What the Nintendo Switch XL, Mini and Clamshell models could look like
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The Nintendo Switch was 2017’s big gaming success, launching to unprecedented demand that far outstripped industry expectations. A combination of innovative hardware and superb exclusive games was enough for the Switch to outsell its predecessor, the Wii U, in under a year.
With such success, you could be forgiven for assuming that the last thing Nintendo would want to do would be to meddle with a winning formula. However, that has not traditionally been the Nintendo way. The Japanese gaming giant has never rested on their laurels when it’s come to hardware revisions and expansions.
The GameBoy, N64 and GameCube all had alternative versions launched. By the GameBoy Advance, Nintendo truly began to embrace the potential of hardware revisions. Three versions of the bestselling handheld device were released, each radically different from the one that came before. That trend continued into the DS and 3DS eras. The DS ultimately had four different versions. The 3DS saw this trend continue in earnest, as it was followed by the 3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS, New 3DS XL and most recently the New 2DS XL.
Clearly, this is a model that Nintendo has found great success with, so there’s little reason to believe they won’t look at ways of tweaking the Switch’s hardware in the future. Though they’ve said they have no plans to release new hardware in 2018, this does leave the door open for next year and beyond. Here’s what we think three potential revisions could look like:
Nintendo Switch XL
This is one that seems likely given the trend of the 3DS. The current Switch is designed to cater to players on the move as well as at home. However, a lot of players value the handheld functionality without wanting to play the device outside. A larger Switch would, for these players, offer a big positive in terms of screen size with no real trade off.
In our model, you’ll notice a larger body with an expanded screen. Improved screen technology and more room for components behind the screen will enable more minimal bezels. The Joy-Cons are XL, too, with the buttons moved up slightly to allow for a form factor that’s still comfortable to play in handheld mode without sacrificing their landscape multiplayer orientation. The Joy-Cons still detach as they do on the current Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Switch Mini
Though the 3DS range has generally expanded rather than shrunk, Nintendo do have form with releasing smaller versions of their hardware, often later in the console’s life when smaller components allow for significant space saving.
Just as there’s definitely room in the market for a larger model for players who stick to playing at home, there’s demand for one designed for those always on the go. Nintendo have stated their aim of having everyone own a Switch. Catering to those always on the move as best they can would go some way to achieving that goal.
Our Nintendo Switch Mini does away with the detachable Joy-Con functionality, instead presenting an all-in-one, integrated unit. Smaller than the current Switch, the Switch Mini is more robust and has less things to worry about losing, a big bonus when travelling. The downside of the Switch Mini would be the need for additional controllers in order to take advantage of docked or tabletop play.
Nintendo Switch SP (Clamshell)
We’ve borrowed the ‘SP’ title from the GameBoy Advance SP, which was the first entry in the GameBoy range to feature a clamshell design. The style has since been adopted by several versions of the 3DS and 2DS, and is ideal for handhelds. It makes them smaller, keeps them safe and does a great job at protecting the screen from scratches.
Utilising the 3DS-style circle pads in lieu of regular joysticks to allow the screen to fold flat, the Switch SP features a slightly altered button layout for ergonomic reasons. Coloured LEDs indicate the status of the console when it’s closed. The additional room within the unit is taken advantage of with two front-facing speakers.