Youtubers Frank Sandqvist and Etika (Of Etika World Network) sparked rumours this week of a leaked Nintendo Switch console. Last night, the team confessed that it had been an elaborate hoax devised through 3D printing by Sandqvist and his company CNC Design. Still, the making of video is nothing short of amazing, showing what lengths Sandqvist went to in order to create a prototype that would even fool some of Nintendo’s most devoted fans.
Making the fake Nintendo Switch
To model the Switch, Sandqvist had only the Nintendo teaser video to work from. Some of the smaller components, such as the shoulder buttons, had to be total guesswork, but I think they did a pretty good job.
The ‘console’ was printed using a Formlabs SLA 3D printer. The components were sanded, spray painted, polished and then printed with a UV printer to get the best finish. To make the dummy screens, Sandvist used two layers of glass, and everything is held together either with super glue or magnets.
A formal announcement of the Switch release date isn’t due from Nintendo until January 2017, and for the time being the console is expected to become available in March.
Nintendo’s absence from the 3D printing market has been noted
Being at the forefront of innovation, it’s surprising that we haven’t seen any 3D printing related tech from Nintendo yet. Especially since Sony’s recent patent for 3D printed in-game characters sounds as though it would be suited to Nintendo’s amiibo figurine feature. Then again, this highlights the company’s status as a trailblazer rather than a fashion follower.
Microsoft have also, albeit tentatively, touched on the 3D printing market with a 3D version of Paint, supporting XYZ’s Da Vinci mini series, and being a founding member of the 3MF Consortium that seeks to ‘provide a specification that eliminates the issues with currently available [3D printing] file formats’.
Though Nintendo’s novelty hasn’t always lead to success in the face of its competitors, (Three years after the release of the Wii U, the company reported it had sold a total of 10million units worldwide, whereas PlayStation 4 and Xbox One yielded the same amount in just a year after their respective launches) Nintendo’s technology does often see its competition jumping on the band wagon: after the motion controlled Wii, Sony released the Playstation Move and Microsoft followed with its equivalent in the Xbox Kinect.
On the surface, it appears that Nintendo are late to the party where 3D printing is concerned, just as they are a little late in allowing its games to be optimised for mobile usage. Their reasons for holding out always mean that they enter into a new environment on their own terms. Whether retaining their integrity will come at a fatal cost or not remains to be seen, but if their resilience up till now is anything to go by, it should only be a matter of time before Nintendo arrives at 3D printing with style.
Featured image shows Sandqvist’s impression of the Nintendo Switch box art. Image via: the Nintendo Switch replica gallery (Nintendo Co. Ltd. holds the right to the Nintendo Switch home console.)