New Nintendo Switch: Release Date, Price, and Features for Reported Two New Consoles

Two new Switches could be on the way.

nintendo switch mystery

The Nintendo Switch has been a true comeback story. Following the Wii U’s abysmal performance, the Switch launched in 2017 and instantly became one of the fastest selling consoles available. It’s little surprise then that Nintendo has a plan for capitalizing on the Switch’s popularity with a pair of follow-up devices.

The console is currently one of the world’s most popular gaming platforms with more than 32 million units sold as of Dec. 2018. Strategy Analytics predicts that the Switch was already likely to catapult Nintendo past Sony in terms of console sales in 2019. That prediction came before news broke that there would be two additional Switch models later this year, a high-end and budget version.

The timing is perfect. Switch sales are expected to dip from 17.9 million in the last fiscal year to 17.4 million next year, reported the The Wall Street Journal on March 25. Ben Arnold, the Senior Director of Innovation and Trends at the Consumer Technology Association tells Inverse that two new Switch models on opposite ends of the pricing spectrum could be a stroke of genius. He sees it as a way to bring two distinct gaming demographics into the same gaming ecosystem.

console company market stats
The Nintendo Switch has single-handedly ushered in a Nintendo advent.

“There’s a bifurcation in the Nintendo fandom, so this approach makes a lot of sense,” he said. “A segment of gamers, largely made up of kids, are perfect for the lite version and another group of more serious gamers that want Nintendo franchises with step-up games.”

Nintendo hasn’t said a word about the consoles. But the internet has already dubbed the premium device the “Switch Pro” or “Switch XL” and the more affordable option has been nicknamed “Switch Lite.” Here is what to expect from the two devices, when they will likely launch, and how gamers will be able to tell them apart.


New Nintendo Switch Models: Price

Nintendo has not revealed any details about what its pair of new Switch consoles will cost, but pricing just right will be vital to their success. The company is selling the original Switch for $300, while its next best handheld console, the New Nintendo 3DS XL goes for $200. Depending on how much Nintendo strips from the Switch, its Lite version will likely be priced very similarly to the 3DS XL.

Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities told GamesIndustry.biz that he anticipates the Switch Lite to cost $199, exactly like the 3DS XL.

Nintendo Switch
The original Switch would be a mid-tier model compared to its reported successors.

The Pro variant, on the other hand, might cost as much $400 or $500. Sony’s original PlayStation 4 now costs $300 a Best Buy, while the upgraded PS4 Pro costs $400 on Amazon. Nintendo would probably price their high-end version along the lines of where its competitors are pricing their consoles.

New Nintendo Switch Models: Release Date

A specific release date has yet to be announced, but the Wall Street Journal’s report indicates that both variants could arrive by the summer.

E3 2019 is scheduled to kick off on June 11, which would be the earliest to expect an announcement from Nintendo as notable as news of two big new consoles. The Japanese video game giant will almost certainly have some major surprises in store for the yearly gaming expo.

New Nintendo Switch Models: “Switch Pro/XL” Specs

The reported higher-end Switch likely won’t reach the same level as similar mid-generation upgrades like the PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X, meaning Nintendo likely won’t strive for 4K-resolution graphics. The company’s most iconic titles are all constructed using a cartoony aesthetic that are nowhere near as graphically intensive as the hyper-realistic graphics in, Far Cry 5 or Crysis 3 on other consoles.

nintendo switch mock ups
Redditors on the Nintendo Switch subreddit guess at what the two new models might look like.

An upgraded Switch would likely still entice players with enhanced visuals, a notable sore point on the original console. The Switch can output up to 1080p resolution through a connected dock, but this drops to just 720p when undocked and playing on-the-go using the 6.2-inch touchscreen. Its portability is a key selling point versus the PS4 and Xbox One, but the screen’s low pixel density of 237 dots per inch pales in comparison to what smartphones and tablets can offer, which start at around double that density.

An October 2018 report suggested a Switch follow up would include higher brightness, better energy efficiency, and a thinner design. It also noted that the console would still likely use LCD screens, rather than the OLED technology found on devices like the iPhone XS that enables deeper blacks.

Redditors on the Nintendo Switch subreddit attempted to bring this concept to life. User u/Yolorenzo posted a mock up of a bezel-less Nintendo Switch, which drew a lot of excitement from fans in the Nintendo Switch subreddit.

New Nintendo Switch Models: “Switch Lite” Features and Specs

On the other end of the spectrum, the Switch Lite might actually do away with its “switch-ability.” Dr. Serkan Toto — the CEO of Kantan Games — predicted that the device will be be fully handheld, like a PlayStation Portable, and cost somewhere in the ballpark of $199. He is the source cited in a GamesIndustry.biz report that the Switch Lite won’t be able to “switch” from a handheld to a console. But not everyone agrees with this assessment.

nintendo switch  lite mockup
What the Nintendo Switch Lite could look lke.

The CTA’s Arnold tells Inverse that he disagrees with the notion that any modern-day console will release without TV-supporting features.

“I think even a portable-only device would have some connection to the TV, either an HDMI port or some wireless mirroring capability,” he said. “There are other ways to design products for portability, [for example] through different form factors or internal components. I would expect any new media devices to have a tie in with the TV.”

The so-called Switch ‘Lite’ might come with its Joy Cons built into its body, so it could then transmit games being played on its handheld screen to larger displays. It would essentially be a controller with a built-in screen, which is exactly how the WiiU was designed.

In that scenario, the goal for this device is to essentially take over sinking 3DS sales and give interested consumers an affordable, entry-level console to play some of Nintendo’s most iconic titles.

A change like this will likely mean a smaller screen, slightly worse resolution, and a decrease in overall processing and graphical power.

Nintendo Super Mario Odyssey
There are many more titles to come to accompany the games like, 'Super Mario Odyssey' (2017).

New Nintendo Switch Models: New Games

There is a big roster of upcoming Switch games that Nintendo has teased or announced during its latest Nintendo Direct event. Many of these titles have been given summer release dates, which could suggest they’ll complement a Switch Pro and Switch Lite launch at E3 or later. Three of the following titles have received early-to-mid summer release dates:

  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses (July 26, 2019)
  • Super Mario Maker 2 (June 2019)
  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (June 21, 2019)
  • Legend of Zelda: Links’ Awakening (2019)
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield (2019)
  • Animal Crossing (2019)
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3 (2019)

Dr. Toto also mentioned that the Nintendo Switch Pro would enable the company to take on more third-party titles. That’s something publishers have shied away from in the past because of Nintendo console’s graphical capabilities, but that could all change in the summer.

“I am expecting a lot more games from third-party developers in 2019, starting in spring,” he said. “At least one new game from the mega-franchises owned by EA, Activision or Take-Two will launch on Switch.”

The Switch successfully kicked off another worldwide Nintendo craze. Nintendo has at least two shots this summer at an opportunity to keep that momentum going.