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GoNintendo Talking Points: Jim Sterling on the Switch - A Rebuttal

Time for another Talking Points, my friends. I checked out Jim Sterlings' latest video, which focuses on the Switch live-stream presentation Nintendo put on. Jim wasn't too please with what he saw, but I'd like to offer a rebuttal for some of his points.

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1-2 Switch - Dutch website offers another look at mini-games

The Dutch site for 1-2 Switch offers some more looks at games we already know about, but don't have content shared on the North American site. Have a look here.

RUMOR - Switch supplemental computing device in the works with big power boost

Normally this sounds like the type of rumor you'd read once and just ignore completely. That's how I was going to handle it, and then I found the source to be Thraktor. He's been really in-the-know with a lot of Switch stuff, so his info makes me sit up and take notice. You can read a blurb below, but make sure to hit up the whole thread for more details.

Producing 2000x units for now - This sounds like the kind of numbers you'd expect for a dev-kit. I don't know whether you'd expect a batch of 2000 units for an early dev kit or a late dev kit, though.

The core is 1x times bigger than the one above,200m㎡, looking it looks like 12x18 - This is obviously quite a bit larger than above, and pretty much exactly the size of GP106 (the GPU die in the GTX1060). If it's an SoC, then there also has to be space in there for the CPU, etc, but it would still be quite a bit more powerful than the regular Switch (perhaps 4x as powerful for 4K games?). If it's not an SoC, but rather a separate GPU, then it should be a similar config to the GTX1060, but probably with a lower clock.

Extra ram, this version is 8GB - Makes sense for a more powerful device.

No dock for this version for now. Can be plugged into TV without docking, power is inside - Of course it doesn't need the dock, if it is the dock ;)

Speculated provided the core is only include GPU, it would be even more powerful than PS4 pro - If it actually was the GP106 (or similar), then yeah, it would potentially be more powerful than the PS4 Pro, although I'd imagine that they would clock it down a bit.

Screen is the same size as the normal one

It's much more powerful, but also much heavier, not feeling great in hand, speculated for 4K gaming - This could be because it's early hardware, or it's just a dev kit, but it could also be because it's not actually a portable device.

Haven't seen such a huge core, and it's 16nm + 100mm2 main core - This is the bit to focus on right here. What he's saying is that this "dev kit" has both the standard 100mm² SoC used in the regular Switch and a separate 200mm² chip. This means the 200mm² chip isn't a replacement for the Switch's SoC, it's an addition to it. That is, it's a GPU.

There's no battery inside this version - No need for one of these, if this is what I assume it is.

Full info here

Nintendo Badge Arcade - North American update for Jan. 17th, 2017

- 5 returning sets of pixel Pokémon badges
- 4 returning set of NES Remix badges (featuring Punch-Out and Ice Climber)

Thanks to AlienboyVA for the heads up!

Story of Seasons coming to Switch

A little bit from the Japanese side of things that people might have notice. Looks like Story of Seasons is coming to Switch! No word on localization at this time.

Analysts weigh in on Switch pricing, device itself, lack of region codes, expected sales

What do you think of the pricing?

I think the price is definitely on the high end of expectations and surely not "ideal". For instance, the Switch is 330 Euros in Germany: this isn't what I would call a competitive price, especially given how inexpensive PS4 and Xbox One have become now. In addition, the prices for the accessories and games (Zelda is 60 pounds in the UK) are pretty bold. -Serkan Toto, Kantan Games Inc.

$300 makes sense to me given the hardware and the state of TV-based competition. Wii U had 2 sku's with a substantive difference between them, and so I think Nintendo wanted Switch to be a straightforward and affordable system out of the gate. -Lewis Ward, research director for gaming at IDC

Pricing on the Switch is a little high given no game included. But I still think it is a good value overall. Hopefully come fall, they will add some games in the bundle. - David Cole, DFC Intelligence

The current pricing is on the high range of the acceptable point for what the console offers. It is not pushing itself to the point where the price will ruin the console's chances, and I suspect that the limited number of launch titles will mean that it initially targets early adopters anyway, a demographic that has a higher tolerance for higher prices. To be fair, more than the price being too high in itself, I find the content of the core bundle lacking. If it had 1-2 Switch included for instance, the offer would be much more compelling. - Thomas Bidaux, Ico Partners

At $299.99 and £279 in the UK including VAT, the pricing of the Switch is 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 to gaining market traction. Unlike the Wii, this is not a product that will necessarily sell itself through word of mouth as its proposition is still relatively complex. _ Piers Harding-Rolls, IHS Technology

What do you think about the device itself, now that we know more about specs and controllers?

I personally like the concept and the fact that we don't get another boxy home console. Personally, I don't care that much about the specs, we already have 2 high-spec'd machines from Sony and Microsoft, plus we can upgrade our PCs as we want. That's enough. The Joycon controllers in particular are cool. It's great to see Nintendo innovating on the user interface front. My question is whether this is all enough to really capture enough buyers who are not already die-hard Nintendo fans. Good for Nintendo: they have Zelda at launch, and that title looks like a text-book system seller. - Serkan Toto

I think overall the device has a lot of potential to fulfill with a very large audience that wants more than what tablets can provide, but don't need the complexity of PS4/Xbox one games. - David Cole

Well, we know more about general system performance and the Joy-Con twist on UI, but many key questions remain unanswered. I don't know how much storage is on board or if we'll be able to use plug-and-play external storage over USB if we download a lot of content. But the system seems to be on par with, or at least close to, PS4 or Xbox One from a hardware performance angle at least. I think the Joy-Con controls will make it a great family and local co-op gaming platform, and one that will have some of that distinctive Nintendo magic. - Lewis Ward

Now that the details of the controllers have been revealed, I have to say I find them very attractive. They certainly pack a lot of features and open up a lot of interesting gameplay experiences for Nintendo and anyhow brave enough to consider an exclusive game for the Switch. They show that Nintendo has learned a lot of the right lessons from the Wii and the WiiU and it seems to me that is a significant innovation and improvement. I am looking forward getting my hands on them. The specs of the machine are not very impressive, but that's not what anyone was expecting from Nintendo. I also don't understand the reasoning behind having the screen being touch-sensitive. It goes against having a single control scheme for the games for all the "modes" the console offers. It might be Nintendo over-engineering here. And where I think over-engineering the controllers is exciting, I am confused by that multi touch screen. - Thomas Bidaux

Nintendo’s new hybrid console reflects a company that is in cultural flux as it seeks to find a balance of approach between its traditional console games business and to cater for a new population of smart device gamers. The Switch’s form factor literally embodies the tensions at play here as it seeks to satisfy traditional Nintendo console gamers and also engage a new set of consumers that routinely want to use smart devices – and more specifically tablets – for gaming. A hybrid device strategy such as this is unproven in the market - previous gaming tablets that can dock to TVs have found very little sales traction but significantly have not had the backing of a company such as Nintendo. Is this a device for the mobile gamer that plays on the move? To a segment of the mobile gamer population yes, but the Switch is more naturally a direct challenge to the use of tablets in the home or perhaps on family holidays. As such, Switch will need to provide a compelling alternative or enhancement to other tablets already used by this audience. Nintendo is seeking to do this in a number of ways. Through its exclusive games IP, through its local multiplayer gaming capabilities over local Wi-Fi and through the sensor technology included in the proprietary Joy-Con controllers which allows it to bring new gaming experiences to the tablet gaming audience. - Piers Harding-Rolls

While the Switch lacks much of the high-end hardware horsepower and specs present on the PS4/XB1 (see Figure 1), the console will still support high-fidelity gameplay in a "sit-back" environment, while also facilitating more casual gameplay (active/social gameplay with titles such as Arms, Mario Kart 8, and 1-2-Switch). As such, we believe the success of Switch will depend more on the appeal of portability and simplicity in the living room. - Colin Sebastian, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated

What do you think about the softening position on region codes?

The region-free policy on software is long overdue. I think Nintendo just catches up with Sony and Microsoft here and finally provides a user-friendly solution. The vast majority of the user base will not care, but the move is a nod to people calling for region-free Nintendo software for years now - Serkan Toto

As far as region lock is concerned, the devil is in the details and I guess we will have to see how it is executed. In 2017, it would have seemed very backward to try to impose a region lock. But at the same time, game cartridges are not the most modern concept either. Where I find Nintendo really lagging behind is with their online service offering. Offering free games, but having them be free only for a month is very bad value compared to what Sony and Microsoft have been doing for years now. Offering these games free for ever would not lead to much missed revenue and would provide much more goodwill. - Thomas Bidaux

How do you think this device will fare? Will it outsell the Wii U?

Absolutely no doubt about it. Even with an initial line-up that is very small, I believe Nintendo have a product year that they can build on and have a lot more success with than they had with the WiiU. - Thomas Bidaux

We still think this device needs more content and much will depend on if it can be successfully marketed. But we fully anticipate it doing significantly better than WiiU - David Cole

Seeing that the Wii U was a horrible failure with 14 million units sold and Nintendo came up with a much better concept this time, it will not a big problem for the Switch to fare better. The Wii was a mega hit that transformed the video game industry and how people perceive gaming, but I think there is no way the Switch will get to the 101 million unit sales threshold the Wii has reached. - Serkan Toto

Yes, I think it'll outsell Wii U but that's kind of damning with faint praise. It really comes down to the games, and more than that, the evolving online service lineup over time. If Nintendo brings the heat with titles like Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey consistently over the next year or 18 months I think Switch will be in good shape from a sales perspective. I don't think it'll be Wii-like sales but it it should be closer to that than Wii U sales over the first 2 years. - Lewis Ward

The Switch is an evolution of the Wii U, but eminently simpler in form factor and broadens the use case for a home and portable console hybrid. As a result Nintendo’s Switch is likely to banish the painful memories of the poorly selling Wii U, which to date has only sold 13.4 million units since its launch in 2012. We currently forecast 4 million Switch sales in 2017 although this may be revised in the coming days based on the earlier than expected launch date and likely stock availability through the year. IHS Markit expects Switch to comfortably outsell the Wii U but Nintendo faces an uphill task to translate its product vision into mainstream adoption although it will be aided in this ambition through its deep portfolio of games franchises. - Piers Harding-Rolls

With one recent massive console success (Wii, >100M units sold), and one commercial failure (Wii U), the best opportunity for Switch, in our view, is the contrast with "hard core" gaming experiences that are central to the Microsoft and Sony platforms. At this point, Nintendo's early demand expectations seem reasonable (2M unit shipments in launch window vs. Wii U's 3M units in holiday 2012 time frame) although it would not be unusual for Nintendo to constrain initial supply (see NES Classic, Wii launches.) We also note that both Amazon and GameStop have sold their initial Switch allotments in the two days following Friday's unveiling, a positive sign for initial demand. - Colin Sebastian

LEGO City Undercover retains Nintendo cameos on Switch version, boxart

Join the Chase!

In LEGO® CITY Undercover, players become Chase McCain, a police officer who goes undercover to hunt down the notorious – and recently escaped – criminal, Rex Fury, to put an end to his city-wide crime wave. This open-world LEGO adventure allows fans and newcomers to explore the sprawling metropolis that is LEGO® CITY with more than 20 unique districts to investigate, filled with car thieves to bust, vehicles to navigate, mischievous aliens to capture, hilarious movie references to discover, lost pigs to rescue and of course, hundreds of collectibles. With 15 special assignments to conquer, LEGO CITY Undercover brings together witty, original storytelling with signature LEGO humor to create a fun-filled experience for players of all ages.

Features:

BECOME LEGO CITY'S FINEST – Assume the identity of undercover police officer, Chase McCain, and track down the fiendish Rex Fury to finally put an end to his city-wide crime wave.

EXPLORE THE CITY – With more than 20 distinct districts to investigate, LEGO CITY is a bustling metropolis that is ripe for exploration and filled to the brim with people on the streets to interact with, criminals to take down and hundreds of collectibles.

BE A MASTER OF DISGUISE – As a man of many talents, Chase McCain has eight disguises to choose from, each with unique skills and abilities to infiltrate every corner of the city, allowing him to access places a regular old officer can't.

OVER 100 VEHICLES – In LEGO CITY, every vehicle on the street can be commandeered with more than 100 to choose from so players can get behind the wheel of sports cars, motorcycles, helicopters and more to chase down criminals or take a leisurely ride through the urban jungle to check out the sights.

FIGHT CRIME – Take down criminals with hand-to-hand combat or arrest bad guys using Chase's handy grapple gun and standard issue police handcuffs.

THE CAST – Chase is joined by officer Frank Honey, Chief of Police Dunby and paramedic Natalia Kowalski, who are just a few of the more than 300 unlockable and playable characters that gamers will meet throughout the adventure.

HUMOR, HUMOR, HUMOR – Featuring an original storyline, LEGO CITY Undercover is chock-full of signature humor with hilarious movie and music references peppered throughout the open-world.

Secret Nintendo cameos!

Charge your Switch while in tabletop mode using the HORI Compact Playstand

Think it's impossible to charge your Switch while in tabletop mode? No worries, as the good guys as HORI have you covered. You'll just need to snatch up their HORI Compact Playstand, which will allow access to the charging port while you're playing on the table. Grab yours here!