Nintendo May Be Planning a Smaller Version of the Switch

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Nintendo has a certified hit on its hands with the Switch, which is closing in on the Nintendo 64’s lifetime sales. But sales could always be better, of course. A report from Japan’s Nikkei claims Nintendo is looking to boost take-up with a new version of the Switch. However, it won’t be an improved console. Instead, Nintendo wants to make a Switch variant that’s smaller, more portable, and less expensive.

The current SwitchSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce is a hybrid system that works as a portable handheld and attached to a TV, and it retails for $ 300. Nikkei says the new Switch will be smaller, making it easier to take on the go, and Nintendo will remove some features in order to keep the price down.

Probably the easiest way to cut the price is to go all-in on handheld mode. The dock retails for $ 90, so Nintendo could sell the console by itself. Technically, it could design a simpler motherboard that doesn’t even support the higher performance docked mode for the Tegra X1 chip, making this version of the console handheld only.

Shaving off bezels to make a device smaller usually increases the price because you have to get creative arranging internal components. A smaller, less expensive Switch might just go with a scaled down display. The current 6.2-inch 720p LCD is sufficient, but plenty of people play games on phones with much smaller displays.

Nintendo Switch

Any significant change to the body would make current Joy-Cons incompatible. That might be part of the plan, though. The current Joy-Cons are expensive because they work wirelessly and include motion controls. Nintendo could just have fully integrated controllers on the small Switch to save money. That might be a problem for games that make extensive use of motion controls like Mario Party. Most games that have motion controls make them optional, though, so the majority of Nintendo’s catalog should work fine without removable Joy-Cons. 

So, why go to all this trouble? Nintendo reports a substantial drop in 3DS sales. A smaller Switch that doesn’t cost so much could replace the 3DS, especially for parents who want a highly portable console to keep kids occupied. The $ 300 Switch is overkill for that. Something that costs less and still lets you run the full catalog of Switch games could be appealing to a whole new subset of gamers.

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