.

"These are bad, bad price points," wrote video game writer Pat Contri on Twitter.

The pricing was described as a "bad, bad joke" by video game news site Polygon.

But some reactions were more positive.

"Fair play Nintendo, this looks wonderful," wrote one fan on Twitter.

Image copyright Nintendo
Image caption The Switch can be transformed into a home console, table-top or handheld device

Other details announced on Friday included:

  • Console comes with 32GB of storage - extendable with a MicroSD card slot
  • Plans to end regional locking - meaning games could be played on all consoles - no matter where in the world they were bought
  • Multiplayer online gaming - initially free but later paid-for
  • A smartphone app for social aspects of games including chat function

Nintendo consoles: A history in pictures

'Watershed moment'

Some analysts believe the device could be Nintendo's "last shot" at selling a home console, after the Wii U proved a flop.

It was rapidly outsold by Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, although Nintendo has enjoyed success with its handheld 3DS device.

Image copyright Nintendo
Image caption Super Mario Odyssey will be released for the Switch later this year

"The Switch release is a watershed moment for Nintendo as it puts into practice a strategy to defend its traditional console business by also appealing to those gamers that routinely use tablets and smartphones for gaming," said Piers Harding-Rolls, gaming analyst at IHS Technology.

He added that the price of the main console was "as predicted".

"This is not an impulse purchase or as cheap as other recent Nintendo consoles and at this price point Nintendo will be competing with existing consoles and tablets.

"As a result, communicating the unique aspects of the Switch - particularly the capabilities of the Joy-Con controllers - and its exclusive content through marketing spend will be key."

Image copyright Nintendo
Image caption The Joy Con controllers have motion and object sensing capabilities

Mr Harding-Rolls added that he thought the decision to launch a paid online service "makes complete strategic sense" and brings it into line with rivals Microsoft and Sony.

By releasing something that allowed gamers to play Nintendo titles both at home and on the move, the firm could find a "very lucrative middle ground", said Ovum analyst Paul Jackson.

"Pure console gamers are likely to be disappointed here as it will probably be a powerful mobile device (battery allowing) but a comparatively weedy dedicated home one."

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