Looks like a new Switch hardware model is coming. Here's what I expect from Nintendo.


#1

It’s time to speculate about new Nintendo hardware - truly my favorite thing to do on video game forums. You literally never know what they’re going to do until that first leak. Nintendo hardware is unlike any other and it’s fun to try to anticipate their strategies.

Here’s my predictions as far as what the new model will be like:

  1. The dimesions for the new device will be identical to the old one.

  2. They will add a scaler in the hardware for 4k output. The max framebuffer for video games will still be 1080p, but they will add a traditional 4k upscaler similar to what is found on the Xbox One S or your 4k TV.

  3. They will add a 720p LED screen that is capable of HDR and also add HDR support in docked mode.

  4. They will replace the GPU with a smaller one that is more effecient but similar in power to the current GPU. Games will continue to run at the same resolution they have always had with possibly a slight bump in performance for dynamic res games. The more efficent GPU will draw less power in handheld mode, thus increasing battery life.

  5. The dock, chasis, and joycons of the new model will be different in color (maybe white?) than the current model and any currently available joycons indicate its “premium” status.

  6. It will sell at $300.

  7. The current model will get a price drop of around $50-$100 and be sold without a dock included from now on.

So, these are all predictions I’m pulling out of thin air. But I do see this model very much as an Xbox One S type upgrade for the Switch, but without phasing out the current model. Rather, I think they’ll just sell both models - a premium HDR model with a dock, and an original model without a dock.

I don’t see them increasing resolution on the screen or max output in docked mode, changing the CPU, or increasing the storage capacity at all. These would all be unnecessarily expensive for Nintendo. The HDR screen, as it is, would still be a very huge leap for such a conservative company.

All the 4K output predictions you’re seeing on other forums sound totally implausible in my humble opinion. The tech just isn’t there yet for Nintendo to do that and make the profit they expect to on hardware sales.

Removing the Dock from the orignal model will lower the price to allow them to target parents of children who want the system for Pokemon - a huge part of Nintendo’s strategy. The 3DS family of systems currently fills that role, but it will also receive a price drop coinciding with this new hardware, and eventually be phased out by the end of 2019.

Dockless og Switch will be the “handheld successor” going forward. I think this is a fairly conservative and safe strategy for the company. What do you think?


#2

No way. It will be a revised board that will be cheaper to manufacture which will incidentally give it a better battery life. They may have a better display, change the look and feel of the console, but the specs will be identical. Think DS Lite, 2DS, and basically every revision of a Nintendo console.


#3

Yeah, I can’t see them changing too much this early. It just confuses the market. Longer battery life? Sure! Better display? Absolutely! Anything else? I doubt it.


#4

What are issues a Switch revision could address? The current form is very good, so it’s not like the original GBA or DS. But Nintendo has two markets - console and handheld. The 3DS is finally on its last legs, for the Switch to take its place as a Pokemon machine, it needs these to change:

  1. Price, it’s too expensive to buy for kids
  2. Size, it’s too big for kids
  3. Form - it’s too fragile for kids

For the console space, a Switch upgrade (in the DSi/N3DS sense) makes sense, many games already use dynamic resolution and already support multiple specs (docked and undocked) that spec bumps make sense.

So:

  1. Switch Go. Smaller, with built in joycons and more robust build for kids to play Pokemon. Still compatible with the dock and other controllers so maintains the ability to ‘Switch’, but comes without them to keep the price down. A Switch 2DS essentially.

  2. Later (2020 at the earliest) a Super Switch, which is pretty much a spec bumped current form factor, which can run current docked level in handheld mode. A Switch N3DS.


#5

I don’t see how the Switch is too fragile for kids. Have you seen those durability test videos?

As far as it being too big… I still don’t see it. Especially when it’s playable in table-top mode. Switch’s signature thing the joycons and that click noise. I don’t see them changing that.


#6

Yeah I believe the Switch Go will be a thing at some point. Smaller, one block (cheaper), made for kids like the 2DS was.


#7

Yeah, I disagree with you on that @D.Lo. I think it’s very popular and very durable for kids. Taking away the joycons by making them built in defeats the whole selling point of it which is to play with your pals on the go.

I think there’s too much emphasis on Pokémon in general as something that will or will not sell more Switches. The game coming this fall is going to do that (and is doing that via pre-orders) already. A main line one will be big too, but that already started.


#8

Those are some solid predictions. I’m expecting the screen to be larger with thinner bezels however, the information in the source did point towards newer LCD display production techniques so probably something similar to what Apple has used with the iPhone Xr. A larger screen with the same form factor would be great. I’m not expecting a smaller Switch - that’s unlikely to happen given the Joy-Con have a fixed height, and a smaller display makes little sense given how small some of the user interfaces already look on the 6" screen, itself a big improvement from the tiny text found in the ported TV HUDs of many Vita games.

A reference to a new Tegra SoC - codenamed Mariko - was found in Switch firmware earlier in the year. It has double the RAM (8GB). I’m hoping it isn’t modelled from the Pascal-based Tegra X2 but rather a brand new chip, built from the ground up for Nintendo. It could offer both more efficiency for better battery life and better performance with upcoming and existing games (as mentioned, dynamic res titles will hit the upper bound more often by default, and framerates will be more stable). It’s good that Unreal 4 now supports dynamic res - it’ll probably come in handy with that Dragon Quest XI port.

I hope Nintendo doesn’t make it a ‘low cost’ model like the 2DS. Stick with what they did best with DS and make each successive model a tangible upgrade in quality, with the older model becoming entry level. Don’t cheapen up a good foundation.


#9

I don’t think it’ll happen. Beyond losing the selling point of making true console local multiplayer feasible anywhere you like, a smaller, pocketable(?) Switch would mean a smaller display. And a smaller display would make the text and interfaces in numerous Switch games, which take interfaces and HUDs built for TVs, impossible to read.

Don’t forget that Let’s Go is being marketed and positioned primarily as a home console game to play when people get home from playing Go outdoors. A home-only Switch is more likely to come before a portable-only device, I reckon.

On a somewhat related note, Nintendo was smart to start the Switch platform with a hybrid. All developers have had to consider or optimise their games for two power profiles: handheld and docked, and also pick from supporting three play styles. All of this is listed on the eShop against games, so Nintendo could very well make a portable-only or docked-only system and the tags against games would handle the compatibility seamlessly.


#10

The tablet isn’t that fragile, but in the durability drop tests the joycon rails always take the brunt and the joycons get destroyed.

Anyway we’ll see won’t we? They released a 3DS without 3D (despite some games literally being named ‘3D’ and built around the 3D gimmick) IMO they can release a Switch without the switching.

@DaveLong Local multi is a selling point of the console, but it isn’t the only one. the MAIN selling point of any platform is access to a great library of games at an affordable price. Losing local multi is a sacrifice many kids would happily make if it means they get a Switch Go with Pokemon instead of no Switch at all.

The stats show a good chunk of players already leave it in the dock, and accessories like the Hori dpad joycon are incompatible with the local multi concept, so seemingly there is a proven segment of the market for whom local multi isn’t that big a deal already.


#11

While we’re at it, I hope Nintendo also redesigns or improves the Joy-Con controllers and calls them Joy-Con 2 or something. There’s always improvements to be made in the quality of the switches, or the durability and operational ability of the analogue sticks, and new and improved models might encourage upgraders not to put their new Joy-Con controllers on eBay to help cover the cost of the upgrade (conversely there might be a glut of Joy-Con 1 controllers on eBay)…

Think of how Microsoft updates the Type Cover with their Surface line every year, improving the key switches or adding backlighting. Nintendo themselves has always done this with their handhelds as well.


#12

They should probably make ‘Joy-con pro’ or something with handles and bigger sticks. People already put their Switches in those fat one-piece cases with grips, there was a big kickstarter about one of them early on.

I mean they made the circle pad pro monstrosity…

I’d probably grab such a thing for home usage, I love separated hand play.


#13

From my anecdotal experience, the Switch is both too big or too expensive for parents to buy multiples for their kids and let them take it out of the house unattended. I’m going by what I’ve seen of my nephews and their little friends at birth parties and such. Many of them don’t have a Switch and pretty much none of them are allowed to have it out and about on their own, especially not school. This is in stark contrast to all of them owning 3DSes and 2DSes. I’m not necessarily saying the Switch is more fragile, but there’s just something about its form factor that gives it appearance of a more luxury item that could be more easily broken or stolen that doesn’t give parents confidence to let their kid handle it haphazardly.

I myself do baby my Switch more than any DS or 3DS I own. I also have eight DSes and four 3DSes. I’ll be looking closely at this new Switch to see if I’ll even get a second one.

As for this hardware revision, I waver between pessimistic and optimistic. Pessimistic/actual expectation: it’s a minor upgrade to primarily address piracy, cut costs on internal parts and maybe gives slight bumps to battery performance, game performance and temp mgmt. Optimistic/hopeful for: it’s a more portable, more durable Switch Mini. I don’t see Nintendo adding HDR or a 4K scaler or any new drastic improvements in tech. That just seems so unlike them. Longshot: it uses a next-gen NVIDIA chip and is essentially a major hardware upgrade.


#14

It’ll probably depend on what happens to the 3DS. By keeping 3DS around as an entry level platform primarily targeted at kids, it allows the Switch to occupy and focus on a different, higher-end space, which is even more evident when you consider the pricing of its peripherals and stuff like Labo. If 3DS continues to be supported and pushed by Nintendo through to 2020, I can’t see Nintendo seeing a need to build a budget Switch.

There’s Pokemon, of course, but you could argue that it’s being aimed at Let’s Go Players and those who grew up playing Pokemon - people who have disposable income. I think Nintendo will continue pushing Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon to cover the kids’ market - check out this new commercial which got published to Nintendo’s YouTube channel this week, where those Pokemon games receive prominent positioning:


#15

I just hope that whatever else Ninty does, they fix the kickstand. I seriously feel like that thing is going to snap every time I use it!


#16

Get a hori stand. It’s worth the investment just so you can angle the system properly. The kick stand is still too vertical to be comfy playing on most desks If you’re sitting up straight and hovering over the device. The Hori can angle it up so that it’s more ergonomic.


#17

I agree - it’s not stable enough for anything that isn’t a stable desk surface, and it’s single angle should be improved upon, Surface-style.

Funnily enough it’s designed to snap off though because of the dock. Imagine docking it while the kickstand is unfolded! There’s a news channel post in the Switch UI which shows an illustration of this happening, showing how you can clip it back in.

Perhaps a redesigned dock will allow Nintendo to make a more durable and flexible kickstand. Though the current dock is as it is to prevent it from being moved about the table - the third party docks I’ve tried are very easy to move, even by something like a stiff HDMI cable.


#18

I do hope they add an extra charging socket somewhere (like on the back) so that you can charge the thing while it’s on its kickstand.


#19

Oh, those Hori stands are pretty cool, but if Nintendo is releasing an updated design, they should really try to fix it themselves. Having a third party solution to a problem is nice, but not having the problem in the first place is even nicer :wink:

Also, good D-Pad when? I find it hilarious that Nintendo still hasn’t addressed the D-Pad issue with the Switch themselves. And no, I’m not counting the Pro Controller as a fix, considering most people agree the d-pad is awful on it.


#20

The Pro d-pad works fine now from my experience on two Pro controllers. It may have just been earlier/2017 stock that had the faulty design.