Two New Switch Models Might Be Incoming
Last year reports emerged that Nintendo was developing a new Switch model and now thanks to the latest from The Wall Street Journal, we might be getting two new Switch models not just one.
Takashi Mochizuki wrote in the article that sources claim Nintendo is working on both “a cheaper option for casual gamers” as well as a Switch with “enhanced features targeted at avid videogamers”. Both of these apparent versions have been rumoured over the past year however is it was widely believed that Nintendo would look to release just one new model, likely being the cheaper option. Releasing both is bold move for Nintendo and one that, if it pays off, could help bolster Switch sales even further.
In the article, Mochizuki states that the Switch with ‘enhanced features’ will be similar to what Sony and Microsoft did with their PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X although it won’t be as powerful as those systems. The cheaper Switch on the other hand will be positioned to succeed the 3DS and provide a more accessible option for those looking to get into the Switch ecosystem.
Two ways in which Nintendo might alter the current Switch system is also outlined by Mochizuki. He states that the new systems could feature liquid-crystal displays provided by Sharp Corp. A change in display could indicate that Nintendo is looking to have a full 1080p display for the new systems, matching the docked resolution and improving over the 720p resolution found in the current Switch.
According to Nintendo suppliers, the second alteration could come by removal of the vibration function found in the current Joy-Con controllers. This would likely help cut costs for the cheaper model and one official familiar with the plans said “The company judged the new Switch models won’t need the vibration feature because there wouldn’t be many games released using the full benefit of it”.
If these reports are to be believed then we shouldn’t have long to wait until we find out if they are true as the new models are expected to be unveiled at this years E3 in june and possibly released a few months later, likely to coincide with the release of Animal crossing and Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield.
Building off of this report lets speculate over just what these two systems could be if true.
Firstly I would expect a power increase in order to maximise third-party support and bring the Switch as close as possible to the PS4 and Xbox One especially with next generation hardware expected next year. I would also expect this performance bump to be applied to both models despite one of them aiming as a cheaper alternative. This is due to the potential confusion amongst consumers if one Switch model could play certain titles and the other couldnt.
Where the differences are likely to be applied though are in the form factor. I would expect the cheaper option to ditch the detachable Joy-Cons and adapt a completely handheld approach. This would allow for Nintendo to not only remove the Dock and Joy-Con grip from the box to help reduce costs but also remove certain features from the Joy-Cons too such as HD Rumble and the IR sensor. This wouldn’t eliminate the ‘Switch’ concept entirely as the cheaper Switch could still be compatible with a dock if purchased separately as well as Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers via bluetooth. This would then leave games such as Super Mario Party and 1-2-Switch still playable but requiring additional purchases.
The ‘enhanced’ Switch however I would expect to maintain the core features of the current Switch in order to not lose the goodwill built up over the past couple of years. In this enhanced version we could see an increase to screen resolution and potentially even a slimming of the bezels. Due to the form factor of the Switch, Nintendo could iterate on the Joy-Con designs without drastically changing the overall concept of the system. With this console likely targeted more at the core audience who already has a Switch I would not expect any significant design changes though as this could alienate current Switch owners who have invested in the ecosystem and amassed a range of accessories.
As for now though these reports should be taken as rumours although it does seem likely that Nintendo is at least considering a new Switch model if not actively developing one.