What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

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Nintendo’s big Switch reveal is just days away! Here’s what the company will likely discuss.

Nintendo has a lot to discuss in January, as the company heads into a presentation where it will go in-depth on its latest gaming hardware, called the Nintendo Switch. The presentation will be streamed live at 8pm PT / 11pm ET on January 12 (that’s 4am GMT / 2pm AEST on January 13 from Japan (IGN will have preshow lead in and post stream analysis, so make sure you tune in for that). Nintendo plans to launch its home console portable hybrid this March.

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The Nintendo Switch teaser video from last October kicked off a lot of excitement for the new system. The video showed us the main concept: the Switch can swap between playing games on your television and a portable mode, where you can enjoy the same software on the go. The system uses detachable Joy-Con controllers and a dock connected to your TV. As a result of its ultra-limited presentation, the company has a lot of explaining to do. Here’s everything we know about the system and what we expect the company will show.

Price, Date, and Accessories

At the company’s latest investor meeting, president Tatsumi Kimishima told attendees the upcoming livestream presentation would “include the launch date and pricing for Nintendo Switch, as well as a look at the lineup of games currently in development.” For a gaming system coming out in March, this is a top priority Nintendo needs to communicate effectively.

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Also, Kimishima hinted there’s more hardware to talk about in an interview with Bloomberg. “But in terms of the various ways you can play, you will have to see it together with the software and accessories that we’ll have, which we will reveal in January,” he said. “In terms of attachments to the core part that is the Switch, it may be appropriate to call them accessories. Or it might be better to call them add-on hardware. It’s probably more correct to call them accessories. You can assume that there will be a wider array.”

But What About Software?

Nintendo will ultimately focus on demos, titles, and release dates for big, first-party games shown briefly in the teaser video. It means you can expect finalized names, trailers, and gameplay for the new 3D Mario game, Mario Kart Switch, and Splatoon. With these last two specific pieces of software, the company has to show the audience what makes them different from Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon on Wii U, especially if they want to entice those customers to buy the Switch version. It’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll see The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but hopefully Nintendo will let us wander out of the Great Plateau and into new adventures. Finally, it would make sense for Nintendo to surprise the audience with unannounced games, like the rumored Smash Bros. port or other brands the company has been working on in secret.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

The original Nintendo Switch tease gave fans a look at the dock that outputs video to the TV. It also showed us a TV indicator light and two USB ports. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

This is layout of the Joy-Con Grip accessory. Rumors from Let’s Play Video games and Emily Rogers suggest the button located on the bottom left is a share button. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

According to a Eurogamer report, the Nintendo Switch uses an IR (infrared) sensor as a pointer similar to the Wii when the system is docked. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

The initial Nintendo Switch teaser gave us a tiny glimpse at the shoulder buttons of the individual Joy-Cons. A patent filed by Nintendo confirmed this late last year. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

The Nintendo Switch is rumored to be a multi-touch screen for its games, as reported by Emily Rogers and Eurogamer. A patent filed by Nintendo identified the system would use touchscreen technology.

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What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

OK, we’re stating the obvious here. But this is the system’s pro controller. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

When the Nintendo Switch shown at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, we got a better look at the back of the device and identified as many ports as we could. Rumors suggest the system could expand its storage using a MircoSD card. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

During the Tonight Show segment in December, we got a look at the USB Type-C at the bottom of the device. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

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But what about Bethesda’s port of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the NBA game that was shown in the Switch video? Bethesda could confirm their Skyrim port, but we wouldn’t be surprised if 2K waits until they announce the next NBA2K for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC later this year. Nintendo could also win us over by showing us more third-party, indie games, eShop games, and the next step for the Virtual Console on Nintendo Switch.

What’s Coming After Launch?

Nintendo could nail the stage presentation and the launch lineup, but it also needs to paint a clear picture of what’s coming later. And that might be the company’s biggest hurdle. How do you effectively tease the future without bumping up against the most important first-party showcase in Electronic Entertainment Expo in June? Nintendo has had a strange presence at E3 the last few years, but even it has to admit that having the right game at the show means a lot. How else would you explain Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s success as an E3 Game of Show winner, despite only being playable on Wii U?

Nintendo needs to pull off a careful juggling act during the Switch presentation. One that outlines the system, its launch games, third-party games. But, at the same time, the company need to leave some breathing room for more announcements at E3.

Jose Otero is an Editor at IGN and host of Nintendo Voice Chat. You can follow him on Twitter.