Nintendo has announced the forthcoming release of two new models of its popular 2017 Switch console. Highly anticipated is the Switch Lite, set to launch on September 20. Arriving even sooner, with a rumored mid-August release, is an upgrade of the current Switch’s battery life. What both bring with them: affordability and portability.
While the confirmed releases for the Switch Lite and the new Switch model may seem too soon to some for Nintendo’s own good, The Wall Street Journal says otherwise. Although video game hardware-makers often produce new consoles every “five to six years,” it’s not uncommon that they “update the devices in the middle of their life cycles,” or every two to three years, to prolong a console’s market viability as much as possible. So what can users expect?
The battery-life upgrade of the current Switch model will bring with it a reported boost from six and a half hours to nine hours on a single charge. Otherwise, the new Switch remains largely identical to the original model.
As for the Switch Lite, Nintendo has eliminated a number of original Switch features to increase the console’s portability. The Switch Lite weighs in at 0.66 lbs, almost 0.3 lbs less than the original model, with a slightly smaller screen. Its lightweight design coupled with its non-detachable Joy-Con controllers make it an optimal device for single-user, handheld play.
What the Switch Lite isn’t? Eligible for TV connectivity. It also won’t have a rumble feature or an IR sensor (a motion-detecting, infrared sensor) for motion controls. The absence of the sensor, along with Switch Light’s smaller size, renders the device incompatible with Nintendo Labo, a branch of Nintendo products that pairs DIY cardboard kits with Switch games.
Fans and Experts Weigh In On Changes
Reactions to the Switch Lite are mixed. Unsurprisingly, many Nintendo fans took to the internet to express their excitement and disappointment with the newly-announced hardware. On Twitter, IGN (formerly Imagine Games Network) host and producer Brian Altano expressed his eagerness to purchase a Switch Lite despite its limited features and already owning a Switch himself.
Nintendo Life’s Gavin Lane, was explicitly less thrilled about the release of the Switch Lite. “The bezel’s a bit too thick, the colors too conservative, not to mention the fact that it doesn’t ‘Switch’ anymore,” Lane wrote in an editorial about his displeasure over Nintendo’s decision to do away with the original Switch’s versatility for its lite edition.
Nintendo’s efforts to streamline the Switch Lite for solely handheld use have led to the elimination of the original’s kickstand, something for which fans are grateful. In spite of the original Switch’s ability to transform from a single-player handheld, TV-connectable device to an on-the-go multiplayer console, many users complain no improvements have been made on its highly breakable and cheaply-made kickstand.
Already Being Buzzed: Future Switch Models
The respective confirmed launches of the new Switch models have sparked anticipation for a possible Switch 2 or Switch Pro—as referred to by fans—for the more-than-casual gamer. Though Nintendo hasn’t released any official statement regarding an upcoming Switch 2 or Switch Pro, fans excitedly speculate its arrival based on Nintendo’s FCC filing for permission to make changes to the Switch.
The Switch Lite will be officially released on September 20th for $199—a hundred dollars less than the original Switch. Pre-orders are already being taken online.
The new Switch model with a longer battery life will be released a month earlier—available in mid-August for US consumers. Like the original, the new model will still be $299 with a mid-August release date for US consumers.
Nintendo UK Twitter
Newsweek: New Nintendo Switch With Better Battery Life Coming in August
CNET: Nintendo Switch Lite vs. New Switch vs. Old Switch: How to choose
Mashable: 8 reasons Nintendo Switch owners might not want to buy the Switch Lite
The Verge: The Nintendo Switch kickstand is still bad
The Wall Street Journal: Nintendo to Launch Two New Switch Models
Brian Altano Twitter
Nintendo Life: Soapbox: Should I Wait For Switch ‘Pro’ Or Is The ‘New’ Switch SKU Worth An Upgrade?
Gamespot: Standard Nintendo Switch Is Getting A New Version Too, Apparently [Update]