Woke up this morning to a fresh rumor about Nintendo releasing two new Switch models later this year. One would have a bit more advanced features than the current iteration, while the other would be more budget-friendly and remove some features.
The first’s upgraded feature set would appeal to more hardcore gamers. I can’t imagine the form factor changing all that much but the most likely feature upgrade would be in the graphics department, maybe even a longer battery life even. Nintendo historically has never placed an emphasis on graphics, instead focusing on their IP and gameplay. And it works. I’ve never been one to complain about one of their games not being pretty enough.
The second has been rumored for some time, with the speculation of having non-removable Joy-cons being popular and making a lot of sense. The article at the Wall Street Journal, where this rumor came from, mentions removing the HD rumble feature to make this happen.
It’s not unusual for Nintendo to release upgraded consoles. The Nintendo DS went from DS, DSi, DS Lite, 3DS, and now 2DS. Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox also introduced a new hardware SKU with more advanced features as well.
All of these reports seem to fail at the exact same things: seemingly indicating that Nintendo is going to suddenly start chasing markets theyâ€™ve never cared about (the hardcore gamer market) or features they have never prioritized (cutting-edge graphics)… or that theyâ€™re going to try and cut costs in order to grab at a market in ways that will diminish the attractiveness of the system.
If they started to talk about them working more towards a â€œNew 3DSâ€ model that improves the core features of the system (higher res of existing stuff to bring parity between the docked and undocked modes) I would buy it. And eventually, put out some titles that are using the extra horsepower, much like the 3DS, but in general, support both streams as long as possible.
On the lower end… I donâ€™t see removable joycons ever being a thing, for a few basic reasons. The biggest is that there are two flagship titles for the system that depend on undocked joycons: Super Mario Odyssey and the Letâ€™s Go Pokemon games. Yes, you can play Odyssey with a pro controller, but thereâ€™s a lot in it that you cannot do without the split joycons. When it comes to Letâ€™s Go, you need the motion aspects to play it docked… so either they take that away (unlikely) or buy buy the Pokeball accessory (and Nintendo is too smart to put an extra $50 charge to play a game on system thatâ€™s cheaper).
Thatâ€™s where I always take issue with these reports… they seem to say the things investors want to hear but take no account at all for how the company actually behaves.
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