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Nintendo Switch Lite Announced: Releasing September 20

by Donald Theriault - July 10, 2019, 5:16 am PDT
Total comments: 23 Source: Nintendo

Including the return of an old friend.

The Switch is going on a diet in September.

Nintendo have announced the Switch Lite for release on September 20. The smaller form factor is a single unit, with no detachable controls, and trades the directional button for a d-pad. The system will not be dockable or connectable to a TV, and the IR camera and HD rumble were removed from the controls.

The Lite's screen is 5.5" and has 720p resolution, allowing for a 20-30% (estimated) increase in battery life for the handheld mode.

Designed with a focus on handheld play, the Lite will launch with three color options: yellow, turquoise, and gray. The MSRP for the system will be $199.99/¥19800 or equivalent. A Pokémon Sword and Shield-themed model will also be available on November 8 for North America.

Talkback

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterJuly 10, 2019

So wait, there's no output for a TV at all? That's kind of surprising.

AdrockJuly 10, 2019

There’s a market for such a revision. However, I think it’s too expensive for what Nintendo removed and particularly for whom the intended audience is.

TOPHATANT123July 10, 2019

I don't know, some games aren't designed just for handheld. Mario Odyssey isn't with it's motion controls. You wouldn't want to play anything with couch multiplayer say like Overcooked, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Smash or Snipperclips.

To me that's a big appeal of the switch, but I guess if you know for a fact you're only ever going to be interested in certain single player games, then you can save a bit of money.

broodwarsJuly 10, 2019

Considering how terribly games seem to run on the Switch in undocked mode & the even more microscopic size of the built-in joycons, I just don't see the appeal of this thing. It removes all the good aspects of the Switch while intensifying the bad.

mereelJuly 10, 2019

Maybe this will force devs to treat undocked mode a little more seriously? As a primarily docked Switch gamer though, this worries me that undocked mode optimizations will begin to take precedence over docked mode. That, and the fact that this ruins the Switch branding, make me very disappointed that this product exists.

Luigi DudeJuly 10, 2019

It's basically the Switch 2DS.  A cheaper alternative to get more kids owning the system in time for Pokemon.  And a $100 differences does make a big deal to kids and parents which Nintendo cares about since their own data shows majority of Switch owners are still adults.

Adults can still buy the normal Switch, but now there's a cheaper alternative for families.

ShyGuyJuly 10, 2019

Pros: smaller, sturdier, dpad, only $200!
Cons: no docking, no kickstand, no rumble, battery is the same??

nickmitchJuly 10, 2019

Was the ability to dock really worth taking out? I get it if the thing won't fit in the regular one, but surely it'd work with some 3rd party solutions.

Ian SaneJuly 10, 2019

I don't have a Switch yet but I would almost certainly play it docked 99% of the time so this model isn't for me.  But Nintendo needed something to replace the 3DS and the normal Switch is a little pricey for that.  This makes a lot of sense, particularly with Pokémon at the doorstep.  They needed something more like a standard handheld for situations where each kid in the household has their own and this fits that.  Also there are going to be households that already have a Switch as their home console and the kids share it and then this is a cheap way to get a second Switch for games like Pokémon where everyone plays separately.

Though I am surprised there isn't some output to a TV.  There were models of the PSP that could do that so you figure they could squeeze it in here.

Like Luigi Dude said this is the Switch 2DS.  Though was the 2DS that successful?  Did it sell well enough to suggest that this approach will sell?

Bman87301July 10, 2019

Quote from: nickmitch

Was the ability to dock really worth taking out? I get it if the thing won't fit in the regular one, but surely it'd work with some 3rd party solutions.

You're assuming Nintendo's idea of 'handheld only', literally means it won't be capable of TV output. Remember, they also claimed the 3DS didn't support SDHC cards and the NES Joy-Cons were only for use with Nintendo Online's NES titles. I have a very strong suspicion the Lite will indeed be capable of outputing with 3rd party connectors, but only time will tell for sure.

Shorty McNostrilJuly 10, 2019

I won't be picking this up. I have no need for a second Switch and my current one's size is fine. Never wished it was a little smaller. Battery life has never been a problem for me and I like tabletop mode option. This lite unit would be of no benefit to me at all.

Though about the unit itself, looks pretty much exactly as expected. But I think omitting the docking function was a terrible oversight. Sure, sell it without a dock, but it should have the functionality there. The hardware is the same. You have to wonder why they left it out? I assume the form factor doesn't allow it to sit snuggly in the existing dock and they didn't want to spend the resources releasing a revised dock? Or they want to focus on the portability aspect of this release?

Hopefully it might be unlockable in a future software update.

nickmitchJuly 10, 2019

Quote from: Bman87301

Quote from: nickmitch

Was the ability to dock really worth taking out? I get it if the thing won't fit in the regular one, but surely it'd work with some 3rd party solutions.

You're assuming Nintendo's idea of 'handheld only', literally means it won't be capable of TV output. Remember, they also claimed the 3DS didn't support SDHC cards and the NES Joy-Cons were only for use with Nintendo Online's NES titles. I have a very strong suspicion the Lite will indeed be capable of outputing with 3rd party connectors, but only time will tell for sure.

Well, the reveal video stated plainly that the Switch Lite "Won't connect to a TV".  Now, I don't know if they've physically removed the capability or not, but they didn't say something like "No dock support" or leave it at "Handheld only".  But the "out of the box" could be implied I suppose.  You're right that we'll just have to wait see; I'm just not betting on it.

broodwarsJuly 10, 2019

I'm curious why they kept the "Switch" branding for this thing when the one thing it definitely CAN'T do is "Switch." It kind of opens the door to false marketing charges with the FTC/FCC unless Nintendo abundantly establishes its faults in every ad they do for the thing. They certainly thought that was enough of an issue with the 3DS revision that they changed the name to suit its limitations.

Bman87301July 10, 2019

Quote from: nickmitch

Quote from: Bman87301

Quote from: nickmitch

Was the ability to dock really worth taking out? I get it if the thing won't fit in the regular one, but surely it'd work with some 3rd party solutions.

You're assuming Nintendo's idea of 'handheld only', literally means it won't be capable of TV output. Remember, they also claimed the 3DS didn't support SDHC cards and the NES Joy-Cons were only for use with Nintendo Online's NES titles. I have a very strong suspicion the Lite will indeed be capable of outputing with 3rd party connectors, but only time will tell for sure.

Well, the reveal video stated plainly that the Switch Lite "Won't connect to a TV".  Now, I don't know if they've physically removed the capability or not, but they didn't say something like "No dock support" or leave it at "Handheld only".  But the "out of the box" could be implied I suppose.  You're right that we'll just have to wait see; I'm just not betting on it.

Judging from past instances of what Nintendo claimed their products could and couldn't do, and by my understanding of how the hardware works (it shouldn't be something that can simply be left out, I believe they'd have to go out of their way to specifically block it), I'd say chances are very reasonable the capability will be there. I have a strong feeling that if I'm right, the built-in controls won't work when outputing-- meaning, you'll need separate Joy-Cons, which is why they'd rather not promote that feature.

Ian SaneJuly 10, 2019

Quote from: broodwars

I'm curious why they kept the "Switch" branding for this thing when the one thing it definitely CAN'T do is "Switch." It kind of opens the door to false marketing charges with the FTC/FCC unless Nintendo abundantly establishes its faults in every ad they do for the thing. They certainly thought that was enough of an issue with the 3DS revision that they changed the name to suit its limitations.

I wonder if the 2DS naming created confusion, coming across as a different platform than the 3DS even though it wasn't.  If Nintendo feels it did I can see them wanting a name that makes it more obvious it's the same thing.

How strict does the FTC/FCC get in regards to product names since "Nintendo Switch" is really a proper noun?  If you want to be a real stickler the Switch Lite has a switch on it to turn it on and off.  Name still makes sense. ;)

nickmitchJuly 10, 2019

Quote from: Bman87301

Quote from: nickmitch

Quote from: Bman87301

Quote from: nickmitch

Was the ability to dock really worth taking out? I get it if the thing won't fit in the regular one, but surely it'd work with some 3rd party solutions.

You're assuming Nintendo's idea of 'handheld only', literally means it won't be capable of TV output. Remember, they also claimed the 3DS didn't support SDHC cards and the NES Joy-Cons were only for use with Nintendo Online's NES titles. I have a very strong suspicion the Lite will indeed be capable of outputing with 3rd party connectors, but only time will tell for sure.

Well, the reveal video stated plainly that the Switch Lite "Won't connect to a TV".  Now, I don't know if they've physically removed the capability or not, but they didn't say something like "No dock support" or leave it at "Handheld only".  But the "out of the box" could be implied I suppose.  You're right that we'll just have to wait see; I'm just not betting on it.

Judging from past instances of what Nintendo claimed their products could and couldn't do, and by my understanding of how the hardware works (it shouldn't be something that can simply be left out, I believe they'd have to go out of their way to specifically block it), I'd say chances are very reasonable the capability will be there. I have a strong feeling that if I'm right, the built-in controls won't work when outputing-- meaning, you'll need separate Joy-Cons, which is why they'd rather not promote that feature.

Your line of reasoning makes complete sense to me.  My only thing is that it would be pretty "Nintendo" of them to go in a disable that feature.  Whether it's to prevent the system from overheating or deter potential bricking from 3rd party hardware or just because.

AdrockJuly 10, 2019

I get the 2DS comparison. I don’t agree with it. 2DS launched at $129.99. It was a weird product with a very specific target audience. It made a lot more sense once Nintendo dropped MSRP to $79.99 in 2016. Later, Nintendo even included a game.

The same benefit doesn’t apply to Switch Lite. 2DS was cheap enough to encourage multiple units per home. While $100 is a significant difference, this thing is still $199.99. I think $149.99 is the sweet spot, and even that’s still too much for many parents.

ThePermJuly 10, 2019

Quote from: broodwars

Considering how terribly games seem to run on the Switch in undocked mode & the even more microscopic size of the built-in joycons, I just don't see the appeal of this thing. It removes all the good aspects of the Switch while intensifying the bad.

Supposedly it has an upgraded processor over OG Switch. It probably runs everything with more stability.

Quote from: broodwars

I'm curious why they kept the "Switch" branding for this thing when the one thing it definitely CAN'T do is "Switch." It kind of opens the door to false marketing charges with the FTC/FCC unless Nintendo abundantly establishes its faults in every ad they do for the thing. They certainly thought that was enough of an issue with the 3DS revision that they changed the name to suit its limitations.

The marketing and name meaning is lost on the Japanese side of the company. Nintendo didn't care that Wii meant piss or a penis in English. Mainly they weren't aware and the western half would never second guess the Japanese head. Wii U sounded like a stupid name. It may have seriously hurt sales. The company doesn't understand why using New! in front of products is a problem. These things are lost in translation.

Rather than have people asking if this Switch game would work in this (insert alternate name of system here), they pissed off pedants instead and made it clear that the software you bought* for Switch will work on it out of the box.

* ain't nobody bought Labo, before you ask

broodwarsJuly 11, 2019

It's not pedantic to point out that you've named a product after the one thing it cannot do, the one thing your entire marketing strategy for the original unit was built around and the one thing the goddamn logo does every time you play a trailer.

*snap*

It's like putting out a "Transformer Lite" that can't change forms. Yeah, you can do it, but you're kind of shooting your brand in the foot.

I'm sure the Switch Lite will sell fine. Nintendo's proven that their fans will buy just about anything these days, with the exception of Labo. Like Adrock pointed out, though, this feels overpriced for the number of concessions it makes from the original Switch design.

Ian SaneJuly 11, 2019

Quote from: broodwars

It's not pedantic to point out that you've named a product after the one thing it cannot do, the one thing your entire marketing strategy for the original unit was built around and the one thing the goddamn logo does every time you play a trailer.

*snap*

It's like putting out a "Transformer Lite" that can't change forms. Yeah, you can do it, but you're kind of shooting your brand in the foot.

Funny, you picked Trasnformers as an example.  They DID release Transformers that can't transform at one point.  Look up the infamous Action Master line.

So Labo is done, right?  I would assume this new form factor won't work with existing Labo sets and that's kind of ironic since the target audience for both Labo and the Switch Lite would be children.

I also find it amusing that after a significant portion of the Switch debut presentation being focused on HD Rumble that the feature is axed from this version.  I maintain my theory that some higher up at Nintendo is still pushing Wii era features hard and it must be driving them nuts that no one gives a shit about stuff like that and the Switch is a big success regardless.

Luigi DudeJuly 11, 2019

Quote from: broodwars

Like Adrock pointed out, though, this feels overpriced for the number of concessions it makes from the original Switch design.

I imagine price flexibility was a major reason for the compromises this system has.  If the regular Switch at $300 is still doing well, they want to see what a $100 less, handheld only device can do.  If it underperforms, they can probably cut the price to $150 and still break even or a small profit.

That's probably why they're releasing it 2 months before Pokemon instead of waiting for the same month.  This way if it sells below expectations in September and October, it won't be that hard to slash the price for Black Friday deals, but then just leave it at $150 or less for the rest of the holiday.

Mop it upJuly 15, 2019

I still say they should have called it the Swontch (won't switch).

Overall, I think it's a smart idea to come out with a lower-priced handheld model, as I think it'll have more appeal for families. And of course it makes total sense and we all expected something like this to release around the time of the next Pokémon, so I'm not surprised in the slightest to see this announcement. In fact, I'd have been very surprised if this didn't happen. Though, an even lower price point may have been ideal.

It isn't a device for me since I pretty much always play on a TV. I don't particularly like the colour options either. The form seems fine for what it is, but it's still no 3DS without the ability to fold onto itself.

One thing that I think they should have done is still allow some way of connecting to a TV, in order to still have that "switch" option, even if it required some kind of adapter sold separately. I know they wanted to keep the "Switch" branding, possibly to avoid a similar confusion as the 2DS, but it still seems a little odd to keep the name without the functionality.

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