Category Archives: Switch

Nintendo: Switch shortages are “definitely not intentional”

Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

Since the days of the NES, people have accused Nintendo of intentionally underproducing hardware in order to drive an artificial feeding frenzy of demand in the marketplace. With the Nintendo Switch remaining nearly impossible to find at retailers nationwide, those same accusations of "false scarcity" have been bubbling up in certain corners.

Nintendo Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta wants to push back on those accusations. "It's definitely not intentional in terms of shorting the market," he told Ars in a recent interview. "We're making it as fast as we can. We want to get as many units out as we can to support all the software that's coming out right now... our job really is to get it out as quick as we can, especially for this holiday because we want to have units on shelves to support Super Mario Odyssey."

Far from intentional, Scibetta says the shortages are simply a result of Nintendo underestimating the interest in the system. "We anticipated there was going to be demand for it, but the demand has been even higher than we thought," he said. "We had a good quantity for launch, we sold 2.7 million worldwide in that first month, said we're going to have 10 million [more] by the end of the fiscal year... Unfortunately, we're in a situation right now where as quick as it's going into retail outlets it's being snapped up. It's a good problem to have, but we're working very hard to try and meet demand."

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Mario’s new tricks make Super Mario Odyssey a joy

Check out the infectious joy as Ars Technica's editors try Super Mario Odyssey for the first time. (video link)

As the kind of Mario fan who created a successful Super Mario Bros. fan site at age 15, I'm pretty familiar with how the series has slowly evolved over the years. It's striking, looking back, how Mario's standard repertoire of moves, abilities, and power-ups grows slowly with each new title, integrating novel gameplay that immediately feels as tried-and-true as Mario's standard jump.

Super Mario Odyssey continues this tradition with a larger-than-normal expansion of Mario's abilities, something that's apparent even in a too-short E3 hands-on demo of the game. I thought I'd summarize my time with Odyssey by going over the additions that made the biggest impression on me.

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“Core” Pokemon RPG, Metroid Prime 4 coming to Nintendo Switch

LOS ANGELES—During a livestreamed presentation Tuesday morning, Nintendo announced a "core Pokemon RPG" title, as well as an in-development sequel to the Metroid Prime series, both for Nintendo Switch.

The Game Freak-developed Pokemon RPG "may not release for more than a year, but we hope you look forward to it all the same," Pokemon Company's Tsuenkazu Ishihara said on the stream. "What kind of Pokemon game will we be able to play on Nintendo Switch? I'm looking forward to trying it myself," Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi added. No further information was offered.

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A single controller line that works on the NES and the Switch

Enlarge / Finally, a good alternative to the standard Switch Joy-Cons and Pro Controller. (credit: 8bitdo)

For all the known issues with Bluetooth wireless devices, it's pretty incredible to have a single standard that lets devices connect wirelessly to all sorts of different hardware. Case in point: the 8bitdo line of classic controllers which, thanks to a new firmware update today, is now compatible with the Switch in addition to classic consoles like the NES and SNES, plus PCs and mobile phones to boot.

Of course, the classic consoles don't support wireless controllers natively—for that you'll need to invest in a Retro Receiver that plugs in to the appropriate controller port. With those attached, though, it's now possible to take a single controller from a Nintendo system released in 1985 to one released in 2017 without even dealing with any wires.

We tested the basic NES30 edition of the controller with the Switch this afternoon, and we found the controller more than up to the task of playing games like Mario Kart 8 and Puyo Puyo Tetris. The controller's design, which mimics the old NES controller pretty accurately, makes it infinitely more enjoyable to use than the tiny Switch Joy-Cons, which we've found hand-crampingly awful when held horizontally as individual game pads.

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EA goes from cautious to “bullish” on Nintendo Switch support

Enlarge / EA's recent comments suggest the company will be bringing more than just FIFAto the Nintendo Switch before too long.

As Nintendo continues to celebrate an incredibly strong launch for its hybrid Switch console, a looming question remains about whether major third-party publishers will lend significant software support to the system. In a recent earnings call, mega-publisher Electronic Arts suggested that strong hardware sales may be convincing the company to give the system a second look.

“We feel really good about it," EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in response to a question about the Switch in a recent earnings call. "We have a tremendous relationship with Nintendo and have done for many, many years and are excited by the fact that they have come out very strong and are bringing in a whole new player base into the ecosystem. We continue to be bullish on it and are looking at other titles that we might bring to the Switch."

Though Wilson used the word "continue" in his response, Electronic Arts hasn't exactly been full-throated in its Switch support thus far. Back in November, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said that the company was only planning "a game or two" for the Switch, while expressing skepticism about the system's wider appeal. "It's an interesting device. But I can't yet predict how broad it's going to be," he said. "Will people be interested in a portable device alongside their regular portable device that they have today?"

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A taste of what virtual reality could be on the Nintendo Switch

This short video lays out how to test stereoscopic 3D on your Nintendo Switch right now.

Though Nintendo executives have hinted that the company might be interested in testing out the virtual reality waters, the most concrete look we've gotten at any potential plans comes from this patent application for a head-mounted Switch holster. An enterprising YouTuber wasn't willing to wait for that patent to become a product, though, and has jury-rigged an ersatz Switch "VR" demo using existing hardware and some system-level software hacks.

Nintendrew's video lays it all out pretty concisely, but in short, the test inserts the Switch into the Durovis Dive 7, a head-mounted VR holster designed for Tango-powered tablets. From there, it's just a matter of using a server proxy hack to access the Switch's hidden Web browser functionality, then using that to view some stereoscopic 720p footage of Ocarina of Time 3D captured for YouTube.

The result is a very limited demonstration of what virtual reality could be like on the Switch, lacking any sort of head-tracking or even controls. Still, as Nintendrew points out, it's "a full 3D experience on real Nintendo Switch hardware."

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After Nintendo Switch, does the 3DS have a future?

Nintendo has recently said that its portable 3DS still has "has a long life in front of it" and that it will "coexist just fine in the marketplace" alongside the recently launched hybrid Switch. Last night's announcement of a new 2DS XL redesign also suggests Nintendo might not be done supporting its aging portable platform, despite the Switch's monumental market success so far.

If recent history is any guide, though, the 3DS will only enjoy a few more years of active support from Nintendo before being fully phased out.

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Nintendo plans to ship 10 million Switch consoles in the next year

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For months now, Nintendo has said it planned to ship 2 million Switch systems to players worldwide in the system's first month of availability. In an earnings report released Thursday, the company announced it had beaten that estimate by nearly 40 percent, shipping 2.74 million systems in March for what it calls "a promising start."

The numbers are no great surprise, at this point. The Switch has seen nearly instant sellouts at major retailers, leading to high markups on eBay's secondary market. Still, the official numbers highlight an incredibly strong start for Nintendo's new hardware.

A strong start is no guarantee of continued success, though. The Wii U sold just over 3 million units in its first six weeks on store shelves before seeing sales quickly deteriorate in 2013 (though that system launched during the busier holiday season).

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Why Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the biggest system seller in history

Enlarge / Breath of the Wild is like an angelic light shining on the totem of the Switch's hardware launch.

The term "system seller" gets thrown around a lot in video games to describe a game that's good enough to justify buying a new console practically on its own. We may have to figure out a new term to apply to a system seller as hot as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, though. In the US, it seems the Switch version of the game is somehow selling better than the system it's played on.

Those numbers come from the NPD group and Nintendo, which report that while the Switch sold 906,000 units in the US in March, the Switch version of Breath of the Wild sold "more than 925,000 units." That's the first instance we can recall where a piece of software has a reported attach rate that's actually higher than 100 percent.

Breath of the Wild's reported sales success doesn't come completely out of the blue. GameStop said last month that the game had an "almost one-to-one attach result" with the Switch hardware, and the title sold to about 91 percent of initial Switch owners in France. Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime also called Breath of the Wild the best standalone launch title in Nintendo history just after the system's US launch.

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