Nintendo is releasing a new Mario-themed Switch on Feb. 12

It's the first time Nintendo has made the console available in a new color.

Nintendo's new Mario-themed Switch is the first new color option since 2017.

For the first time since its release in 2017, Nintendo is dropping a new colorway for the Switch. The Mario Red & Blue Edition will be available starting February 12 and includes a special carrying case as well as a screen protector. The special edition Switch will be priced at $299, though we wouldn't be surprised to see it get marked up by scalpers looking to make a quick buck.


Mario's iconic color scheme — In terms of design, the colors are all classically Mario. The console and dock are painted red while the Joy-Con controllers see a red finish with blue-accented grips. The carrying case is stylized with silhouettes of artwork from the franchise. Nintendo says the included screen protector will help protect the Switch "when traveling through Warp Pipes or anywhere else life's adventures may lead."


Coronavirus surge — The coronavirus pandemic has sent demand for gaming sky high as people look for ways to entertain themselves at home. The Switch has been no exception, dominating sales over the past year.

Consequently every major console maker and graphics card manufacturer has been suffering shortages, making it particularly hard for gamers to upgrade their PCs or buy the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Nintendo only recently began catching up with demand for the Switch.

Shortages of the console were exploited for a time by sophisticated scalpers who used bots to buy up scarce inventory and then mark up the prices, sometimes by as much as 62 percent. The Switch is still somewhat hard to find in-stores if you simply walk in, though online availability has started to improve.

Broad appeal — Nintendo's console may not pack the same type of performance and high-quality graphics as the competition, but the company's iconic IP that appeals to a broad audience has nonetheless helped make the Switch one of the fast-selling consoles in U.S. history. Franchises like Mario and Animal Crossing have a strong ability to move consoles.

There have been persistent rumors that Nintendo might release a "Switch Pro" console with greater graphics capabilities, however. Whether that's even necessary is up for debate as Nintendo has never been one to push the limits on performance.