The Nintendo Switch (ニンテンドースイッチ) is the seventh home video game console released by Nintendo. The console is the successor to the Wii U and it competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One console in the 8th generation of video game systems.
Known in development by its codename NX, it was unveiled in October 2016, subsequently revealed as the Switch in January 2017, and was released worldwide on March 3rd, 2017. The Switch is considered a "hybrid" console; it is designed primarily as a home console, with the main unit inserted onto a docking station to connect to a television or monitor. Alternatively, it can be removed from the dock and used similarly to a mobile tablet, or placed in a standalone tabletop position visible to several players. The Switch uses Joy-Con wireless controllers, which include standard buttons and a directional joystick for user input, motion sensing, and high-definition tactile feedback. Switch games and software are available on both physical flash ROM cartridges and digital distribution and do not use region locking.
A second model of the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Switch Lite, was announced on July 10th, 2019, and was released worldwide on September 20th, 2019. It is a handheld-focused revision of the system, integrating the Joy-Con as part of the main unit's hardware, and has a smaller screen and a larger battery capacity. Additionally, a regular directional pad replaced the four directional buttons on the integrated left Joy-Con. However, due to the integration of the Joy-Con into the system, they cannot be removed, and thus, the HD Rumble and IR camera features have been removed. The Switch Lite only directly supports games that can be played in handheld mode, retaining features like the Switch's gyroscopic sensors and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC communication compatibility. Some tabletop games that require the HD Rumble or IR camera features will require players to use separate Joy-Con with the Switch Lite. The system does not support any docking or connectivity to a television, so it is incompatible with games that require television mode. Players who attempt to purchase games that require television or tabletop mode via the eShop on the Switch Lite will be notified of the incompatibility. In addition to other normal Joy-Con, the Switch Lite does support external controllers otherwise compatible with the Switch.
An updated version of the Nintendo Switch, featuring a longer battery life than the original of 4.5–9 hours, was announced on July 17th, 2019, and was released in Japan and North America in mid-August 2019, and released in the United Kingdom in September 2019. This revision of the Switch primarily features a change in both the main CPU and GPU that leads to lower power consumption while otherwise maintaining the same battery, which extends the battery life.
The Switch console is solely based on the tablet. Everything else operates in tandem with the device. The Dock serves as a means to connect the tablet to a television, as well as charging it and any attached controllers. The console itself has 32 Gigabytes of on-system storage and has a slot for optional microSD card memory expansion of up to 2 Terabytes. The console is capable of 720p output in tablet and tabletop mode with an adaptive resolution and can go as high as 1080p while docked.
The Joy-Con controllers are wireless, Bluetooth-based and the right Joycon is equipped with an infrared camera on the bottom which allows gyroscopic data (among other things) to be surveyed to the Switch, allowing for Wiimote-like motion controls in various games. The Joy-Cons can be used in tandem with each other in various ways. They can be equipped to a grip to make a whole controller, be held separately, or can be held horizontally and played as their own controllers. Additionally, a more traditional controller, called the Pro Controller, is also available, which also has built-in gyroscopic controls. All controllers feature HD Rumble, an advanced form of haptic feedback that enables the system to replicate every single tap and sensation in-game, with much more realism and efficiency than traditional haptic motors.
The physical media for the console consists of proprietary cartridges as opposed to the optical Blu-Ray discs of its direct competitors. The cartridges are not region-locked, though they do require a profile on the console that matches the region the games were purchased in order to play them. The cartridge plastic has been coated in an extremely bitter, non-toxic substance to prevent children from swallowing them.
The Switch initially launched with a free online service, with the promise of an improved, paid service later on in the system's lifespan. The new online system for the Switch named under Nintendo Switch Online is a paid subscription-based online service based around the Nintendo Account service. It allows players all around the world to play with and against each other, it also allows them to play NES and Super NES games with added online play, save their data on a cloud backup system, have access to the corresponding app on mobile devices and price reductions on the Nintendo eShop (Switch-only).
Nintendo Switch Online app
The Nintendo Switch Online app is a mobile app given to download with the Nintendo Switch Online service. Some sub-sections can appear in the app, corresponding to the owner-owned games.
In the Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was released for the Nintendo Switch on December 7th, 2018 worldwide. The game was first teased at the end of the March 8th, 2018 Nintendo Direct, little over a year after the system had launched, and was officially revealed at Nintendo's E3 2018 presentation.
Additionally, as DLC for Ultimate, four characters from games originally released for the console debuted in Smash as playable fighters: Byleth, Min Min, Pyra and Mythra. Debuting in 2019, Byleth currently stands as the most recently created character in the series.