Nintendo has long been rumored to be working on a cheaper Switch console. Now Nikkei has revealed the possible launch period for the device. The credible Japanese publication claims it will be released this fall.
What to expect from the cheaper Switch console
Earlier this year, the publication reported that Nintendo was working on a smaller, cheaper Switch console. Then The Wall Street Journal said last month that there are two new Switch models in development, including the cheaper version. Further, the WSJ reported that Nintendo aims to water down the rumble features in the lighter version of the Switch.
Eurogamer revealed that the cheaper Switch console would be handheld only and redesigned to be more “kid proof.” Previously, it was rumored that the Switch Lite would be a handheld device without the current Switch’s plastic docking station. Both the WSJ and Eurogamer claim it will come with better hardware but not on the level of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Nikkei said the next-gen Switch console will replace the current model.
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The publication further stated that the Japanese console maker is experimenting with a host of things for the next-gen Switch console, such as better image rendering, operating system tweaks and usability. However, there is no word on who in the company is leading the conceptual development for the new console.
A supplier who claims to have used both upcoming Switch consoles told the WSJ, “You would be wrong to think the enhanced version is similar to what Sony did with PS4 Pro and the other is just a cheap alternative that looks very similar to some past hand-held machines, say, Sony’s PlayStation Vita.”
How the Switch Lite could help Nintendo
By supposedly working on two consoles, Nintendo might be following in the footsteps of competitors Sony and Microsoft. Both have launched multiple versions of the PS4 and Xbox One to boost sales in every segment.
The Switch has been a massive hit for Nintendo, garnering 32 million unit sales so far. The smaller, cheaper Switch console, which some publications prefer to call the Switch Lite, should keep the game going for Nintendo and may even give the company a leg up over competitors. Microsoft recently unveiled a disc-less, cheaper version of the Xbox One. According to The NPD Group, the Nintendo Switch outperformed the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the United States in February.
“Nintendo Switch is the best-selling hardware platform of February,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “And [for] 2019 year to date.”
Thanks to the burgeoning Switch sales, Nintendo delivered some of its best February results in years. According to Piscatella, the Japanese company generated the highest February hardware dollar sales since 2011. The company also clocked the highest year-to-date dollar sales for its in-house hardware since 2011.
At a time when the rest of the hardware market in the United States is slowing down, Nintendo’s Switch is scaling new heights. Last year was much better for consoles than 2019 has been so far. Piscatella stated that hardware spending in February 2019 dropped 12% compared to last year.
The Switch sales numbers are even more significant considering that there were no new big game releases in February. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ranked as the topmost selling game and has been an underlying force in driving the console’s adoption. Smash Ultimate was ranked seventh best-selling game in the United States, excluding digital sales.
Making the current console better
Meanwhile, Nintendo continues to update the existing version of the Switch in terms of features. The latest update, 8.0.0, added several new features but left out many which have been requested by fans. This seems to suggest that Nintendo is preparing to announce a new version (or versions) of the Switch during E3 2019.
Newly-added features enable listing of the games by the length of time played and the order of playing. Moreover, the icon menu now has avatars from Splatoon 2 and Yoshi’s Crafted World. Players also no longer have to worry about the Switch coming out of Sleep Mode when the AC adapter is unplugged.
Moreover, players will now be able to make changes in the newsfeed to go through all available items related to a specific subject. The new update allows a player to disable the ability to use VR Mode with the Labo VR Goggles in Parental Controls mode. Nintendo also added a zoom feature, which will be of much help on the small screen.