One cheap, one expensive
The Nintendo Switch has been a runaway success, selling millions and restoring the company’s standing after the rather disappointing Wii U. It’s currently the biggest-selling hardware platform on the planet, but with successors to the PS4 and Xbox One looming large, Nintendo will be keen to maintain the Switch’s momentum in 2019.
One way of doing that is by releasing fresh hardware, and according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s exactly what Nintendo plans to do. The outlet has spoken to sources close to Nintendo which claim that the company is working on not one but two new Switch iterations.
The first – which could be available as early as this summer – is a cheaper edition which removes the Joy-Con from the equation. These detachable controllers are a big part of the console’s appeal, but they’re expensive to produce, so if Nintendo wants to create a budget version of the Switch to replace the ageing 3DS, it’s a logical move. This cheaper, more robust version of the console would presumably retail for significantly less than the RRP of the Switch now, making it an attractive purchase for parents.
The second model would, according to sources, offer advanced features which would appeal to hardcore gamers and current Switch owners looking to upgrade. No more details have been given beyond this, but we could potentially see a more powerful Nvidia processor (so the console can run at 1080p in handheld mode, perhaps?), an OLED display and much more besides. The design of the Joy-Con means Nintendo can’t really make wide-scale changes to how this ‘Switch Pro’ looks, but it can do things like reduce the bezel around the display and boost the internal power. Extra internal storage and a larger battery are also possible upgrades.
While it’s wise to take such reports with a pinch of salt, rumours have been building since the start of the year that Nintendo has new Switch hardware in development – and in the past, the company has always upgraded its handheld systems. We got several iterations of the Game Boy, including the Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light and Game Boy Color, as well as the Game Boy Advance, GBA SP and GBA Micro. The DS was updated twice (DS Lite and DSi), and the more recent 3DS has seen a whopping five different hardware iterations since the launch of the original 8 years ago (3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, New 2DS). In short, it’s high time that Nintendo updated the Switch, which is now two years old.