NINTENDO HAS TAKEN a break from jumping into Scrooge McDuck-style pools of £50 notes to consider making adjustments to its money-printing Switch formula.
According to Japanese business daily Nikkei, the company has let suppliers and games companies in on an upcoming redesign to the Nintendo Switch which will see it become more portable, and less expensive - probably at the expense of some features. It's rumoured that it could be coming this year.
What could the Switch drop while still maintaining its mass appeal? The most obvious suggestion is the TV dock. Given it's basically a holder for a USB-C to HDMI cable, that would be pretty trivial, and especially straightforward given making TV use a little less user-friendly would tie in with the whole ‘more portable' ethos.
After that, it gets a bit harder to say. A smaller screen is likely, of course, which would bring costs down, but after you're really hitting usability. The Joy-Cons could be built into the device, but that would prevent their most advanced - if underused - features (gyroscope, motion, etc.) and also turn the Switch into more of a solo experience. Nintendo could also jettison the cartridge slot and make a new version digital only, but that feels like a recipe for people voting with their wallets and staying away.
If the report is accurate, all should become clear soon. More excitingly for existing Switch fans, the report hints of plans to launch a new service aimed squarely at "game enthusiasts willing to pay more" this year. We're hoping that means a fully-fledged virtual console service, but honestly, we'd just settle for Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 ports at this point.
While the Switch continues to sell like hot cakes, Nintendo has had to revise its sales forecasts a little, dropping from 20 million units to 'just' 17 million. A smaller, cheaper unit could go some way to plugging that sales hole. µ
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