As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Nintendo announced its new Switch game console this week, a hybrid device that serves as both a portable and home system. Unfortunately, that announcement came in the form of a three-and-a-half minute video and little else, with Nintendo keeping quiet on additional details not revealed in the teaser clip, and instead promising additional info later. One of the key questions we’re left with, then, is whether the Switch’s display is a touchscreen.
Nintendo has made touch input an integral part of its gaming systems for more than a few years now, with touchscreens being featured on the Nintendo DS and 3DS portables, along with its previous console, the Wii U. Because of this, it seems strange the company would abandon the tech all of a sudden, especially when the Switch relies on such a large hand-held display.
“We have nothing to announce on this topic. We will make additional announcements about the Nintendo Switch hardware later, before the launch of the product” — that’s been Nintendo’s official response to inquiries about touchscreen functionality.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Switch’s display won’t have touch input. Nintendo has a lot riding on this new console after the widely acknowledged Wii U’s flop, and it seems the company is carefully planning how the Switch is used and portrayed in its first announcement.
There’s a good chance that announcement trailer was designed to focus on the various configurations of the hardware controllers, with the ability to be used as a traditional, stand-alone controller, or snapped to the sides of the undocked display unit.
Notably, that video also chose to focus on video games alone, and not things like apps or media features. Including footage of that or touchscreen functionality would have inevitably drawn comparisons between the Switch and devices like tablets and smartphones, Nintendo’s other big rival when it comes to portable gaming.
It’s probably a safe bet that the Switch has a touchscreen; after all, touch input has proven itself as a valuable gameplay mechanic time and again. But we’ll just have to wait until Nintendo decides it’s the right time — or finds the right way — to unveil the feature in a way that presents the Switch as something that isn’t attempting to be a tablet clone.