It was only a couple of weeks ago that I wrote a refresher on what we knew about potential new Switch consoles. Just last Wednesday, Nintendo provided news that broke a lot of those rumors wide open. The Nintendo Switch Lite is coming out just around the corner on Sept. 20, 2019.
So what are we getting? It turns out that this offering is essentially the Switch Mini that was heavily-rumored previously. It is noticeably more compact than the original Switch. It also has a 5.5″ screen as opposed to the 6.2″ that’s available now. Probably most interesting are the Joycons that are no longer Joycons.
The detachable controllers are no more, as they’re now a part of the system itself, making it all one piece. This eliminates the impromptu multiplayer aspect of the Switch as well as the tech inside the Joycons. No more rumble, for example. A big plus (literally) is that there now exists an actual D-pad on the Switch. The console will be priced at $199.
As far as a more portable Switch goes, I think they’ve pretty much hit the mark here. The smaller size was a given, and attaching the Joycons makes sense. The smaller screen kills me though. As mentioned in my previous article, the current Switch has a huge bezel around the screen. Removing most or all of it to keep the screen the same size would’ve been fantastic.
This issue would still come down to holding the actual Lite in my hands though. The screen is technically about 11% smaller. I can’t say for sure whether that’d be a major difference. If I already think that the Switch’s screen could be bigger, what’s a slight downgrade? It’s a downgrade nonetheless though, and I’d have to see for myself in order to make a final determination.
After the announcement and absorbing all this information, I was squarely on the fence about buy a Lite. I want a second Switch, but portability isn’t a big issue. I would prefer a little more power if anything. Still, a sleek, compact Switch has its merits even it’s not exactly what I want. Later on, some info did come along that let me decide for sure.
One more (bad) thing
The straw that broke the camel’s back here wasn’t anything Nintendo told us during the announcement. It came a couple of days later, or was at least brought to the forefront.
The one thing I needed a second Switch to do is be a 1-to-1 experience. By that I mean, I can pick up either Switch in my house and it wouldn’t make a difference. All saves and data would be the same. I imagine this would involve using one Switch, putting it in Sleep mode when done, and then it automatically transfers the necessary data to the other Switch.
Unfortunately, as illustrated by Nintendo themselves, it’s not so simple. One way or another, you’re not just putting one Switch down and picking up another later. You’ll have to transfer data from one Switch to the other every time. So you push through a few menus each time. No big deal right?
Actually, it is a big deal. The reason is because every time you do this, the Switch you transfer data from loses that data. If you save your game and send it to another Switch, you have to play it on that other system…….unless you go through the entire process again. Basically, you never have all your stuff on both Switch consoles.
This is kind of insane until you realize that a) Nintendo has always been shit when it comes to technology like this and b) this device’s main purpose is not for people like me to have a second Switch. The main focus of it is to gobble up sales from people that didn’t want to spend $300 on the original unit. $200 is more palatable if you just want to give it a try or have kids and are worried they might break it. The Lite blurs the lines even further between the Switch and 3DS too, of course.
The Switch Lite will sell. That much is certain. Everyone that takes their Switch on the go or just wants a newer, smaller one will be in luck. It’s also a better entry point if you were unsure about buying one before. If nothing else, the 3DS and DS have a long history of Nintendo loyalists buying multiple for virtually no reason, so this will be successful.
Nintendo’s inability to make it easy on everyone rears its ugly head, however. I think the majority of people buying this for a second console in the house is going to be taken by surprise. It’s not the fluid transition we hoped for. I can guarantee that some people will expect that without even doing their research, and there will be disappointment abound.
I can’t say the Switch Lite is a bad idea though. It’s just not what I personally wanted. More importantly, Nintendo has once again created something that will sell like hotcakes despite its faults. It’s just a shame that, yet again, the device could be even better and sell that much more.