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Nintendo taps Super Bowl to drum up Switch hype

Nintendo's leaving nothing to chance with its commercial, which features a new song by Imagine Dragons.

The Nintendo Switch gets the Super Bowl ad treatment.
Sarah Tew/CNET

This Sunday's big game represents a big opportunity for Nintendo to get its upcoming Switch video game console in front of millions of eyeballs.

The Japanese video game maker said Wednesday that it will run a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl 51. That spot, as well as a 90-second extended take, can already been seen on YouTube.

It's the first time Nintendo has run an ad during the Super Bowl, the most high-profile television event of the year and one that famously draws big advertisers like Budweiser and Coke. Over the years, a number of tech companies, including BlackBerry, Hulu, Samsung and Apple, have selectively used the game to propel their fortunes.

Nintendo has a lot riding on the Switch. Its most recent home console, 2012's Wii U, never came close to the megahit success of the original Wii, released back in 2006. In the meantime, the company has built a solid business on its 3DS portable platform, even as it's experimented with releasing games like Pokemon Go, Miitomo and Super Mario Run on iOS and Android mobile devices.

The commercial will feature The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and features a new song from band Imagine Dragons called "Believer."

The Nintendo Switch and a number of launch titles will hit stores on March 3.

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