Last year the Japanese branch of the Wall Street Journal had reported that Nintendo was working on a new model of the Switch. At the time speculation went wild over what kinds of enhancements would be implemented. Many speculated that this could be Nintendo’s “Pro” version with increased resolution, bigger storage, etc. While we are still waiting to know for sure, it appears that, as with all things Nintendo, they’re going at it from a different perspective.
Instead of increasing power, the Japanese news outlet Nikkei is reporting that a new smaller, more affordable portable version of the Switch is in development and that it will be released sometime during Nintendo’s next fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. They believe that the new system will be easy to carry around and more portable.
Indeed, we have speculated in the past and opined on the Nintendo Times Radio podcast that Nintendo could very well take this approach. It makes sense because the 3DS market is pretty much done and over with. The latest financials show the massive decline in both hardware and software and Nintendo could definitely use a cheaper revenue stream to appeal to younger gamers and parents of those kids.
What could this mean for a new sleeker Switch? Well, there are a ton of ways Nintendo could go, but we think they might focus solely on a handheld version, which means that potentially the system won’t hook up to a TV and won’t have Joy-Con controllers that pop off. Think of something more along the lines of a Vita and this could be the way Nintendo drastically cuts costs and gets out a portable version for $199 or less. Of course it would still play the same games, so there won’t be any fragmentations of the library. Really the only concern would be games like Super Mario Party and 1-2 Switch that rely on separating the Joy-Con away from the system not working.
According to Nintendo Everything’s translation of the Nikkei article, Nintendo is also planning to launch a new service aimed at enthusiasts. Here’s the relevant information:
“They’re taking measures as for what is to come – one of those being a smaller version of the Switch. The company said that ‘couldn’t comment’ on their plans for the product, but has informed multiple suppliers and game development companies that they intend to release them as early as 2019. According to their affiliates, they are ‘miniaturizing the console with portability and playing outdoors in mind, as well as cutting features to reduce the price and expand the userbase.’”
“The Switch’s monthly online service launched in 2018, and plan to launch a new service aimed at game enthusiasts willing to pay more sometime in 2019.”
It looks like 2019 is shaping up to be an interesting year for Nintendo! Getting a cheaper system out makes sense, although the selfish part of me wishes they’d just reduce the cost of the existing one and put out a “Pro” version with better specs. But hey, I don’t run the company! Would you be interested in a portable-only Switch? How much would you be willing to pay? Let us know below!