A new report from Japanese news service Nikkei (Google translation) suggests a rumored “less expensive” version of the Switch will be available this fall. The report also suggests that the new design will not be strictly portable, as some have suggested, and will still be able to dock to a TV set for larger-screen play.
Nikkei’s report adds a bit more context to rumors most recently reported by the Wall Street Journal in March regarding Nintendo’s plans for two new Switch models in the near future. The second model, according to the WSJ report, would be a more expensive, “enhanced” version of the system with improved hardware power and other special features.
Publictranslations of Nikkei’s report suggest that an “overhauled next-generation model” could actually replace the current Switch and bring enhancements “including usability, improved image rendering, and changes to the operating system, among other things.” But Nikkei’s development sources suggest that the next step in hardware power may still be in the early planning stages at Nintendo, with no one assigned to lead “conceptual development” as of yet.
Nintendo often releases slight redesigns of its portable and console hardware a few years into their life cycles. Those releases are usually cosmetic, though, with little underlying change to base hardware features or software compatibility. One counterexample, 2015’s New Nintendo 3DS, gave that system a small power boost and second analog nub before being discontinued in 2017.
Rumors of redesigned Switch models have persisted practically since the system launched two years ago. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on those rumors back in October, focusing on a new LCD screen supplier for the new model. Another January report from Japan’s Nikkei news service suggested a miniaturized Switch focused on portability.
Nintendo of Japan started selling a cheaper, dock-free version of the Switch in that country last May, though the actual console hardware was unchanged from the standard package.