Now that we all have had a few days to digest the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer we can begin to dig into the cloud of information that has followed the grand announcement. So let us begin with the first tidbit that came out as we were recording our initial reactions Thursday night.

Shortly before the Switched was teased, it was reported that Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima will meet with press next Wednesday and analysts on Thursday but Nintendo would be skipping their Corporate strategy meeting. So while there still exists that we learn something this week, it seems likely that we won’t be hearing any further details on the Nintendo Switch until 2017. I think, at first glance, this news sounds crazy. Nintendo just created 10 million (and still counting) YouTube hits with the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer, why would they not capitalize on the wave? My only explanation comes with the timing. The Switch isn’t expected to reach consumers until March 2017. Between now and release day, we have the World Series, Halloween, a Presidential Election, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Years Eve, College Football, the Super Bowl and whatever else buzz-worthy event that pops up. That’s a lot of events that will generate news and buzz both within the gaming community as well as the general population. Add in the gaming related news that will inevitably come with Call of Duty, the PlayStation 4 Pro, Watchdogs 2, Dishonored 2, and The Last Guardian and there’s quite a lot of gaming news still yet to come in 2016. By waiting until 2017 to officially let the cat out of the bag, Nintendo gets to push their message in a window that is outside of all of these buzz-worthy impacts regardless of audience and capitalize on the excitement that the shorter release window has already provided. A second benefit to keeping quiet on the Nintendo Switch for now is the ability to continue to focus on the 3DS and the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon release. I know in this day and age of information we all want to know RIGHT NOW, but on several fronts Nintendo is being smart to push their grand unveiling to 2017.

Battery Life

With the Nintendo Switch’s trailer showcasing a portable unit with console level graphical output a logical immediate reaction is to worry about battery life.

Due to Nintendo showcasing the “home-consoles” portability so much during the trailer, its fair to want to know the performance of the device when you decide to take it on the go. The leaks & rumors from”sources” and more notably Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) and Emily Rogers (@ArcadeGirl64) place the current battery life around 3 hours. While many may criticize that life-span for being too short, I pulled some statistics for comparison:

  • IGN’s self test of the PlayStation Vita running games & apps at 75% brightness lasted 4.5 hours.
  • Depending on the game, the 3DS XL currently lasts between 3.5 and 5 hours while playing a game.
  • You’ll read many iPad battery life comparisons between 7-10 hours, but remember, these ranges aren’t while pushing gaming graphics that would rival a traditional console.

It’s worth mentioning that the Wii U’s gamepad lasted roughly 4 hours on a single charge and the PlayStation 4’s DS4 controller has a battery life of roughly 4-5 hours. These are just controllers with minimal internal processing when compared to the design of the Nintendo Switch. Let us not forget that according to Digital Trends, the Nintendo Switch should be able to provide performance that competes with current PS4 and Xbox One games.

We won’t know anything regarding the Switch’s true battery life until Nintendo pops the cork on the hybrid console. However with the evidence that has been gathered, I would surmise that a battery-life consisting of 3 hours of console performance gameplay sounds reasonable. Surely headlines will point to android and iPads having 3 times as much battery life, but these are apples and oranges comparisons.

Do we need more than 3 hours of battery life on a single charge in most cases? Assuming these leaks are true, how often is the average individual away from a power source for more than 3 hours and in a situation where they are continuously gaming? Most bus, car or subway rides are less than 3 hours. As a person who carries a 3DS on my person daily, there have been very few, if any, occasions where I have played my 3DS for longer than 3 hours without having access to a power outlet. Now while this paragraph may come off as a Nintendo-apologist, I just want to present my real life experience as a fan of portable gaming. Do I want the Nintendo Switch to have 12 or 24 hours of gaming battery life? We all want the most for our money. Realistically, if we want to carry a Wii U in our pockets, some concessions will have to be made. Who knows, maybe Nintendo’s Switch will allows us to adjust power settings to get the rumored 3 hours closer to the Vita’s 4.5.