Update: Nintendo have confirmed that we'll be getting the updated Switch in the UK in September.
It's been an unusually busy week in Nintendoland. First, we had the announcement of the Switch Lite, Nintendo's handheld-only smaller brother of their hugely successful Switch console. Then, Japan's pre-eminent gaming company announced that the much-rumoured 'Pro' version of the Switch wouldn't be seeing the light of day, at least in 2019. Now, we've got word on an update to the classic Switch console.
Per Nintendo's Japanese website, they will be overhauling the current Switch beginning in August (in Japan at least). However, rather than representing a completely new model (like the Lite), this update is more of an iterative upgrade, one that will presumably gradually replace stock of the original Switch console. We've seen this before in other consoles, most notably the 'chassis' updates to the PS4 Pro, which aimed to make the console quieter without being a separate model.
The key difference between this new version of the Switch and the one you may already own is battery life. The original Switch typically lasted between 2 1/2 and 6 hours in undocked mode, depending on what games were being played (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the benchmark Nintendo used at the time, could be played for between 3 and 3 1/2 hours). The new version should be able to manage 5 1/2 hours of Breath of the Wild, a pretty major jump. There may also be a jump in performance and possibly even improved internal storage, but at the moment, the battery life is the only area where we have confirmation.
We know this is all a bit confusing, so for clarity: we currently have one model of Nintendo Switch, which we'll call the original. A Lite version of the console is launching in September, featuring no dock and a different design. This announcement means that, rather than a third model, Nintendo will simply be making changes to the original Switch.
We're awaiting confirmation on when this update is likely to hit UK shores, but we have seen an updated box for the Switch (above). This might mean a drop in price from retailers looking to shift their stock of 'old' original Switch consoles, as these will be more obvious due to the difference in box art.