Nintendo has not been doing well at all in the last iterations of the Console Wars. Ever since the Wii emerged and provided a thoroughly exciting gimmick, the whole company has been on a downward spiral ever since. There's some fresh hope for the company in its mobile / console hybrid known as the Nintendo Switch, and new word from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gives us some insight on what's coming up from this system.
While we've known about the system for some time, and a complete event will offer up more information about it on January 12, the new reports from the FCC paint an unusual picture of this new device, at least as far as its connectivity goes. While the new system will have Bluetooth connectivity, it will have neither 3G nor LTE connectivity, instead focusing solely on Wi-Fi.
Here, its focus is not only clear but downright impressive; where the Wii U used a b/g/n Wi-Fi connection, the Switch steps up to Wi-Fi ac.
Further, battery options will be limited; the FCC report noted a non-removable battery. While that's somewhat good news, suggesting that the battery will be charged in the controller, it also removes the option of taking it out and replacing it with a bigger, better battery later. It also poses some unpleasant connotations for what happens when the battery ultimately dies after too many recharges, read, users will have to buy a whole new controller instead of just replacing a battery.
Several other rumors around the system remain unconfirmed either way. The possibility of GameCube emulation, for example, is still potentially on the table as three such games—Super Smash Bros Melee, Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi's Mansion, specifically—have reportedly been tested to run on the system and have been found working. Further word suggests the Switch might be light on power again, working with a maximum graphics processing unit (GPU) clock speed of 768 MHz, putting it substantially behind even this generation's hardware; the Xbox One, for example, boasts an 853 MHz GPU clock speed.
Naturally, the rumors are still rumors and will so remain until word from Nintendo straightens things out. The early word isn't exactly positive; releasing a system into a market that's about to see upgrades—Project Scorpio is expected to release in late 2017, and some word about the PlayStation 5 suggests 2018 may be on line, though that's all shaky right now—could be yet another disaster for Nintendo.
Given that Nintendo's losing much of its mobile advantage to smartphones and the console market to Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo needs to find some winners somewhere or risk ending up like Sega. That advantage may be tough to find, but it will need it nonetheless.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi