Why is this a secret?
Why is this a secret?

The hidden features of the Nintendo Switch touchscreen have been revealed in the first footage of it actually being used.

Nintendo spent a long time explaining what the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers do, during their presentation earlier this month, but what they barely mentioned at all was the console’s touchscreen.

You can’t access it when the console is docked and being used on a TV, so you might assume there was nothing remarkable about it. But it’s actually as feature-packed as the controllers.

Unlike the 3DS, where you have to use a stylus and can only point at one part of the screen at a time, the Switch touchscreen is multi-touch like a smartphone.

But although we played a number of games in handheld mode at the hands-on event earlier in the month the touchscreen wasn’t used (or simply wasn’t turned on) for any of them.

But now footage has emerged of the touchscreen being used on Skylanders: Imaginators, by an Activision rep who clearly didn’t get Nintendo’s memo.

But there’s more to the touchscreen than that, as it also uses haptic feedback technology – which no other console ever has.

Haptic feedback means that the screen is able to give the impression that you’re pressing real buttons when you touch it, although it’s not clear if that’s happening in the video above.

Including advance technology and then not telling anyone about it is strange even for Nintendo, but there seems to be two main reasons for their reticence; the first being that Nintendo wants to emphasise that the Switch is a home console first and foremost.

There may be multiple reasons for them to want to do that, but the second main reason for deemphasising the touchscreen is that they don’t want the 3DS to seem obsolete by comparison.

Nintendo insist that the 3DS will continue to be supported throughout this year, and they appear to be trying to keep it as a safety net in case the Switch is a flop; as well as keeping it around as a lower cost alternative for those that can’t afford the new console.

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