Nintendo Switch in flight

Nintendo Switch will open up interesting in-flight entertainment possibilities when it launches on March 3. Image: Still from Nintendo Switch trailer

APEX Insight: The release trailer for Nintendo Switch shows travelers immersed in the gaming console at various points throughout the passenger journey. In anticipation of the March 3 launch, we look at the role Nintendo’s latest creation could play in the future of in-flight gaming.

Nintendo has delivered some of the most memorable video game characters in pop culture history, all while revolutionizing how and where we play. The original Game Boy allowed users to play wherever and whenever they wanted. And with the Wii, they could play however they want. Now Nintendo has announced its new Switch platform, which adds portability and modularity to what was once only a home console.

The Nintendo Switch is similar to the Game Boy in that the controllers and tablet-like screen can operate as a single portable unit. However, the device can also be attached to a screen and played like a console.

The release trailer, which has been viewed over 25 million times in three months, shows travelers using Nintendo Switch in the departure lounge and airplane cabin. Switch’s modularity opens up interesting in-flight entertainment possibilities, one of which could be incorporating the Switch screen and dock into the back of an airline seat, allowing passengers to use the controllers to operate it as an IFE system.

Nintendo has taken to the skies before: In December 2016, the gaming giant teamed up with Southwest Airlines to provide Nintendo 3DS  XL systems to one flight’s lucky passengers. “Working with a brand like Nintendo is an exciting and different way to connect the families, friends and individuals traveling on board our flights with not only each other but the characters and games they love from Nintendo,” said Southwest spokesperson Adam Rucker. “Our in-flight giveaway and sweepstakes was the perfect opportunity to kick off the season of giving in a big way.”

“It doesn’t take long after a new game or console hits store shelves before we see it on board in the hands of our customers.” — Adam Rucker, Southwest Airlines

That in-flight gaming is on the rise is no secret – gaming has long since bolted from the confines of the arcade and the basement.  According to Rucker, “Portable gaming has always been a popular pastime for travelers, and it doesn’t take long after a new game or console hits store shelves before we see it on board in the hands of our customers.” If the advertisement is any indication of the future, we’ll soon see Nintendo Switch devices accompanying travelers at every stage of their journey when it launches on March 3.

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.