First, a quick digression, Nintendo seems to have gauged the launch demand pretty well. There are some other comments here regarding Target morning waits. I was 2nd on line at 6:40am in a northern NJ Target. The guy in front of me had slept in his car (!), but he seemed to be the only one that did. By 7:45 the line was 20ish people. Our Target had 25 consoles. So everyone that got there by 8 (opening time) got one. Nice.
The hardware seems really good. I was surprised at how nice it all fit together (nice, solid clicks) for a product that costs half as much as an iPad! It's obviously still a "toy," but I don't mean that in a bad way. The finish is below typical Apple HW standards for sure, but I think that's to be expected at $299. It feels rugged enough to take with you, although as some said, a screen protector might be nice for extended away play.
To me, the nicest, most thoughtful thing about the HW of this gen of tech products is (believe it or not) USB C! Can I please shout out my love for this freaking connector!! GO USBC! Seriously, I didn’t realize how much subliminal psychic damage non-symmetrical USB plugs have done to me. This connector is so great. You no longer feel that weird little moment of anxiety where you know it will take you an extra second to look inside the damn connector and re-orient the blasted plug 3 times. If you are an old man like me (58), you will probably need to go find a pair of reading glasses, adding insult to injury.
The new Zelda is breathtaking, but you can tell that it wasn't designed for the small screen. It looks really, really great on my OLED 1080p TV, where I think it is meant to be played. Little things like HUD element size are too small for my eyes on the little screen. The FOV is not quite right for the small screen either. Not deal killers, but also things that could be fixed in a patch.
The Pro controller is a very nice "on the couch" controller. Very solid. No lag time. The analog sticks are fine, although I much prefer a mouse for camera controls, but that is my age talking.
I am totally loving this little thing. It's well put together, the only game I care about is Zelda, so the software is great. I think Nintendo has a potential home run here.
I'm pretty sure they always like to sell out as a marketing ploy anyway
Overproducing just throws money away, means you need to push back your launch date longer, or build much more manufacturing than you'll ever need again.
Isn't this one of the major pain points for many small companies that put stuff up? Correctly gauging 1) how much it costs to mass produce something and 2) how many they actually will sell?
If you are in charge of Nintendo... and you put something out like the Wii, Nintendo Class, etc... how do you expect to get the amount sold right on the first shot?
In my opinion? It's a damn hard problem... it only takes a little bit of internet power - everyone going ape shit over something inconsequential - and BAM what you expected to sell 1 million units is now out of stock and you have millions of people mad.
Now that millions of people want it... will they still want it in 6 months when you ramp up production or is the fad over?
People make it seem like this is an easy question to answer... where is the millions your willing to put on the line for similar questions...
I'd pull numbers out of thin air.
> If you are in charge of Nintendo... and you put something out like the Wii, Nintendo Class, etc... how do you expect to get the amount sold right on the first shot?
by using some of the hundreds of millions in profits to do some fucking research. This isn't a small company.
Look at any number of "ZOMG MY KID MUST HAVE THIS!!!" items - from Tickle Me Elmo to Pogs to whatever the flavor'of'the'year is... that everyone had to get last year and now no one wants.
And... if they sell 1 million in December... then make another million for January... whats to say the "Market" is 3 million? or 30M? or 300k? Are the millions that wanted it in December still in the market or has the fad faded?
Companies have lost busted from making too many unsold items...
Ramping up demand doesn't happen over night... and sitting on unsold inventory isn't something companies want to do.
There isn't much info online about this. Just old forum posts.
Semi-relevant. Breath of Wild looks like such a fantastic game, but it's completely ridiculous that the performance is often times WORSE in the docked mode. I'm hoping this is just crappy porting issues, and can be patched. But running only 900p, and getting 20fps shouldn't be tolerated.
We know this started as a WiiU game, i'm wondering if this is another twilight princess where they did very little except up the resolution for the new console and we're not really seeing what the machine is capable of.
It's 2017! 1080p or 60fps should be the minimum. To be fair that's not doable at $300 on a mobile gpu, but as a console that's rough.
re: screen + dock = scratches:
Some really odd design choices. v2 should be nice, though.
Perhaps input lag is the wrong term or you just aren't looking but even just walking out into the starting area framerates start to drop and the game becomes noticeably slower. Try it in undocked mode and it's very obvious.
If you are used to playing at higher framerates (which isn't uncommon seeing as other big console exclusives are 60fps usually at 1080p) it's a real difference.
It is possible on a $300 device, it's just that the Switch has lots of other design considerations (modularity, hardware controller costs) that drive the cost substantially up. You can definitely make a simple $300 tablet with good 3D performance, and indeed that's exactly what the Nvidia Shield is.
Also it's really down to the software. They could have targeted 1080p resolution with 60fps with the new Zelda but they would have had to make sacrifices on draw distance, effects, texture resolution, poly count, etc.
Not personally aware of any games as full-formed as BotW that are running on $300 mobile sets. Though this could just be poorly optimized, which makes it more disappointing.
Why isn't the screen glass?!
Durability when handled roughly by children?
It could be the stronger glass Apple is using is too expensive for the price point Nintendo is aiming at
Also adults think nothing of putting huge padded cases on kids' iPads. I can't be bothered with a case for my phone.
Played it tonight. Very very nice, my kids love it.
I'll buy a Switch in a year once there's more games and they have the kinks worked out. If I feel like playing Breath again, I'll get it second hand.
To my untrained eyes, the Wii U version seems perfectly fine.
Though so far the atmosphere isn't as deep as the Zelda games have done in the past.
Though I thought Skyward Sword was just annoying so this is a relief.
Has there ever been a v2 of a nintendo console?
The DSi was an upgrade to the DS but not a whole new console generation.
The Wii Mini was a downgrade (seriously) to the Wii to make it cheaper/smaller.
The New 3DS was an upgrade to the 3DS similar to the DS->DSi upgrade.
Plus all of the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance models which you could argue were often more revisions with some new features but still compatible than a totally new product.
Such as the Gameboy SP and then Micro which were totally new designs for the Gameboy Advance with a better screen but otherwise the same console.
Gameboy > Gameboy Pocket
Gameboy Advance > Gameboy Advance SP > Gameboy Micro
DS > DS Lite > DSi
3DS > New 3DS
Some of these revisions even had their own sub-revisions or regional variants like the Gameboy Lite. The Gameboy Color is the only one I can think of they didn't revise significantly, but you could argue that the Color itself was a huge revision of the Gameboy Pocket with a Colour screen.
TV consoles are a different story. The NES and SNES had later variants, and there's the afterthought Wii Mini, and that's all I can think of.
Not to mention
In any case, yeah, hopefully they'll improve it a bit with future patches.
The hardware actually looks like the ideal form factor for me right now (I have young kids, so it's hard to sneak to the den for those marathon gaming sessions), but honestly the thing I really care about is the software.
So far I don't want to switch to a classical controller. Especially since I use the gyroscope of the right joycon in order to aim more precisely.
With the joycons, I kinda wish I could draw a bow with both joycon in order to aim.
Not sure if that would work, but I would like an easier way to aim precisely. Right now I am starting to miss my mouse.
The worst they can do is just own the portable market, and sell a few iterations of a console to their diehards, which are numerous.
I mean... assuming by then it's not clearly another WiiU or worse.
And this seems unjustifiable given how well the same chipset does in the NVIDIA Shield, which is capable of driving 4k games just fine.
There shouldn't be one game per franchise per platform...
But... they have more than "The Triad". To plagarize someone else:
> Nintendo has Zelda (action/adventure), Xeno series (JRPG), Fire Emblem (SRPG), Mario (Platformer, Kart Racer, RPG, Sports), Pikmin (RTS), StarFox (Dogfighter, on rails shooter), Splatoon (TPS), Kirby (Platformer/Action), Animal Crossing (Simulation), Pokemon (JRPG), Metroid (Platformer/Shooter, FPS), Smash Bros (Fighter).
If they could release those on a regular schedule AND stoke the fires for 3rd party? And damn if being based on Unity won't kick THAT fire... They will own the next few years.
You think they will want to be limited by someone else and give up that freedom? Didn't work out real well for Sega...
One... no one knows what they don't have until you show them or you create it. The Wii Remote is a key point. Wildly popular yet would have been dismissed as "no one asked for it".
Two... The Switch is what everyone is asking for: Portability. Phones, tablets, etc. People want to do stuff on the go.
You can blame a "rabid fanbase"... but it would't be such a large fanbase or such a rabid fanbase if they weren't being given what they wanted - whether or not its asked for.
Sony was hyping 1080p on the PS3 in 2006. Granted, they didn't reach it most times, but when you are releasing a console more than a decade later, people have expectations.
Some other companies (not necessarily related to games) work this way, but it's probably very difficult to overcome the resistance that pushes you towards the tech specs: both the press and investors often just have the thing "on paper" to make decisions and influence the company greatly, and obviously massive tech specs are easier to convey this way than "fun" or any kind of "experience".
ps: I wonder if having a dock will enable Nintendo to palliate perf with future hardware extension or replacements: a "HD dock".
In an ARM System on a Chip (SoC) like the Switch uses, the GPU is on the same chip as the main processor and very tightly integrated with the rest of the hardware. It's much more difficult to decouple this from the main unit. I don't doubt that USB 3.0 could handle the raw speed, but I doubt seriously it could keep up with the latency demanded by most applications.
An HD dock would almost necessitate an entire higher power SoC in the dock, and some way to synchronize the state between that and the one in the main system to pull off the system's characteristic fast-docking for which it's named. It's possible, but at that point it's less "offloading" and more "here's an actual high-power console that reads its data from the tablet."
Nintendo even has a page up already that just says "send them back"
I suspect they'll end up releasing a new model of controller that doesn't have these issues but it's really hard to believe this wasn't found during development.
If the browser was stressing the system to the limits of the thermal envelope, then by being able to dissapate heat faster, you can schedule more work to be done delaying any kind of frequency governing.
e.g., if I start an h264 encode, first my CPU boosts, reaching 3.3 GHz (it's a 2.7 GHz i7), but after a minute, it's dropped to 2.4 GHz due to the thermals. Wouldn't surprise me if I stuck it in a freezer it would stay at a higher frequency.
If it's thermal throttling, then cooling is going to help.
Heat dissipation is a real issue for many devices.
It's hard to figure out. Check out the unit next to the Wii U tablet and the latter looks very much like a clunky cheap toy. Everything here seems well-designed (don't scratch your screen on the dock though), the joycons are very clever. I must admit tablet mode with them is just okay and they are undersized in every way compared to other controllers, but snapped onto the controller shell you forget it isn't just a regular controller. Very cool.
The hardware though? It makes me nervous. I get at $300 and what Nintendo was going for you don't have much of an alternative. Maybe I'm spoiled but 900p upscaled at 30 fps with drops when docked feels wrong in 2017. The game (BotW) is beautiful and controls wonderfully but the lag is noticeable at times for me and the lack of fluidity hurts the experience. Oddly enough playing at 720p undocked isn't slow at all and on the small screen looks great. I kind of drool at the thought of this upscaled to 4k at 60fps and that and it wouldn't be hard on modern hardware. Maybe a remaster or emulator?
It very much feels like a mobile device you can dock versus a home console you can take with you. Just not sure how much headroom is in the hardware to make this last for three or four years without major compromises.
Does anyone else have an impression?
>It very much feels like a mobile device you can dock versus a home console you can take with you.
I definitely agree that it feels like a 3DS successor rather than a Wii U successor. That wouldn't surprise me if you consider how well the 3DS does compared to the Wii U. I'm playing the Zelda on the portable more than on the TV.
>Just not sure how much headroom is in the hardware to make this last for three or four years without major compromises.
If you look at the 3DS which still has most games running on the same hardware from 2011, I can see the Switch lasting three years without requiring a refresh. Maybe a small one like the New 3DS is to the 3DS.
* ARM11 MPCore 4x @ 268MHz
* 4x VFPv2 Co-Processor
* 256MB FCRAM
* 10MB VRAM
* Dedicated Hardware Video Decoder
(* It also can play SNES Virtual Console games and can also play Xenoblade Chronicles for New 3DS)
(* The menu screen is also substantially faster)
* ARM11 MPCore 2x @ 268MHz
* 2x VFPv2 Co-Processor
* 128MB FCRAM
* 6MB VRAM
You are not wrong. I appears docked has the hiccups.
That if you don't like upscaled 900p at 30 fps, you shouldn't be buying a half-assed device that pretends it can be called a next-gen "console", when in fact it's a glorified tablet?
But really I just like trying new tech.
It's a much harder Zelda game, feels somewhat like Dark Souls in the combat department. I died at least 5 times an hour due to overwhelming enemies. It's a blast!
One thing I love about the Switch is that even if my controllers get busted I can just buy another pair of joycons. With the Wii U it was really stressful to remind the kids to be careful because you have to send in the gamepad for repairs.
I'd assume the "speaker ports" are either for air flow, or the entire case works as a resonance chamber and wave guide.
Are there other reasonable options?
In the old days cartridge ROM was just mapped into the system RAM so you could address game assets without necessarily having to load them into system RAM, thus you could get by with far less RAM than you'd expect.
-- edit Another benefit is not having to install/uninstall the game to manage space
I am a bit underwhelmed by their decision to compromise the usability of the right Joycon - moving the analog stick below the digital buttons is certainly bad for US/European bigger hands, bad for ergonomic reasons, an unreasonable trade off.
I am underwhelmed by their decision to add no additional fan to the Dock. It's just s piece of very cheap locking plastic that might scratches your screen. It could have cooled the Switch and get out more performance out of the GPU (now they have to underclock it).
I am a bit underwhelmed by the Joycon grip, that is not very ergonomic for larger hand, and is just a piece of cheap plastic. The Pro controller looks good, but it costs extra $ 70 ($ 20 mote than PS4/X1).
I am a bit underwhelmed that the Joycons have no analog trigger buttons. Already with Wii U the analog triggers were greatly missed in e.g. Lego City Undercover, the car acceleration was all or nothing which pales compared to GTA gameplay on PS4/X1/PC.
I am a bit underwhelmed about the tear down, while good executed it lacked the final tear down and analytics of the core components like the "haptics engine" and the SoC board incl ARM chips.
I am looking forward to a revised model at the end of 2017 that fixes things. Maybe even a XL or XS version would be great - like the New 3DS XL which was a greatly improved and better for larger hands. The ergonomics of the Wii U gamepad better than the Switch too, maybe they can adopt ideas in a revised version.
The disappointment for me is the high cost of the controllers even after sacrificing something like this.
I am not clear why they are having performance issues but the NVIDIA Shield I have, based around the same or even earlier version chipset, is capable of outputing 4k games to my TV at quite excellent frame rates.
The touch screen should always be available in both modes, otherwise not useful to developers.
A second screen experience would have been nice so they could unify DS and Switch developer experiences.
They should have by default made people's Wii U virtual console purchases transfer to the Switch, as a token of good will and to encourage initial purchases of the console before other games are out.
There's no compelling reason to buy it for the new Zelda game as the Wii U version is just as good as the Switch version (so that's what I bought).
Unfortunately unless this product drops a bunch in price and takes over their DS niche, I am not sure it's going to do that well.
I also agree that they should let you transfer purchases. They seem intent on making everyone buy Super Mario Bros over and over. Tjey might lose some profit there, but it would buy them so much in their customer relationships.
Could it have anything to do with Zelda's engine?
When Street Fighter V moved to the Unreal Engine, it used way more resources than its predecessor even though it didn't really look that much better.
I went from being able to play Street Fighter IV in 4K/60fps at max settings to 1080p/60fps at slightly less than max settings for Street Fighter V on my laptop with a GeForce 860M.
While I don't have hard facts, I suspect the engine change might have had a lot to do with the lower performance.
It wouldn't really need this extra performance.
When docked, the Switch goes from 720 to 1080p. This is 2.25 times more pixels. When docked, clock rate goes from 302 to 768 Mhz. This is 2.5 times more ops. This design means that developers can write the game optimized for 1080 and 720 will perform more or less the same without any modifications.
Increasing the power envelope for docked mode would only work if developers had to put the effort of selectively toggling some effects in portable mode and actually profiling the game for both 720 and 1080 separately. That's a lot of extra development costs for what I can only imagine to be a modest perf gain with better cooling and clocking higher.
I wonder if the Joy-Cons will be changed out on people's systems more than controllers usually are. They're almost a fashion accessory in the tablet/portable mode.
Here's some highlights:
- Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-vJxez9UF8
- Hammer Drill Mechanism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joetVGrMfAY
- Blendtec Blender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA0kiYqyBmo
- KitchenAid Mixer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qKp-0h9P18
- $500 Mining Flashlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te06Y26Hyiw
IF you like the teardowns then EEVBlog  goes without saying for an electronics-perspective. I learn a lot just by watching him mess around and take apart piles upon piles of gear. It strikes me as him making the videos he wanted to see when he was a kid.
 - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5NO8MgTQKHAWXp6z8Xl7yQ
 - https://www.youtube.com/user/EEVblog
edit: Another good channel is Clickspring, right now he is building that ancient greek mechanical computer thing which was found in a shipwreck.
Keep away all body parts from the vise
Similarly, bigclivedotcom does almost exclusively electronics teardowns. Usually cheap gadgets from Chinese eBay sellers. A lot less profanity than AvE too, haha.
He also does a few build projects, sometimes with stories, and it's strangely... relaxing.
Gosh, I never thought I'd see his name pop up in a YT discussion on HN. This is great stuff.
+ they've done the other Nintendo controllers:
If you are somewhat anonymous (Officer401) it makes sense to roll some video with voiceovers. But this video felt like a voiceover and a completely pointless one at that.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13789762 and marked it off-topic.
You seem to be trolling, got it.