- Nintendo’s Switch is two years old, and it’s still an absurdly popular game console.
- According to several reports, Nintendo is deep into work on the next versions of the Nintendo Switch.
- The new Switch we’re most likely to see in 2019 is a smaller, handheld-focused version – the Nintendo Switch Mini.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A new console from Nintendo? Already? Yes and no.
It’s been just over two years since Nintendo’s Switch arrived, and in that time it’s become a major hit. And now, in 2019, it sounds like Nintendo is gearing up for a second version of its hit console – and it looks like we’ll see it sooner than later!
Here’s what we’re hearing about the next Nintendo Switch:
Rumours first began circulating in late 2018, starting with a Wall Street Journal report.
Nintendo is expected to release at least one new iteration of the Nintendo Switch in 2019, according to a Wall Street Journal report from October 2018.
The report cites “suppliers and others with direct knowledge” of Nintendo’s plans. Nintendo didn’t comment on the report at the time, nor has it directly acknowledged work on a new version of the Switch.
The report noted that the specifics of that new version of the Switch were still in flux at the time – in so many words, it wasn’t clear what the new version of the Switch would be. Perhaps it would have a larger battery, or a better screen, or attached Joy-Con controllers, or all three! Or none!
That remains unclear.
Analyst Serkan Toto predicted in January that the release of the new version of Switch, which he also expects to arrive this year, will lower the price of the existing Switch – or maybe even a “lite” version of the Switch will arrive alongside the new version.
“I also think Nintendo will offer a ‘Switch Lite’ (or just keep the current version at a lower price) to cover the lower end of the spectrum and offset sinking 3DS sales,” he told GamesIndustry.biz.
Then in March, rumours pointed to Nintendo working on two new versions of the Switch: a dedicated handheld model and a more powerful home version.
One was said to be a more powerful version of the current console, with “enhanced features targeted at avid videogamers,” according to a Wall Street Journal report. Despite the reported horsepower increase, this new Switch version is said to still lag behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One X consoles.
The other version of the Switch, which was previously rumoured, is said to be a portable-focused device. Nintendo didn’t respond to a request for comment on the report.
The rumour isn’t without precedent: Video game console makers, including Nintendo, are known for releasing new versions of existing consoles.
The idea is simple: new versions of existing consoles could re-energize sales, and at the same time, can potentially reduce hardware production costs.
Similarly, in releasing a more powerful version of an existing console, console makers can bolster horsepower without having to release an entirely new platform.
In the case of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, for instance, both consoles offer sharper visuals and snappier load times, even though they’re only intended to play standard PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games.
Nintendo could’ve revealed the new consoles this past June at the annual E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, the report said, but E3 came and went without a peep.
Then, in April, new rumours pointed to just one new version of the Switch arriving this year, and a revised version of the existing Switch.
Two reports in April – one from Nikkei and another from Bloomberg – pointed to a change in Nintendo’s plans: One new version of Switch, focused on portability, could arrive this year, and the second, more powerful device is either delayed or outright canceled in favour of a revision to the existing Switch.
The Nikkei report says that Nintendo will release a smaller, less expensive Nintendo Switch that focuses on its handheld gaming mode this fall.
That lines up with previous rumours about a Nintendo Switch hardware iteration, which pointed to two new versions of the Nintendo Switch: a smaller, less expensive one, and a more powerful new version.
The latter device is reportedly delayed, according to Nikkei, which cites development challenges.
Bloomberg, however, said that the more portable version of the Switch could have arrived as soon as this June, and that the more powerful Switch will just be an update to the existing hardware (rather than a design revision).
Nintendo isn’t commenting on either.
The latest update comes from a peripheral maker, which reveals a potential name for Nintendo’s next Switch: The Nintendo Switch Mini.
A few different gaming peripheral makers have begun debuting protective shells for the next Nintendo Switch.
Though they’re far from final, these peripherals offer an early glimpse at what to expect: A larger screen, built in Joy-Con controllers – that wouldn’t detach, as the current Switch Joy-Cons do – and some changes to the button layout of the gamepads.
Most notably, some reports suggest that it won’t be compatible with the existing Nintendo Switch dock – that it will be a portable-only device, like the Nintendo 3DS.
One of Nintendo's official licensees for accessory products has a Silicone Cover for the Nintendo "Mini Switch 2" coming. Here are some of the official pics for this #NintendoSwitch2: https://t.co/cvka1OuB7Y
— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) July 1, 2019
Nintendo, meanwhile, isn’t saying much.
“While we are aware there has been coverage to that effect, we cannot comment in regards to speculation and rumours about new hardware or software,” Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said in a recent Q&A with shareholders. “It would spoil the surprise for consumers and is against the interests of our shareholders, so we are withholding any discussion. We are constantly developing new hardware and new software. We’ll let you know as soon as anything is ready to be announced.”
That langauge is far from an outright denial, which Nintendo hasn’t been shy about issuing in the past. And if peripheral makers are already working on stuff for a new version of the Switch, it’s reasonable to expect that the console isn’t so far away either.
Why a new Switch so soon?
Why would Nintendo make a new version of the Switch? Because Nintendo is in the business of making money, and a new version of the Switch would likely cost less to make while being sold for the same $US300 (or more!) than the current Switch costs to buy.
It’s why Nintendo released so many versions of its Nintendo DS and 3DS consoles, and why Microsoft and Sony do the same thing with their Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
At the same time, new hardware re-ignites excitement – though, admittedly, the Nintendo Switch already has plenty of momentum.
It’s also an opportunity to smooth out the jagged edges.
The Switch could use a stronger battery, and a better screen. The Joy-Con wireless gamepads could have a more secure connection, or simply be permanently attached to the console. It could have better support for new WiFi standards, and come with more internal storage.
In short, there are plenty of changes Nintendo could make to the Switch to make it a better console.