The Nintendo Switch will act differently at home and on the go

A multi-purpose multi- player.
A multi-purpose multi- player.
Image: Nintendo
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Nintendo’s Switch won’t be out until March 2017, but more details on the multifaceted video game console are starting to trickle out.

A representative from the company went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Dec. 7 to demonstrate its forthcoming iOS mobile game, Super Mario Run. Nintendo’s first real mobile game—discounting the Kafkaesque nightmare that was Miitomo, and Pokémon Go, which was developed by a third party—will be released on Apple’s App Store on Dec. 15.

But Nintendo also gave Fallon a sneak peek at its first new home console in five years (since the very underwhelming Wii U). The Switch is a hybrid console that can be played at home, like every other console Nintendo has made since 1983, but it also contains a tablet that can be pulled out of a docking station and played like a handheld console. On top of that, the controls on the side of the tablet can be removed and stuck together, allowing a gamer to play the Switch like a home console wherever they are. Here it is in action:

The processing power for the Switch is entirely contained within the tablet, meaning that theoretically it shouldn’t perform any differently whether you, or Jimmy Fallon, is playing Zelda at home or on a train. But a report from video game blog Let’s Play Video Games suggests the console will actually be able to overclock its processor—a common PC-gaming practice for getting more power out of a processor by forcing it to run faster than the manufacturer says it’s supposed to—when it’s plugged into the dock. That means playing at home may be faster than on the tablet. The dock also has a built-in fan that will help cool down the system when it’s overclocking, so as to not overheat or damage the machine.

Nintendo wasn’t immediately available to confirm the report, but it does stand to reason that the Switch’s relatively large dock serves some function other than just sending video from the device to a TV screen. Nintendo told Fallon that it intends to release more information about the console on Jan. 12, so stay tuned.