Nintendo revealed details about its upcoming hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, through its livestreamed presentation last week.
Among the most important details regarding the Nintendo Switch is that the hybrid console will have a price tag of $299, and that it will have a global launch on March 3. A multitude of games have also been confirmed to be coming to the Nintendo Switch, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a launch title and a new 3D Super Mario game, Super Mario: Odyssey, set to be released in this year's holiday season.
However, many questions still remain regarding the Nintendo Switch, and here are the biggest ones that remain unanswered.
How Will The New Online Infrastructure For The Nintendo Switch Work?
It has been revealed that the online services for the Nintendo Switch will allow players to invite their friends to online games, set up "play appointments," launch chat sessions, and more. It is also known that the service will be free upon launch, but it will become a paid service this fall.
However, it has not yet been revealed what exactly gamers will be paying for if they sign up for the online service. All that is mentioned in the Nintendo Switch official page for its online service is that paying subscribers will gain access to online gameplay, the online lobby and voice chat app, a monthly game download, and exclusive deals.
One of the concerns that Nintendo gamers have had is that Virtual Console downloads are not tied to player accounts, and as such, when moving to a new system, players are not allowed to access the content that they have previously purchased on other systems. Will the new online system allow for a player account to be signed in across different systems to be able to re-download game purchases?
The Nintendo Switch has also been revealed to be dropping support for Miiverse and StreetPass, and it remains to be seen how Nintendo will be replacing these platforms.
Will Nintendo Be Able To Keep Up With Demand?
One of the burning questions for the Nintendo Switch is its availability, as memories of the supply shortage for the NES Classic Edition are still fresh in the minds of gamers. It did not help that preorders for the upcoming hybrid console have become unavailable in all retailers across the United States, with GameStop informing customers that they have already burned through the preorders that have been allotted to it by Nintendo.
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, however, promised that Nintendo will be able to keep up with the expected demand for the Nintendo Switch, despite releasing only 2 million units of the hybrid console upon its launch.
Will The Nintendo Switch Be Able To Save Nintendo?
Possibly the most important question for the Nintendo Switch is whether it has what it takes to save Nintendo, as the company looks to go back to a profitable state. There are concerns that the Nintendo Switch could be underpowered as a tabletop gaming console and overpowered as a portable gaming device, while bearing a price tag that does not give it an advantage over Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.
Ars Technica's Mark Walton wrote that the Nintendo Switch could be the "last throw of the dice" for Nintendo, and if it fails, the company might soon drop its hardware business and focus instead on software and its rich franchises such as Super Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon.