Ever since the PS2 roundly crushed the GameCube, Nintendo has thought differently with its consoles – first with the Wii, then the Wii U, and next with the Switch.
Time will tell whether Ninty's latest console replicates the massive success of the Wii, or ends up more like the perpetually underwhelming Wii U, but one thing is for sure: this isn't just another familiar console. Sure, it'll plug into your TV and play Mario and Zelda in HD, but you can also undock the tablet-like device and take it anywhere you please like a proper handheld.
It's a two-in-one, then. But if you've already bought the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, do you really need two recent consoles? Here's a look at what the Switch offers that players can't get with their current-gen consoles, as well as a few reasons why you might be better off with what you already have.
YES! It's a fully portable console
Remember the first time you tried to carry a Wii U GamePad with you out of a room or to the far side of your flat… and it lost the signal? Yeah, that was disappointing. One of many such shortcomings of that console.
Fortunately, the Switch doesn't replicate that short-range wireless tether: the device itself is fully portable, with little Joy-Con controller nubs that pop on and off, and you can just pull it out of the dock whenever you want to play in bed, outside, or on the train.
Obviously, you don't get that with the Xbox One, and doing anything similar with the PS4 requires a PlayStation Vita and a strong wireless connection. We all have phones, and some of us have a Vita or 3DS, but the Switch promises to provide full-fledged console games that you can play anywhere. That's a big advantage.
NO! It's not nearly as powerful
Portability is an awesome perk, but if you're the type of player who craves high-performance presentation, you may not get what you want from the Switch.
Based on what we've seen any played, including the direct comparison between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Switch and Wii U, the Switch is only a hair more powerful than the Wii U - which means it's much less capable than either Sony or Microsoft's console. And when you're on the go, you'll be playing on a 720p display – although to be fair, it does look very colourful and solidly sharp despite the modest resolution.
Look, the Switch will still be able to pump out some really pretty games, as we've seen with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but there may be limitations to what it can do down the line. And it probably won't handle ports of top-tier PS4 and Xbox One games, if you're thinking of trading in your current box.
YES! It has Nintendo's own games
The best part of any Nintendo hardware is almost always Nintendo's software, and that will surely be the case again with the Switch. Breath of the Wild is the first real example of this, with Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and the brand new Arms following in the coming months.
And then Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will follow later this year. Not bad for the first nine months of a system's life.
Admittedly, Nintendo's launch lineup is pretty sparse, and the next few months could be thin as well… but if we ultimately end up getting new entries in most of the company's best-loved franchises, along with some new experiences along the way, then we can probably justify the investment.