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Here’s what you need to know about the Nintendo Switch

January 23 2017, 4:00 PM EST By Ryan Smythe


If you’re a fan of Nintendo, then this past week has been a pretty great week. If you have zero interest in anything Nintendo-related and live within shouting distance of a fan of Nintendo, then this past week has been confusing at best and downright aggravating at worst.

Read more: Nintendo is making shoes with Vans and they’re awesome

The Nintendo Switch, the newest video game console from the makers of Mario, The Legend Of Zelda and Pokémon is on its way to stores starting March 3 and will cost $300. In an hour-plus long announcement livestreamed across the globe on Jan. 13, various executives and producers gave consumers a closer look at their new product first shown off in a teaser video last October.

You may be out of luck on day one.
If you’re on the fence about buying a Switch when it comes out, you have a bit of time to think about it. Pre-orders for the console sold out within days, and it’s hard to know when or if more will be made available by retailers. However, Nintendo is taking their console on tour to various cities across North America before its release, so you can take an up close and personal look at the device before making any financial commitment.

Remaining tour dates:
Toronto: Jan. 27-29
Washington, D.C.: Feb. 10-12
Chicago: Feb. 17-19
San Francisco: Feb. 24-26
Los Angeles: March 3-5

Op-Ed: How Pokémon Go is the most successful failure of 2016

It’s a portable console, so what does that mean for battery life?
Honestly, the battery life is a bit disappointing. Nintendo announced that in perfect conditions, the Switch will work for up to six hours on a single charge, but that number will drop significantly when you actually start to use it. Games like The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild will only work for about three hours before needing a recharge. Luckily, you will likely be able to use a portable battery pack to keep your Switch’s juice topped off for longer excursions.

Speaking of games…
Consoles almost never launch with a robust slate of games on day one, and the Switch is no different. There are a grand total of seven games announced for day one (so far, at least), with the obvious crown jewel being The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.

While it may take a few months for other major titles to hit shelves, the newest Zelda game looks like it will provide an incredible amount of content to help fill your time. Most comparisons are pitting this game against Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda’s game that is slated for re-release on the Switch later this year. Both sport a massive open world, and anyone who played the original release of Skyrim (or played the recently re-released HD remake) can tell you just how insanely large the map is. According to a recently released image from a Zelda fan site, Breath Of The Wild’s map is about to take Skyrim’s lunch money.

While it’s impossible to know just how much there is to do in that world, every indication is that fans of the series won’t be hurting for content until more games are released.

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: April 28, 2017
  • Splatoon 2: Summer 2017
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: TBD
  • Pokémon Stars (rumored Switch-exclusive sequel to Sun and Moon): Late 2017
  • Super Mario Odyssey: Holiday 2017

How much memory will the Switch have?
It doesn’t look good for fans of digital downloads—the Switch will only have 32GB of internal memory. While Nintendo games are historically smaller than those released for other consoles and for PC, that’s still a worryingly small number. However, the console will support microSDXC cards for expanded memory, which currently cap out at around 512GB of storage. These larger cards are fairly expensive, so you’ll want to buy a few smaller and noticeably cheaper cards that you can download your different games to. It’s an inelegant solution to the problem, but SD cards are fairly easy to swap in and out. Just make sure to label your cards to save yourself the headache of testing out every one.

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