Rumours surface of a new Nintendo Switch in 2019
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A few months ago, we wildly speculated what a revamped Nintendo Switch console could look like. Nintendo have a rich history of reimagining existing software, be it in terms of form factor or by retroactively adding features, such as the short-lived 64DD disc drive for the N64.
Well, this morning there are rumours that we may not be waiting too much longer to learn what Nintendo’s first attempt at revamping their hybrid Switch console looks like. The Wall Street Journal, which has a solid track record of breaking Switch-related news dating back to when the console was referred to by its NX codename moniker, reports that Nintendo will launch a new version of the console between summer and the end of 2019.
Details are thin on the ground on what this revamp could look like. The article is vague on specifics, but does discuss the possibility of an ungraded screen. That would hint at a more powerful Switch, in a similar vein to the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.
This is certainly a possibility, and could mean a price drop in the current Switch model, which would probably have a bigger impact on sales than the new model would. One of the major reasons given for Nintendo’s desire to relaunch the Switch just over two years after it first launched (in March 2017) is that they want to maintain the early momentum of the console, which has already surpassed the 20 million unit mark.
However, there are reasons to be sceptical about a more powerful Switch model being the plan. For one, the Switch is already a pretty remarkable feat of engineering, packing in a lot of power into such a tiny unit. To create a substantial performance increase would also require a hefty price hike, and it’s hard to imagine Nintendo achieving a major sales booster by launching an even more expensive Switch (even with a resulting price drop in the classic Switch).
The more exciting prospect is Nintendo completely reinventing the console. Ideas floated so far include:
- A Switch ‘Mini’ or ‘Lite’. This could take many forms, including an all-in-one (i.e. with no detachable Joy-Con controllers) console closer to the 3DS and GameBoy lines.
- A Switch XL, with a larger screen. This was something Nintendo did with both the 3DS and 2DS models.
- A Switch SP, similar to the GameBoy Advance SP, with a clamshell design that was later adopted for the DS, 3DS and 2DS.
- None of the above. Nintendo are famous for their refusal to follow tradition or the examples of others, so it wouldn’t be a surprise for them to throw a complete curveball.
Whatever happens, we will likely be waiting until next year for any news. Nintendo are extremely unlikely to jeopardise their Black Friday and Christmas period by putting people off the current Switch with the news of a new model in the works. The Switch was originally revealed in October 2016, five months before it went on sale. It’s highly likely that we’d see a similar, if not slightly shorter, time frame between the new Switch announcement and launch. Perhaps the Switch’s two year anniversary in March 2019 would mark a good point for the announcement.