Nintendo confirms Switch to be released in March, will cost $549

Nintendo has announced that its new Switch console, an effort by the Japanese company to regain lost ground in the console wars, will go on sale on March 3 at a cost of NZ$549.

The Switch, a hybrid between handheld and home consoles that will allow gamers to play on the go as well as on their television, was first unveiled in October, but Nintendo revealed more details about their latest effort on Friday.

At an hour-long event in Japan, the company revealed a roster of new games including a brand new Mario title, Super Mario Odyssey, set to be released at the end of the year.

Games available at launch will include the new Legend of Zelda title The Breath of the Wild, while later releases include Splatoon 2 and a ported version of the Wii U's Mario Kart 8.

There will also be multiplayer games that take advantage of the Switch's innovative Joy-Con controllers. They include 1-2-Switch, in which players look at each other rather than the screen for reaction games such as a Wild-West style duel, and ARMS, in which the players' hand movements are reflected as boxing moves in the game.

Other franchises such as FIFA, Minecraft and NBA 2K17 will come to the Switch, as will Skyrim and Fire Emblem Warriors.

Nintendo will hope that these games recreate the ease-of-use and instant appeal of titles such as Wii Sports, which made 2006's Wii console so successful.

The Wii sold more than 100 million units but its successor, the Wii U, was deemed a failure largely due to its weak line-up of launch titles.

The Switch can be played on the go using a 6.2-inch touchscreen onto which the two Joy-Con controllers attach. It will have a battery life of between 2.5 and 6.5 hours, but can also be charged over USB-C.

The console, which will use cartridges instead of discs as games, can also be played at home by connecting the Switch to a dock and using the Joy-Cons wirelessly.

A Joy-Con Grip accessory can hold the two Joy-Cons together to use as a more traditional controller, or they can be held independently in each hand, or be used by one player each as two miniature controllers.

Each Joy-Con has motion control technology so can be used as Wii-style controllers, as well as "HD-rumble", an advanced form of vibration feedback. Nintendo said this effect was detailed enough that it could simulate the feel of individual ice cubes shaking in a glass.

The right-hand Joy-Con has an infrared camera that can detect how far away a hand is, or if it is making a rock, paper or scissors shape, which Nintendo said would allow for new gameplay ideas.

The controllers also come with wrist-straps to prevent them flying out of your hand. One set, including wrist straps, will be included in the box, but other sets, or individual replacements, will cost an extra $129.

Nintendo announced that it will have a paid-for subscription service for online gaming similar to Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. It will start with a free trial before charging in the autumn.

Nintendo said the service would allow users to chat online or set appointments for games. The Switch will connect over Wi-Fi, and up to eight consoles can connect together locally for multiplayer games.

The subscription service will include extras including a free monthly download of a SNES or NES title and special offers.

UK retailers such as Amazon and Game are taking pre-orders for the Switch from this morning.

The price of the console disappointed some after rumours suggested it will be much cheaper.

It will make the device the most expensive at launch in Nintendo's history, and follows recent declines in the pound.

The unexpectedly high price caused shares in Nintendo to drop five per cent.

The console is available for pre-order at New Zealand stores.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telelgraph

- Daily Telegraph UK

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