Over the last two years, the Nintendo Switch has turned the gaming biz on its head. Selling well over 30 million units, Nintendo managed to offer something new for players along with some great games and an experience that can go with you wherever you are. Nintendo is rumoured to be releasing an updated version with a more compact design later this year. Here's everything you need to know about the Switch Mini.
Nintendo Switch Mini: Updated Hardware
The Switch Mini will be a smaller version of the current Switch. And while it won't come with a TV dock in the box, it will still support the mobile playing experience that separates the Switch from most of its rivals. Whether the new model will work with old docks is unknown but it would make sense for Nintendo to maintain compatibility.
As the name suggests, the Switch Mini will be smaller with most experts agreeing that the Joy-Con controllers will no longer be removable. That might pose a problem for some games that rely on the controllers snapping away.
And while the screen will be smaller, the rise of bezel-free displays over the last couple of years and ability to cram more processing power into shrinking chips should mean the overclocking capability that allows the Switch to upscale images when played on a larger display won't be compromised.
The good news is that screen tech has continued to improve since the original Switch's March 2017 debut so a smaller unit shouldn't suffer from weaker battery life. The Switch Mini should come with a brighter display that is better when used outdoors and consumes less juice than the current model.
Nintendo Switch Mini: New Online Service
Alongside a new Switch, there are strong rumours, backed by a report from Nintendo Everything that a new online service is coming. The report says the new service is "aimed at game enthusiasts willing to pay more" than the current paid Nintendo Switch Online service.
The new service would be a great opportunity to appeal to gaming enthusiasts by releasing Nintendo's treasure trove of classic games more broadly and perhaps provide a migration path for people who have invested in older platforms to move to a new console.
Nintendo Switch Mini Will Kill The Nintendo DS
The Nintendo DS has been a solid performer for Nintendo for many years but the Switch Mini signals the, perhaps, final nail in that platform's coffin.
Nintendo 3DS hardware and software sales are dropping off and are probably being saved from total destruction by the Switch's $400 price tag. And anyone handing a $400 gaming console to a youngster and not adding a few more bucks to the purchase cost with a protective case is just one gravitational incident away from tears.
If Nintendo can pull the Switch Mini price down to around $250, it will come in alongside the Nintendo 3DS, effectively putting that platform out to pasture - particularly if the new premium online service offers up the same game selections.
Nintendo Switch Mini: Pricing and Availability
The recommended retail price for a basic Nintendo Switch is $469 but you can often find it for $400. So, let's start with $400 as the real base price we're looking at.
If you were to buy a new Switch Dock, that would be another $130.
That means a Switch, without the Dock would probably retail for around $300 allowing for some room for the margin on the Dock when it's sold separately.
With a smaller display, no Switch Dock in the box, and potentially fixed controllers, it's possible a Switch Mini could retail for under $250 here. And if Nintendo's real end-game is to sell subscriptions to its new online service, then $200 is a real possibility.
As for availability, there's no firm date and Nintendo has responded to many reports on the Switch Mini saying they have nothing to say on the topic. But the strong word from supply chains is that we'll see the new Switch Mini released during 2019.