from the go-fetch-me-a-switch dept.
The Nintendo Switch has been an unqualified success so far, with Nintendo recently promising increased holiday season production to meet demand and expectations of over 16 million total sales by the end of March 2018. Reporting now suggests the company is expecting that sales pace to increase markedly in the coming year, though, and another associated production increase would come with both a fair amount of potential and risk for the company.
The production news comes from The Wall Street Journal, which cites "people with direct knowledge of the matter" in reporting that Nintendo plans to make 25 to 30 million Switch units in the coming fiscal year (which starts in April 2018). That's a major increase from the 13 million produced for the current fiscal year, which itself was a sizable increase from the company's initial plans to make just 8 million units for the console's first full year on shelves. WSJ's sources say those production numbers could go up even higher if coming holiday season sales are strong.
The success of the company's latest gaming console, the Nintendo Switch, is the result of lessons taken from the failed Wii U, according to Reggie Fils-Aimé, the president of Nintendo America.
[...] The console also didn't have a consistent flow of new games supporting the system. "We've addressed that with the Nintendo Switch -- having a steady pace of new launches is critical," he said. The Switch includes games like "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," "Super Mario Odyssey" and "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe."
Another issue with the Wii U was that it didn't have "strong support" from Nintendo's third-party partners, Fils-Aimé said. "Whether it's the big companies like Electronic Arts, or whether it's the smaller independent developer, we need those companies to create content to support us. We have that now with Nintendo Switch," he said.
Previously: Will Third-Party Developers Support Nintendo's Switch?
Nintendo Switch Available on March 3rd for $299
Nintendo Switch Stolen by Distributor's Employees Ahead of Launch, Details Leaked
The Ghost in Nintendo's Switch - Game Unlocks on the Date of Satoru Iwata's Death
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As we get closer and closer to Nintendo's January 12 announcement of additional Nintendo Switch details—and an expected March launch for the hybrid portable/home console—we're starting to get more information on what kind of support the system might get from third-party developers.
The most interesting tidbit comes from Laura Kate Dale, who's come through with a number of reliable Nintendo Switch leaks in the recent past. Dale's recent tweets suggest Ubisoft's long-anticipated Beyond Good & Evil 2 will reportedly be "exclusive to Switch for 12 months," and the game will come to Xbox One, PS4, and PC only after that time. That information should be confirmed at Nintendo's January reveal, according to Dale.
[...] Unfortunately for Nintendo, not every developer is as interested in bringing big-name titles to the Switch. In an interview with Oceanic gaming site Stevivor, Bioware's Michael Gamble said he had no plans to bring the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda to the Switch at this point. However, Gamble did leave some wiggle room: "if the Switch launches and everyone's just yammering for Mass Effect, who knows. We never want to close doors like that."
The level of high-quality support that the Switch receives from third-party developers could be a make-or-break question for the console. Will the upcoming Nintendo Switch be a Wii U-style abandoned island, with no one but Nintendo to make compatible games? Will it be a Wii-style repository of third-party shovelware that lacks competent ports of the big-budget games made for competing consoles? Or will it be a return to the SNES era, the last time a Nintendo home console was unquestionably one of the primary destinations for major games from most third-party publishers.
Nintendo Switch uses a USB Type-C cable for charging, and has a battery life ranging from 2.5 to 6.5 hours, comparable to (but less than) the latest version of the Nintendo 3DS XL. It can be played in Console, Handheld, and Tabletop modes. The handheld has a 6.2" 720p screen but the docked console supports 1080p60 gaming.
The Switch has 32 GB of internal storage, some of which is used for the operating system. It has a "game card slot" for games released on some form of proprietary physical flash media, but also comes with a standard microSD slot for expandable storage.
Nintendo will offer a free trial of a paid online gameplay service for the Switch (similar to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus) until sometime in Autumn.
The system will be released on March 3, 2017 for $299.
Here are some of the games.
On Wednesday, a video surfaced of a Nintendo Switch in use, which gave us a good look at the device's software and how its menus work. Nintendo claims that the device in question had been stolen from a distributor.
The maker of the video had claimed that the Switch was a preorder that had shipped early, but walked those statements back. In a statement made to IGN, Nintendo said that the device and others had been stolen by the employee of a US distributor, and the one in the video had been resold.
Earlier this week, individuals claimed to prematurely purchase a small number of Nintendo Switch systems from an unspecified retailer. Nintendo has determined these units were stolen in an isolated incident by employees of a U.S. distributor, with one system being illegally resold. The individuals involved have been identified, terminated from their place of employment and are under investigation by local law enforcement authorities on criminal charges.
Kotaku runs a story about the game that "spontaneously" unlocks on the date of the death of Satoru Iwata:
When a Switch owner named Setery told a gaming forum about how NES Golf randomly appeared on her Switch's screen, commenters accused her console of being haunted. Switch hackers' subsequent race to unearth NES Golf now indicates that there's a hidden game on the console and, actually, it appears to be a heartwarming tribute to the deceased Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata.
[...] Prior to heading Nintendo, Iwata was a programmer... The story goes that, after several developers turned down the task of developing the NES's Golf, Iwata found a way to fit the game's 18-hole course onto a cartridge's modest memory.
On July 11th, 2015, Iwata succumbed to cancer at age 55. As Nintendo CEO, Iwata was known for his "Iwata Asks" column on Nintendo's website and his appearances at major Nintendo events. Thanks to Nintendo Directs, he also became associated with a very specific gesture.
[...] Fast forward to early summer, 2017, when hackers discovered a hidden NES emulator on the Switch referred to as "Flog," Ars Technica reports. "We thought they had included it during manufacturing by mistake," Plutoo, one of the Switch hackers... Last weekend, bored, Plutoo decided to look into it. ... He says he discovered two intriguing details: "The code looked for the date July 11th, and the code right before seemed to enable the 'Joycon sixaxis' motion sensors."
Nintendo hopes that "every single person" will own a Nintendo Switch, and that it can prolong the life cycle of the console to beyond 5-6 years.
Maybe Linux on Switch could help?
[Hacker] group Fail0verflow has claimed to have found a Nintendo Switch hack.
The group has posted the picture of Switch booting a Debian GNU/Linux installation. The picture also shows a serial adapter connected to one Joy-Con docks. Notably, Fail0verflow is the same group that hacked Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3.
What makes this Nintendo Switch hack special is that it can't be patched in the currently released consoles. This is because the exploit was found in the boot ROM process of Nvidia Tegra X1 chips that can't be patched with software or firmware updates.
That's not all. This hack to run Linux doesn't even need a mod chip to run.
Also at TechCrunch.
Yesterday, hackers Plutoo, Derrek, and Naehrwert were at the 34C3 hacking conference in Germany to give a presentation on their kernel hacks on the Nintendo Switch (video below). Hacker Yellows8 wasn't there but was also credited for some of the work that led to this presentation.
[...] They detail in particular the sm:hax exploit (which consists in skipping an initialization step for a service, which results in the service manager thinking the service has pid 0,
making it rootgiving it additional privileges*), as well as the hardware glitching process that was used to get the Kernel decryption keys. Naehrwert also presents how he bypassed ARM's Trustzone on the Switch, a stunt he insists "is not useful for homebrew, but fun".
One of the highlights of the presentation is how the hackers leveraged the fact that the Nintendo Switch uses an "off the shelf" Nivdia Tegra X1. A GPU that is well documented, and for which debugging hardware can also be officially be acquired at reasonable prices. The X1 documentation in particular gave the hackers detailed information on how to bypass some security of the SMMU (system Memory Management Unit). "Just search for 'bypass the SMMU' in the documentation", Plutoo says. He concludes: "Nvidia Backdoored themselves".
The one caveat to this new homebrew experience is that it is only currently validated for Nintendo Switch 3.0.0 firmware. So, if you want to take part in the festivities, you will need to stay on that firmware and resist the urge to update to a newer build.
Related: The Ghost in Nintendo's Switch - Game Unlocks on the Date of Satoru Iwata's Death
Nintendo to More Than Double Production of Switch; Success Rooted in Wii U's Failure
Nintendo Sells at Least 10 Million Switch Consoles in 2017, 64 GB Game Cards Delayed to 2019
34th Chaos Communication Congress (34C3) Presentations Online
As of mid-December, Nintendo sold 10 million Switch consoles worldwide, after around 9 months of availability. The Switch outpaced sales of most other consoles in their initial months, except for the PS4.
Some big titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (an influence on Zelda: Breath of the Wild) have been ported to Nintendo Switch. But the ability to port certain games may be hindered by the delayed release of 64 GB "game cards" (proprietary ROM cartridges) for the system:
Those wishing for 64GB Nintendo Switch game cards will have to keep waiting. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Nintendo pushed back the rollout of 64GB game cards until 2019, citing "technical issues" as the problem. Game developers get Switch cards from Nintendo, so this means that they'll have to wait to get game cards that can support big titles.
[...] Nintendo initially attempted to alleviate the storage issue with the Switch's microSD card slot, which can hold an extra 2TB of space. However, 2TB microSD cards aren't available yet, and not every microSD card is the same. Some big titles require high-speed microSD cards to run properly.
While many mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch can support up to 2 TB of microSD storage, the largest currently in production is SanDisk's 400 GB card, which currently retails for $250.