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Nintendo to unveil Switch next week

Nintendo is finally ready to fully reveal more details of its new gaming system, the Switch.

After more than two years of speculation, followed by a brief trailer showcasing the hardware capabilities, followed by several more months of speculation, Nintendo will unveil to the world next week everything there is to know about the Switch, including launch date, price and games. For Nintendo faithful, it's like the second coming of Christmas  a new hardware launch following the apathetic response to the Wii U and the restrained acceptance of the 3DS. 

The best  and perhaps worst  aspect of the Switch? Its possibly game-changing positioning as a hybrid console  a home game system that can be taken on the go as a handheld. Before the rise of smartphones, this would have been the greatest development in the gaming industry. Today, when everyone carries an iPhone or Android smartphone in his or her pocket and can pull up "Clash of Clans," "Angry Birds" or "Pokemon Go" at any point, is there still a market for the Switch? Nintendo sure hopes so, as do its faithful. Meanwhile, everyone else just wants to know what the Switch really is. 

All signs point to a possible Switch launch sometime in mid-March, which would make it the quickest turnaround from unveiling to release since Sega went on stage at E3 1995 and announced the Sega Saturn would be available that very day. Nintendo has been working on this hardware for several years, so it should fare more successfully than Sega's bungled move more than 20 years ago. 

The internal hardware won't be as impressive as early reports might have indicated. The Switch will still be the most powerful Nintendo console yet and certainly the most powerful handheld device, but it will still pale in comparison to the PlayStation 4 and possibly the Xbox One. An examination of the internal components puts the power somewhere between the Wii U and Xbox One, though that's a pretty wide gap in itself. That won't matter for Nintendo first-party developers, as they've always managed to do wonderful things with each system. But it could make it interesting for third-party support, which Nintendo has struggled with since the days of the Nintendo 64. The Switch should be able to at least accept somewhat downgraded ports of current generation games, but if the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio manage to gain good footholds, developers could start targeting those increased specifications more and leave Nintendo behind, once again. 

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