Website NintendoLife has recently translated a published article by Nikkei, a Japanese business journal. It offers an interesting tidbit of info regarding the development of 2 new models of Nintendo Switch that may very well come in the near future.
The article in question, translated from Japanese, has this to say:
“Beyond the smaller, budget-focused model lies the development of the overhauled next-generation model intended to replace the one currently available. Nintendo is believed to be experimenting on a number of different things for the device, including usability, improved image rendering, and changes to the operating system, among other things. One development source contends, however, that it still remains unclear at this stage who at the company will end up taking the lead on conceptual development for the new console.”Nikkei Business Journal
It seems that Nintendo has chosen to split the console into both a lite and a pro variant. The lite variant will be more portable and less expensive while the pro variant will have an upgraded feature set much like when comparing the 2DS to New 3DS XL. The timing of the leak seems to point to this source as mostly accurate because we often see some kind of console refresh 3 or 4 years down the road.
With the release of the 3DS XL and New 3DS XL a mere 3 years apart, expect some sort of parallel to happen with the switch next year as well when it reaches its 3 year release mark.
Not all good news
This might mean that we might see the return of some slight segregation within the Nintendo library as if memory serves, some titles like Xenoblade Chronicles only work on the New 3DS XL with its slightly improved hardware.
Besides, I’m not even sure what they could cut down on the current switch besides not bundling it with the dock and instead using an adapter to charge like the 3DS.
Thoughts on the lite model
For the lite model, a reduction in hardware is unadvised as Nintendo would once again be segregating themselves based on hardware capability. A reduction in screen size is possible but would likely not cut production costs enough to justify it. Perhaps the only feasible thing they could cut is the touch screen capability but that might impact games as well.
Thoughts on the pro model
For the pro model, anything could be up for grabs here if Nintendo truly wants to make it another .5 generation leap much like how it was with the WiiU. Perhaps a shift to a more power efficient Tegra GPU is in order so that the switch would be able to hit the 6-hour sweet spot of a mobile gaming device. A redesigned slide rail for the joycons maybe? The coupling rails attached to the joycons are known to wear down quickly and break if used extensively.
Personally, I think a better quality screen upgrade is also in order; could you imagine if they could somehow make the screen G-sync compatible? It would be such a huge boon for 3D games that regularly get stutter-y and drop below the acceptable performance of 30fps. That is both a prime-use case and basically a form of free advertising for Nvidia to be able to implement and achieve that.
The phrasing of the article seems to imply that Nintendo is still under the conception stage of development so this might be an otherwise early leak from sources close to Nintendo; there is definitely still time to change things up if Nintendo chooses to do so.