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Nintendo’s Switch, previously known as the NX, has been blessed/cursed with a myriad of rumors since it was first announced a few years ago. Sifting through them is a challenge but I like to think that we do a good job of bringing the most legit rumors to your attention. In a previous article, I discussed how the Switch is more “gaming tablet” and less “traditional console” and I stand by that statement. Today’s rumors actually lend some credence to that theory in a roundabout way. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting rumors that are making rounds on the Internet lately.
During a recent All Things Video Games podcast, I proclaim that the Switch will retail for around $250, or possibly $200, USD. And it looks like this could be the case as a British retailer has posted the Switch for £249.99 which roughly translates to the same price in USD. Obviously, this could be a placeholder until Nintendo officially announces a retail price for its’ system but I don’t think so. Nintendo itself has said that the price of the new system will pleasantly surprise consumers so a $300+ price wouldn’t make much sense as it wouldn’t be a pleasant surprise in the least. Additionally, Nintendo has found greater success with lower launch prices as opposed to higher ones. But let’s look at this from another perspective: the hardware within the Switch.
Previously, I discussed how the Pixel C tablet could be slimmed down to reduce price and put it in line with the Switch (reduce screen resolution from 2560×1800 to 1280×720 and shrink the screen from 10.6″ to the proposed 6″ screen size of the Switch). These changes, in conjunction with some clever deals with parts suppliers, could easily allow Nintendo to sell the Switch without accepting a loss on hardware. Also, consider that the Nvidia Shield console released with similar specs a number of years ago and had a version that sold for $200. With these things in mind, it’s easy to see how Nintendo could sell the Switch for $200-250 at launch.
This is more news than a rumor, but oh well. According to Nvidia, the architecture in the Switch is very similar to that found in the Xbox One and PS4, despite it being based on the mobile ARM architecture instead of the PC-based x86 architecture. According to the company, both architectures are capable of programmable shaders and have similar features which should make it easy for developers to develop one set of code for all platforms. There is really no reason to think otherwise since the Tegra X1 is based on Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture (which, itself, is only one generation old in the world of video cards). Of course, this is assuming that the Switch employs the Tegra X1 at all.
The Switch is reported getting a number of games! Woohoo!
All kidding aside, rumors have been swirling for awhile regarding the possibility of key Wii U titles being ported to the Switch. According to one rumor, this looks to be the case. The Wii U’s breakout title, Splatoon, is reported making its way to the Switch with all DLC, a new 1v1 mode (using the Switch’s two mini-controllers), and a steady stream of new content post-launch. One rumor even suggests that Splatoon is going to be a pack-in game for at least one SKU of the system. Next up is Mario Kart 8. This fantastic racer is reportedly being ported over with all currently released DLC intact as well as a number of new tracks and characters packed in. It’s best to think of these two titles as half-step sequels and not full-on sequels.
All this talk of ports begs the question: why would Nintendo simply port its’ current games in the first place? The simple answer is that these titles haven’t come close to reaching their maximum sales potential due to the Wii U’s minuscule install base. In fact, most consumers likely won’t have any idea that the content in these games has been available elsewhere due to the fact that most consumers never bothered with a Wii U. If Nintendo simply adds enough new content for those who did play the Wii U games as well as market these titles as new products (don’t call Mario Kart 8, Mario Kart 8, for example), they will appease everyone.
Lastly, it is rumored that a new 3D Mario title will be at launch. The new title is said to have a hub world similar to that of Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy. Additionally, the game is said to have some sort of co-op mode with a tether keeping players from straying too far from one another. Accomplishments would also be attributed to whichever player accomplished them. So if ‘player one’ found 2/5 red coins but ‘player two’ found 3/5 red coins, each would be rewarded with finding all the red coins but player two would be rewarded for finding most of them.
Another title that is expected is Bethesda Softworks’ Skyrim. Now this one was shown in the Switch reveal trailer but Bethesda hasn’t confirmed that it is coming to Switch. To be honest, this is no surprise. Nintendo doesn’t plan on revealing any more details on the Switch or its’ games until January so it’s only logical that they wouldn’t want third parties announcing games for the system ahead of time. And given that Skyrim isn’t a technically demanding title, we can rest assured that it may hit the Switch one day.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of this rumor is that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be delayed yet again. Originally expected to be a launch title, this delay came as a bit of a shock (assuming it’s true) but it also isn’t exactly surprising when you consider that a new 3D Mario will be at launch with Splatoon and Mario Kart coming soon after. Nintendo won’t want to cannibalize their own sales. That said, I expect this game to hit before E3 of 2017.
A few years ago Nintendo announced that it was merging its portable and home console development teams and one of the first things that came to my mind was the likelihood of titles, like Pokemon, hitting Nintendos’ next console (which was already, at the time, rumored to be a portable/home console hybrid). This is looking to be the case if Eurogamers report is to be believed. According to Eurogamer, a third iteration of the recently released Pokemon Sun and Moon will be released for the Switch sometime in 2017. This title is rumored to be called Pokemon Star and will mark the first time in history that a main-series Pokemon title found its way to a home console. If true, this is tremendous news. Not only would it be another top-tier title for the Switch, but it could be the first time that a lot of people play a core Pokemon title since some of us don’t bother with portable consoles too much. This could practically serve as a rebirth, or renewal, of the franchise (not that it needed one) since it would be reaching so many new players. Since I have never bothered playing a Pokemon title, you can count me in if this title hits the Switch.
Perhaps one of the most exciting rumors is for a new Mario RPG crossover with Ubisoft’s Rabbids characters. I don’t know exactly how this will work in terms of story but apparently, it has something to do with the Rabbids invading the Mushroom Kingdom. This title is rumored to be a launch title for the Switch as well as a showcase game in the January presentation. I’m curious to see what direction Ubisoft takes this. Will it play like South Park: The Stick of Truth? Or perhaps it will play something more akin to Child of Light? Only time will tell.
So there you have it. A ton of rumors – all of which I think are fairly legit. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.