Nintendo has announced that the new Nintendo Switch console will launch worldwide on Friday, 3 March.
The package will include the main console, Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R) controllers, a Joy-Con grip (to which two Joy-Con are attached and used as one controller), a set of Joy-Con wrist straps, a Nintendo Switch dock (which holds the main console and connects it to a TV), a HDMI cable and an AC adapter. Two stylish versions of the console will be released: a version with a set of grey Joy-Con, and a version with one neon blue and one neon red Joy-Con.
“Nintendo Switch is a brand-new kind of home gaming system that offers a wide variety of play modes,” said Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima. “We will introduce the world to new experiences made possible by the unique characteristics of the Nintendo Switch hardware and the Joy-Con.”
Nintendo Switch is claimed to be a breakthrough home video game console. Nintendo says: “It not only connects to a TV at home, but it also instantly transforms into an on-the-go handheld using its 6.2-inch screen. For the first time, players can enjoy a full home-console experience anytime, anywhere.”
The screen includes capacitive multi-touch capabilities for compatible games. Battery life can last for more than six hours, but will vary depending on the software and usage conditions.. For example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played for roughly three hours on a single charge. While away from home, Nintendo Switch can be charged by plugging the AC adapter into the console’s USB Type-C connector.
The versatile Joy-Con is said to offer multiple surprising new ways for players to have fun. Two Joy-Con can be used independently in each hand, or together as one game controller when attached to the Joy-Con grip. They can also attach to the main console for use in handheld mode, or be shared with friends to enjoy two-player action in supported games. Each Joy-Con has a full set of buttons and can act as a standalone controller, and each includes an accelerometer and gyroscope motion sensor, making independent left and right motion control possible.
Nintendo Switch also contains a number of built-in features that make it more interactive. The left Joy-Con has a Capture Button that players can press to take instant screenshots of gameplay to share with friends on social media. The right Joy-Con includes an NFC touchpoint for interaction with amiibo figures, as well as an IR Motion Camera that can detect the distance, shape and motion of nearby objects in specially designed games. For example, it can tell how far away a player’s hand is, and even if the hand is forming a rock, paper or scissors shape.
Both Joy-Con include advanced HD rumble, which can provide compatible games with subtle vibrations that are much more realistic than before. The effect is so detailed that a player could, for example, feel the vibration of individual ice cubes colliding inside a glass when shaking a Joy-Con. With HD rumble you can experience a level of realism not possible through sights and sounds alone.
Nintendo Switch says it makes it easy for players to stay connected. Up to 8 consoles can be connected for local wireless play. The player can place the console upright anywhere by using the built-in stand, then easily share Joy-Con for multiplayer fun away from the TV. The console will support online Wi-Fi multiplayer gaming.
Nintendo also unveiled a new online subscription service that will begin with a free trial at launch. The service includes a smart-device application available in summer 2017 that will let users invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with one another as the play compatible games. The fully featured paid service will be available in autumn.
Nintendo Switch will be supported by third-party publishers, including Activision Publishing Inc., Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and major Japanese publishers. Some publishers, such as Bethesda Softworks, are joining Nintendo for the first time. Major franchises on Nintendo Switch will include EA Sports FIFA, The Elder Scrolls, NBA 2K, and Minecraft. Nintendo Switch software will not be region locked.
“The unique capabilities of the console and Joy-Con have combined with innovations from past systems to create Nintendo’s most flexible, feature-packed video game console ever,” the company said. “This is demonstrated by the wide variety of unique games that were announced for launch day, the summer, and into the 2017 holiday season, from both Nintendo and its third-party partners. From the engrossing open-air experience of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to the party fun of 1-2-Switch, Nintendo Switch offers something for everyone.”
Nintendo peovided the following information on games for the platform:
Select First-Party Games
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Prepare for the biggest The Legend of Zelda adventure yet, with an open-air style that breaks new boundaries while honouring the origins of the acclaimed series. Explore a world of unprecedented size and discover more than 100 puzzle-filled shrines, plus a wide variety of weapons, outfits, and gear. Players won’t want to stop playing, and they won’t have to, since Nintendo Switch allows them to continue the adventure anywhere, anytime.
The game is compatible with the series of The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary-themed amiibo, the Wolf Link amiibo, and the new The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild amiibo. In addition to the previously announced Link (Rider), Link (Archer), and Guardian amiibo, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild range of amiibo will also include new Zelda and Bokoblin amiibo. The amiibo in this series are larger and more detailed, particularly the Guardian amiibo with its extra articulation.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will provide players with a landmark Nintendo Switch experience on the console’s launch day on 3rd March, and will be available as both a standard solus game and as a Limited Edition, which contains the game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sound Selection CD and a Master Sword of Resurrection figure.
1-2-Switch: This is the first Nintendo video game in which players compete in fun activities while staring into each other’s eyes instead of at the TV screen From Wild West gunslinging to copying each other’s dance moves, the games in 1-2-Switch make creative use of a broad variety of Nintendo Switch features to liven up parties with anyone, anywhere, at any time. 1-2-Switch will be available alongside the Nintendo Switch console on its launch day on 3rd March.
ARMS: Featuring a unique multiplayer fighting sport that lets you trade blows using extendable arms, this game includes elements of both boxing and shooting games, plus an all-new cast of characters. After customising a character with a variety of arms, the player holds one Joy-Con in each hand and throws left and right punches at the opponent. Characters can jump and dash, and players can bend their punches by twisting their hands as they swing. As players learn the game and improve their skills, they will discover a deeper level of advanced tactics. Players can compete against the computer, against a friend on a split screen using a second set of Joy-Con (sold separately), against worldwide rivals online, or with two Nintendo Switch consoles over a local wireless connection. ARMS will be available this spring.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: With Nintendo Switch, fans can enjoy the definitive version of Mario Kart 8 anywhere, anytime, even with up to 8 friends in local wireless multiplayer. All your favourite tracks and characters return from the Wii U version, plus all DLC tracks and characters, and new characters join the roster, too: Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from Splatoon, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr.! Plus, battle Mode has been revamped and includes Balloon Battle and Bob-omb Blast, with all-new courses such as Urchin Underpass and Battle Stadium, and returning ones like (GCN) Luigi’s Mansion and (SNES) Battle Course 1. Players can now carry two items at a time, including new items returning from previous Mario Kart games such as Boo, the item-stealing ghost, and the Feather, which gives you a high jump in battle mode. Players can even choose to use a new Smart Steering feature which makes driving and staying on the track easy for novice players and kids, even at 200cc. Play in TV mode in up to 1080p. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches on 28th April.
Splatoon 2: Traditional 4-on-4 turf battles return in this full sequel to the original breakout hit game, along with new stages, new fashions and new weapons such as the two-handed Splat Dualies. Players can compete on the TV or on the go. Whether they use the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (sold separately) or Joy-Con, players can aim their ink using gyro controls. Splatoon 2 supports both local and online multiplayer matches. The game will also support voice chat using the new Nintendo Switch smart device app (a free, limited version of the app will be available this summer), and will add new stages, fashions and weapons after launch, as the original game did. Splatoon 2 is scheduled to launch this summer.
Super Mario Odyssey: This is the first sandbox game that allows Mario to fully explore his world since Super Mario 64 on Nintendo 64 and Super Mario Sunshine on Nintendo GameCube. Mario jumps out of the Mushroom Kingdom and embarks on a journey through mysterious new places and new experiences, such as sailing between worlds aboard an airship and the ability to throw Mario’s cap. Super Mario Odyssey is scheduled to launch during the 2017 holiday season.
Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!: In this creative new kind of action-puzzle game, players communicate, cooperate, and use their imagination to solve basic and advanced puzzles by cutting paper characters into new shapes. Play by yourself or with a friend in the main game, then bring in a bigger group to solve up to four-player dynamic puzzles or compete in other activities. Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! will release in March in Nintendo eShop.
Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards
The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.
The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).
Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”
Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. She has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).
The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:
The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.
Cons exploit Telegram ICO
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.
In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.
The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.
Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.
“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:
- Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
- Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
- Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.