TOKYO (AFP) – Nintendo’s Switch console goes on sale Friday in a global launch seen as key for the Japanese videogame giant to reverse flagging sales and compete with Sony’s top-selling PlayStation 4.
The US$299 (R15,059) unit, which works both at home and on-the-go, blends the Super Mario maker’s history in the console business with its fledgling mobile gaming strategy, which got a big brand win after Pokemon Go’s success last summer.
Kyoto-based Nintendo is aiming to sell more than two million Switch consoles in its first month.
Strong demand for the new unit would help Nintendo close the book on poor sales of its last console, Wii U – the disappointing follow-up to the smash hit Wii, which sold over 100 million units worldwide after its launch a decade ago.
Switch has a removable screen that lets players dock it at home and also use it on the go like a tablet with detachable controllers – called Joy-Con – on both sides.
The idea is to give gamers a more immersive experience with realistic physical sensations matched to what is happening on-screen. A remote control feature means players can take their eyes off the screen to face off, punching the air in a boxing game or getting into a gun duel.