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What to expect from the Nintendo Switch event

Nintendo will fully reveal its next home console, the Nintendo Switch, during a livestream on Jan. 12. There’s a lot that we don’t yet know about the system, and while we don’t expect all of our questions to be answered, we know Nintendo will detail some of the most important facts and features.

What can we expect to see and learn during the live presentation? Follow along below for our thoughts.

When’s the Nintendo Switch coming out?

Nintendo has previously pegged the console for a March release window, but the company will reveal the specific date that the Switch is coming to stores.

Whether that’s the beginning or end of March is anyone’s guess. The Switch will travel across the United States as part of a hands-on preview tour starting Jan. 14, and that should wrap up around March 19. We’d imagine the console will launch sometime after that, but that’s pure speculation.

The Nintendo Switch’s price

We’re not sure how much money we should expect to put down to get a Switch, but Nintendo will tell us just how much the system costs during the event. Will it be $250, like the Wii? Or maybe it will cost upward of $350, like the Wii U’s deluxe edition did at launch.

It’s possible that there will be multiple bundles available at stores, like the Wii U had. These could offer different amounts of internal storage — something we also hope to hear more about. (We’re also curious as to the capacity of those little game cards that Switch games come on.)

Either way, start saving up.

The biggest Nintendo Switch launch games

There’s no point in picking up a console that has no games. Nintendo will detail the games that will be available on launch day alongside the Switch. We’re expecting The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to be in the mix, but Nintendo hasn’t given us any concrete hints thus far of what we’ll be playing on release day.

New Mario games, old Mario games, and just games galore

We know that there’s a new Mario game in the works for the Nintendo Switch. We also have a hunch that Mario Kart and Splatoon are heading to the console, perhaps as remastered ports of their Wii U versions. As Nintendo featured all of these in October’s reveal trailer, we’re hoping that we’ll get more information on them during the longer event.

We also would expect to see other games like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, which should be coming to the Switch. But games we’ve played and loved aside, Nintendo and its third-party partners should debut some never-before-seen titles live on stream. There’s also a Treehouse Live event the morning after, which promises even more hands-on gameplay footage.

Controllers, accessories and tech specs

Nintendo may not devote a ton of time breaking down how powerful the console is, but the company would be remiss not to talk a bit about the Switch’s technical specifications. We should finally learn whether the Switch has a touchscreen like its predecessor, and whether it becomes more powerful when seated in its accompanying dock.

Unlike the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS, though, it’s possible that the Switch could have a capacitive multitouch screen. That would make it more like smartphones’ touchscreens, which allow for multiple fingers to be used at once.

Speaking of the dock, Nintendo may discuss whether that component can be sold separately. That would be useful for anyone who wants to keep an extra one in other rooms. The Switch is portable, so it would be nice to not have to drag along its dock to hook it up to other TVs when we’re on the go.

The Switch’s unique, detachable controllers, called Joy-Con, will probably also be front and center. How many of them can a player hook up to the console at once? How much do they cost individually? What other control configurations are there? We’re confident Nintendo has answers.

Online capabilities and the future of friend codes

Nintendo has been shaking up how online works on its platforms recently. It introduced the Nintendo Account system last year, which hasn’t been put to much use yet. The Nintendo Switch would be a great time to get that service working, hopefully by putting an end to friend codes once and for all.

It would also be no surprise if Nintendo talked about some of the Switch’s online features, like whether it uses the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS’ Miiverse service or not. Will Nintendo finally get online — and especially online multiplayer — right this time around? We should find out soon.

The Nintendo Switch event streams live at 11 p.m. ET on Jan. 12. We’ll be staying up to bring you all the biggest news, so stay tuned.

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