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July 11, 2019 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Nintendo's New 'Switch Lite' Doesn't Actually Switch [The Verge] “The Switch Lite — the newly unveiled spinoff of the full-sized Switch console — doesn’t actually “switch.” Instead of the detachable controllers and TV dock that allows the standard Switch to shape-shift between a TV console, portable gamepad, and a mobile multiplayer machine, the Switch Lite has a much narrower focus on just one of those experiences — but that’s not a bad thing. Instead, it shows that the Switch’s audience and appeal extend to a different market than what the full-sized version currently serves.” [YouTube][Reveal Trailer]

• A brief history of cutdown game consoles [The Verge]
“t’s not surprising that Nintendo has announced a redesign of the Switch, but it is a little surprising that the Switch Lite has lost the system’s signature ability to… switch. The new revision is solely designed for handheld play, meaning it doesn’t have detachable controllers, a kickstand, or the ability to be played on a TV. That’s just the way it goes with video game consoles, though. While new generations of hardware introduce far greater power and functionality, often revisions within the same generation take certain steps backward. Whether the trade-offs are made to reduce costs or because certain elements were deemed unimportant, over their history, all three current console makers have released multiple machines that killed various features. The question, as ever, is how much those missing features mean to you.”
• Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: What Are The Differences? [Nintendo Life]
“So, Nintendo has finally revealed its new Nintendo Switch hardware revision, the Nintendo Switch Lite. A slightly smaller console dedicated to handheld play, the Switch Lite ditches the standard model's ability to detach the Joy-Con controllers, and has instead been designed as a handheld-only system. But what else is new? And what exactly are the key differences between the Switch and the Switch Lite? That's what we're hoping to answer for you right here.”
• The Nintendo Switch Lite Is Basically The PlayStation Vita Reborn [Forbes]
“Nintendo announced the Switch Lite yesterday, complete with a delicious irony that I am 100% here for: it does not Switch. That's the whole concept of the Switch, after all: it can be work either in tabletop, handheld or docked mode, making it a remarkably versatile little machine. The Switch Lite, not so much. This is a smaller, handheld-only system. Nintendo actually pulled this trick once before, to a certain degree, when it removed the primary identifier for the 3DS by turning it into the 2DS, but in that case it changed the name. I get why the company didn't do the same thing before, but it's funny nonetheless. The thing is, the Switch becomes a very different system when you take away its ability to switch. It becomes, in a simple sense, the PlayStation Vita.”
• Will busted analog sticks doom the Switch Lite? [Polygon]
“The Nintendo Switch is one of my favorite pieces of gaming hardware, but it’s not without its faults. Two-plus years after launch, my console has held up remarkably well, but the same cannot be said for its Joy-Cons. At present I am on my third set of Joy-Con controllers, including the pair that came with the console. With the announcement of the Switch Lite (and its permanently attached controllers), this could become a major problem. Nintendo hasn’t spoken publicly about the problem of “drifting” Joy-Con controllers, but it’s a big issue, with countless documented reports. After several months of playtime, some Joy-Con analog sticks will begin to “wobble” and lose accuracy.”
• Nintendo is working on a minor upgrade for the original Switch [Engagdet]
“...some FCC filings suggest that Nintendo is refreshing the original Switch with a new processor and flash storage. The specifics are vague (one document literally says "change of SoC type") but it's safe to assume they'll be small upgrades that don't require a special model name. Sony, for comparison, took a similar approach with its quieter PS4 Pro last year. Still, it's good to hear that Nintendo is working on better Switch hardware. The original console, after all, runs on Nvidia's now slightly dated Tegra X1 processor. The newly-announced Switch Lite, meanwhile, has a "more power-efficient chip layout,"”
• Nintendo Switch Lite is destined for success, but Switch Pro is the important one [Games Industry Biz]
“Now the focus turns on to another unannounced but widely expected Switch model: the Switch Pro. In many ways, this device might prove even more important. One thing Nintendo has been taken by surprise by with Switch is the sheer level of usage the console has been getting. It may have missed its ambitious hardware sales target during the last financial year, but it smashed its (arguably even more significant) software target. Gamers are playing more games on the console than Nintendo had expected. Switch has an active and engaged community, and the company really can't get games out fast enough to satisfy the demand. Switch Pro is a device for this audience, and will prove crucial as Microsoft, Sony and Google start promoting their new platforms in 2020.”
posted by Fizz (37 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Give me a 'Nintendo Pro' edition with a d-pad, detachable joy-cons, a faster processor, an OLED screen, & release it in 'atomic purple' you monsters.
posted by Fizz at 9:48 AM on July 11 [13 favorites]


What's the betting that you'll have to buy all your digitally downloaded games again for this even if you have them on the Switch? With it being Nintendo and all.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 9:56 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


As soon as Switch was announced as a modular console that plugs into your tv and can be carried around, I figured this was coming. The fact that no 3DS replacement was on anyone's radar confirmed it. Handheld devices have always lagged well behind home consoles (or in the case of the Sega Nomad ate batteries so fast they weren't exactly portable). Having a handheld that can play the exact same games as a home console is amazing.

The one concern I have is that Nintendo has always been behind when it comes to things like porting over saved games and switching devices. And I don't see any indication yet that they've thought through a way for people to own both Switch SKUs and be able easily move their user profile and saves from one to the other and back again. Amazon can keep track of my last read page when I switch between my kindle and the kindle app on my phone. I want to see the ability to do the same with save games before I even consider buying one of these.

And that pro edition - rumour mill has it that it's on the way. What I'm curious about is if we'll eventually see Nintendo swing in the other direction - a home use only, screenless Switch acting more like a traditional console.
posted by thecjm at 9:59 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


What's the betting that you'll have to buy all your digitally downloaded games again for this even if you have them on the Switch? With it being Nintendo and all.

I just watched a video where a games journalist (who had a half hour to play with the Switch Lite) addresses this issue. He questioned Doug Bowser and they said they have some "solution" for this concern.

That being said, I won't hold my breath that we get a proper online account that lets you 'switch' from device to device and carry your games over though. Nintendo is horrible at all things online.
posted by Fizz at 10:01 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Oh Nintendo, please don't lie about why you're changing out the processor. Everyone knows about the Tegra X1 being as secure as a sieve.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:09 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


I mean, I'm definitely not the target market for this, because my Switch has been used not on a TV for maybe like 2 hours total in all the time I've had it. I also will say, here's hoping that they don't screw the people who do want to get one of these with double-purchases, because much as I love Nintendo they are awful at making people re-buy the same things over and over.

That said, it will be interesting to see how this long-term affects what were previously handheld-only titles. I've long felt it really weird that all sorts of good games would come out on the current handheld for Nintendo and yet even via virtual console or Nintendo store never be ported to the non-handheld. Maybe now that everything's one platform, that will change? I would throw so much money at Nintendo for various titles ... if they weren't handheld-only.
posted by tocts at 10:12 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I saw no problem with 3DS --> 2DS and see no problem with this. I wanted to play AC:NL but had no need for the 3D gimmick, hence I bought a 2DS. I'm sure plenty of people want to play BOTW but have no need for the docking gimmick. IIRC logging into your Nintendo account on your 2DS meant you could play games you bought digitally for the 3DS but I only bought cartridges so I don't know for sure. But I suspect that's likely how it'll work.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Tocts, I haven't docked my Switch in ages. It was cool at first, but I've always been able to get more comfy in handheld mode so why bother? I agree that it would be awesome if handheld and console started merging. I've always been the one missing out on console games because I only had a handheld; Switch is already remedying some of that for me but it would be great if it went then other way and I could get more people to play Professor Layton.
posted by brook horse at 10:20 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


The Switch, to me, marked the first step towards convergence of consoles and handhelds, at least for the "casual gamer" set (who previously were the targets of the Wii and phone games). For the Nintendo line, it replaces the Wii/Wii U, and adds the mobile capability. Nintendo has never been the target for super-intensive, power-hungry games.

I still struggle to understand the Switch Lite's position. The price point matches the DS, sure, but I feel like you give up more than $100 of capability relative to the Switch. You might convince me there are folks who never play it on the TV or with the Joy Cons off (I confess 75% of the time I use mine I'd be in this group), but is giving that up and having a smaller screen worth only $100 to you?
posted by MrGuilt at 10:20 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I want this just so that my spouse and I don't have to share an animal crossing island, TBH.
posted by sonmi at 10:24 AM on July 11 [8 favorites]


You might convince me there are folks who never play it on the TV or with the Joy Cons off (I confess 75% of the time I use mine I'd be in this group), but is giving that up and having a smaller screen worth only $100 to you?

Two (well, three) words: Pokémon Sword/Shield. This isn't targeted at you - it's targeted at people who want to get a more portable Switch for one of the biggest traditionally portable releases coming out.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:25 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


One other thing to consider is a lot of folks nowadays, particularly young, single folks, don't even have TVs. The only reason my partner and I have any monitor in our apartment at all is because their dad gifted us his old gaming computer, we would never have bought a desktop on our own. I suspect there are a lot of people with only laptops, which you could theoretically HDMI the Switch to but that's not much of an improvement over the regular screen.
posted by brook horse at 10:28 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I definitely see this as targeting kids as well as those who grew up playing 2DS & 3DS who didn't graduate to the original Switch. It's a stepping stone up and at a price that isn't too insane.

I've only recently started to take advantage of hooking up my Switch to the TV, for the most part I've logged all of my hours playing in hand-held mode. That being said, it's nice to know I have that option because party-games (co-op) is that much better on a larger screen where I can split apart the joy-cons and pass them around.
posted by Fizz at 10:29 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I definitely see this as targeting kids as well as those who grew up playing 2DS & 3DS who didn't graduate to the original Switch. It's a stepping stone up and at a price that isn't too insane.

This is definitely me--I was intrigued by some of the Switch games (mainly Let's Go Eevee) but not enough to shell out 300 dollars, and I prefer handheld games anyway. Now that a new Pokemon game AND an Animal Crossing game are coming, I definitely want one!

Here is my question for people who have the regular Switch--handheld games do aggravate my tendinitis (which is the only reason I might not get this)--do the Joycons make any difference for any of you who have hand/wrist issues?
posted by leesh at 10:33 AM on July 11


Here is my question for people who have the regular Switch--handheld games do aggravate my tendinitis (which is the only reason I might not get this)--do the Joycons make any difference for any of you who have hand/wrist issues?

Personally, I find the detached Joycons much easier on my wrists because my wrists and fingers aren't also doing the job of supporting the weight/viewing angle of the console.

Similarly, I'm at that age where my eyes are starting to have trouble focusing close up, so being able to use the TV reduces eye strain.
posted by treepour at 10:38 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


leesh, the video I shared in my comment up above doesn't have hands on footage of the new swotch lite but the journalist did talk about how its roughly the same size as an original switch only with one joy con removed.

I don't have any arthritic issues but I have played in hand held mode for hours and it's pretty comfy. You may get a gel cover/grip though as it does add some extra comfort and makes holding it easier.
posted by Fizz at 10:40 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


My experience with handheld mode is that I cannot play the switch in handheld mode for more than a few minutes. In my case it's because of the size of my hands rather than tendonitis or injury, but the controls are really cramped. My wife, with her tiny hands, actually prefers handheld mode but I use exclusively TV mode with a pro controller.
posted by dbx at 10:49 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Not that I don't know people who already have multiple Switches, but it seems like there's a big perception difference between buying a kid a $200 handheld and buying them a $300 console that can also be a handheld. $200 in my head is much closer to where a reasonably comfortable middle-class family would go "okay, sure, this is the kiddo's big Christmas present this year", versus trying to justify it as a family purchase? I wouldn't have taken the downgrade just to save $100 when I'm going to wind up spending hundreds on games over the life of the thing, but I think it'll substantially reduce the barriers to people buying more than one for a household.
posted by Sequence at 10:51 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Personally, I find the detached Joycons much easier on my wrists because my wrists and fingers aren't also doing the job of supporting the weight/viewing angle of the console.

Same here. But it's worth nothing that the Switch Lite is supposed to be significantly lighter (by something like 25%?) in addition to being slightly smaller. Is that enough to make a difference? Not sure, but I'm not in the target market for this anyway, since I already have a full-size Switch.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:57 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the audience for this thing is definitely kids. Mine have already asked for one of these so they don't have to fight over whose turn it is to use the Switch. The Switch rarely gets used with the teevee, unless they have friends over and are playing Smash Bros or whatever.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:59 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I pointed out in a recent AskMe about the Switch that I think there's a place for multiple Lites in a home over a single Classic. If you have two kids of videogaming age, you're dropping roughly $400 bucks on a home Switch setup (Console, extra joycons, charger for extra joycons, handgrips) which means that two Lites could satisfy while also dodging the "It's my turn to play" arguments I remember having with my sister over the first Nintendo.

Downside is that if the kids have similar tastes, you might be stuck buying the same game more than once as multi-Switch gameplay is weird.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:00 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


If I still had a live-in spouse, I'd totally buy one. We play different games, and had to negotiate Switch time. It seems excessive to buy 2 consoles for a 2-person household, but I'd buy a Lite just to have it available solely for my use.

(I got the Switch in the separation, so it's a moot point)
posted by Fig at 11:03 AM on July 11


I can't help but think of a certain focus group skit when thinking about the Switch Light.

But in all honesty, as somebody who hasn't gotten a Switch yet (I don't buy Nintendo hardware until Animal Crossing is released on it; firm rule), I don't think this is quite for me. The 'New Switch/Switch Pro' might be!
posted by destructive cactus at 11:24 AM on July 11


I'm looking forward to this for VNs as I miss my vita. It's much closer to budget than $300+ and probably lower if I count future sales. Also, same with not owning TVs so most of the time I play handheld and PC.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 11:46 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I may have some bias since I work closely with MS's adaptive gaming group on the XBox, but Nintendo's gaming consoles with no facility for accessibility at all is a terrible look for 2019.

Also, having just spent a few days with the nephew, a kid with every current gaming system hooked up to a TV the size of a football pitch: hooeee, is the Switch and its games expensive. It'd cost me around $500 Canadian to kit a bearable Switch setup, and at $80/game, it's rich boys only
posted by scruss at 12:04 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I don't have a Switch, but I do have a Wii U (look, I'm a late adopter) that I play on the second screen maybe 90% of the time it's in use. So if and when I do upgrade, this seems like it'd be ideal for me. The only question is whether it'll be built to last, and it sounds like I should wait and see on that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:10 PM on July 11


Also, having just spent a few days with the nephew, a kid with every current gaming system hooked up to a TV the size of a football pitch: hooeee, is the Switch and its games expensive.

If Nintendo could get their act together and just open up all of their NES, SNES, game catalog for the Switch Online subscription/Switch shop, they'd make so much bank.

And while I'm not liking how all of gaming is becoming subscription based, the recently announced Xbox Game Pass offers a lot. I may end up going Microsoft when their next generation console is released. It really doesn't make sense to not have everything available. But I guess money/greed are usually answers as to why things aren't just opened up a bit more for everyone.
posted by Fizz at 12:18 PM on July 11


And yeah, as a dude with giganto middle-aged hands, this probably isn't for me, even though I'm not convinced I'd ever dock an original Switch. The New 2DS XL is juuuuuuust on the wrong side of having the controls too low to be comfortable even though I like it for almost everything else - weight, cost, etc.

I'm surprised they removed the kickstand, if nothing else I'd think the Switch as a Media Player would still be appealing for the target market. I suppose it doesn't help the attach rate, so off it goes!
posted by Kyol at 12:45 PM on July 11


I don't have a Switch, but I do have a Wii U (look, I'm a late adopter) that I play on the second screen maybe 90% of the time it's in use. So if and when I do upgrade, this seems like it'd be ideal for me. The only question is whether it'll be built to last, and it sounds like I should wait and see on that.

Similarly, our Wii U is exclusively used on the second screen, to the point where it's not even attached to a television anymore. Downside is you can't get more than 30? feet from the base. As we approach 100% on Breath of the Wild, the Wii U utility is going to quickly decline. Might consider a Switch Light if it's easy to swap accounts between our existing Switch. We only buy physical games (are they still called cartridges?) on Nintendo because of how difficult they make it to manage data.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 12:48 PM on July 11


As someone who spends most of his Switch time in fighting games, where a dedicated controller and LAN adapter are both a must, the Switch Lite is a nonstarter for me, but I absolutely believe the market exists. If your console connects to the Internet at all, Nintendo logs what "mode" you're playing in all the time, and phones that data back home for market research. (They've alluded to this in a couple of interviews.) They know what they're doing. And yeah, they've always tried to sell families on owning multiple Switches—this makes the pitch easier to swallow.

If you'd like a DPad on your Switch Phat (can we relive the DS days and bring that name back?), Hori sells the joycon for you. It only works handheld, it has no rumble, and the ancillary buttons are mushy, but it does the job. It made playing the NES games a lot nicer for me.

Oh Nintendo, please don't lie about why you're changing out the processor. Everyone knows about the Tegra X1 being as secure as a sieve.

I mean, the hardware business being what it is, I can believe it's all of the above? I imagine the reasons they gave are all true—but yes, they elided this one.

I may have some bias since I work closely with MS's adaptive gaming group on the XBox, but Nintendo's gaming consoles with no facility for accessibility at all is a terrible look for 2019.

Agreed. Unfortunately I think this is the downside of Nintendo's "we make hardware to make our games better" philosophy. They want you to experience the game a certain way and I think it's gonna be a long slog to get them to understand that more accessibility options aren't counter to their artistic vision.
posted by brett at 12:50 PM on July 11 [4 favorites]


I do the vast majority of my gaming on Switch now, and would pick up one of these for travel if only Nintendo had a reliable way to sync games across consoles (like XBox).

Being able to play the same games at home and when traveling is the #1 reason I got and mostly play on a Switch, but I don't really need the same device to do both. The Vita model (Vita + Vita TV) was actually better.

But right now, it's impossible to play your games on more than one Switch without moving your entire account (full system transfer), which seems impractical. Some games do have cloud sync now, but its restricted in many popular games and so not a useful solution.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:19 PM on July 11


I mean, the hardware business being what it is, I can believe it's all of the above? I imagine the reasons they gave are all true—but yes, they elided this one.

Given Nintendo's history, the main reason they're dropping the X1 is because of its vulnerabilities, with any improvements to performance a distant second.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:22 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


They're also updating the Switch hardware, improving the CPU (and possibly closing security holes used by jailbreakers).

Let's hope they also update the USB-C port, readding the obligatory second resistor they skimped on that would allow it to charge from all standard USB-C chargers rather than being recognised as an audio dongle of some sort. (Or, to paraphrase Benson Leung, stop trying to be clever and just copy the goddamn reference implementation which is a normative standard.)
posted by acb at 3:23 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Also Nintendo, you missed the mark and all the glorious puns by not calling this a 'Lite Switch'.

Also, also, this tweet. Lol.
posted by Fizz at 3:44 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Let's hope they also update the USB-C port, readding the obligatory second resistor they skimped on that would allow it to charge from all standard USB-C chargers rather than being recognised as an audio dongle of some sort.

Both of your links are about the Raspberry Pi 4. Does the Switch have the exact same issue?

My understanding is that the Switch's USB-C issue was with certain third-party docks and out-of-spec A-to-C cables. Most standards-following USB-C AC chargers and battery packs work just fine (I can attest to my Anker PowerCore working flawlessly with my Switch).
posted by tobascodagama at 6:51 PM on July 11


Nintendo's New 'Switch Lite' Doesn't Actually Switch

So it's a bottom than.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:06 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Both of your links are about the Raspberry Pi 4. Does the Switch have the exact same issue?


The article mentions the Switch as having a similarly botched implementation of USB-C power with similar restrictions on being able to get power from arbitrary chargers.

Here are more specific details on the Switch's USB power issues. In short, many/most USB-C power supplies will not power a Switch properly, and the Switch power supply may be actually dangerous when connected to other USB-C devices.
posted by acb at 1:27 AM on July 12


“Why does the Nintendo Switch Lite exist?”Wulff Den, 12 July 2019
posted by ob1quixote at 8:54 PM on July 14


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