Nintendo's new Switch console, which went on sale globally on Friday, is key for the Japanese videogame maker for multiple reasons. While the device is expected to reverse the company's declining sales, tech enthusiasts are also keeping a close eye on how it will stack up against Sony's top-selling PlayStation 4.
With the big win after Pokemon Go's success last year, Nintendo seems to be quite confident this time around as it is planning to roll out about 2 million Switch consoles in the first month following the device's launch. A single unit of the Nintendo Switch console will cost $299.
Nintendo's Wii console was a smash hit with over 100 million units sold worldwide following its launch a decade ago. But the company's last console, Wii U, marked a disappointing follow-up that resulted in poor sales figures.
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The Super Mario maker needed innovation this time. The Switch console's ability to swap flawlessly between playing on a television or on the go like a tablet will definitely be fascinating for many. But this is probably not the biggest innovation incorporated into the latest console.
The much-needed eye-contact
Looking at a screen instead of at people while playing videogames is fundamental, but Nintendo wants to change that with the Switch console. Its signature game 1-2 Switch allows gamers to stand next to each other with a controller which they need to wave like a sword or a gun.
While playing, the gamers need to rely on audio signals and vibrations from the gamepad to proceed. They don't need to look at the screen to play, but at the person they are playing against.
A secret browser
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According to The Verge, Switch features a browser which helps you log in to public hotspots. Although the browser cannot be launched from the main menu or by entering manual URLs, users can access their Facebook accounts by linking their social profile in User Settings.
The Verge said that you can browse through all of Facebook and even watch Facebook videos. There are some other features on the browser, but as The Verge points out, the experience is very "janky."
While these are all signs that Nintendo has something interesting in store for us, it's not clear when this half-baked browser will be fully enabled.
New methods to add friends
Although Nintendo's Switch would continue using Friend Code system to connect players who have never played together, the company will eventually allow Switch users to add friends through social networking services. There will also be a cross-platform system called Nintendo Network IDs which can be used as an additional way to add friends.
Here's what the company told Polygon in a statement:
Several methods can be used to add friends as quickly and easily as possible: · By linking Nintendo Switch to your Nintendo Account, your friends from Miitomo and Super Mario Run will appear as friend candidates so you can easily send them a friend request. Also, we are planning it so that friends from social networking services will be listed as candidates, too.
In the future, you will be able to send a friend request to friends associated with your NNID (Wii U/Miiverse) and Nintendo 3DS.
In some games you will be able to use an in-game interface to send friend requests.
You can send friend requests to those who have played with you recently.
You can establish a friend through local wireless communication.
You can also send a friend request by using a friend code.
Nintendo has been struggling with its sluggish growth for some time now. However, some analysts believe that Switch will help company fix its weak finance.
"Switch is probably one of the most important consoles for Nintendo in the past decades," Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based games industry consultant told AFP. "It's the first time where Nintendo basically combines portable games and home console games into one device."