Nintendo‘s Switch blurs the lines between being a home console and a handheld system, and it’s been a success thus far in part for that versatility. However, rumors had been circulating about the Kyoto-based giant looking to introduce new models of the platform, one of which would emphasize its portable aspect. Today, Nintendo confirmed the existence of such a device by revealing the Nintendo Switch Lite, a cheaper iteration of the Switch tailored to handheld gaming.
Whereas the basic Switch costs $300, the Lite iteration knocks that price down to $200. It’s also lighter, Verge reports, and its battery life has been “slightly” improved (for comparison, the standard Switch’s battery runs for roughly three to six hours). The left Joy-Con also, thankfully, now features a traditional D-Pad.
Compromises were made to accommodate these ameliorations, however; the Joy-Con controllers are built into the machine and cannot be removed (meaning you’ll need to purchase another pair for games that require motion controls), and the Lite lacks the ability to connect to a television through the Dock, betraying the system’s namesake feature. While the resolution is unaffected, the screen is also a tad smaller, falling from the original’s 6.2-inch touch display to a 5.5-inch one.
Speaking to Verge about the Lite, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser insists the two Switches won’t cannibalize each other. “The two systems will complement each other and co-exist in the marketplace,” Bowser explained. “We believe the timing is right when we have momentum. This is the perfect opportunity for us to offer more choices, and to bring more consumers into Nintendo Switch in the third year. When you tie that with the software that we just announced at E3, we’ve got a perfect opportunity as we head into the holiday.” Moreover, Bowser insists the Lite will not supplant the Nintendo 3DS family in the marketplace.
The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20, the same day as The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It will initially be available in three colors: gray, yellow and turquoise. A special gray iteration stylized after Pokémon Sword and Shield will hit on November 8, mere days before the RPGs themselves.
#NintendoSwitchLite Zacian and Zamazenta Edition will also be available beginning 11/8, while supplies last. This special edition is just in time for the holidays and the release of #PokemonSwordShield on 11/15. pic.twitter.com/IG0skYmQB9
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) July 10, 2019
Personally, I think the decision to make a cheaper Switch model makes sense, especially considering Nintendo’s history of releasing revised “Lite” systems. Moreover, Nintendo released a similarly cheaper yet less capable iteration of the 3DS, dubbed the Nintendo 2DS, in 2014. It launched alongside Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire; adding a more accessible, entry-level platform to coincide with the release of a tentpole title or titles (in this case Zelda and Pokémon) is a practice Nintendo’s employed before, and the Lite will allow more people – particularly kids – to enjoy the console’s growing library.