A reader explains why the Switch Lite may be one of Nintendos most important announcements ever and new era for the company.
The recent announcement of the Switch Lite struck me as one of the most uncharacteristically sensible business decisions in the world of modern Nintendo, and yet it was accompanied instantly by all the confusion and complaints weve come to expect around gaming hardware reveals.
First thing Id like to say is as a current Switch owner and Nintendo fan, the Lite doesnt appeal to me personally and I have no intention of getting one. All my Nintendo and portable gaming requirements are fully met by the standard model and I was happy to pay what I did for it.
Second, this isnt meant as some sort of scathing commentary on those who dont see the point of the Switch Lite or who think its a poor decision by Nintendo to release it.
But I thought Id share a couple of thoughts, mainly because it seems blindingly obvious what the answers are to a whole bunch of questions that have nonetheless been asked lots of time by lots of people, but also to explain why I think the Lites announcement is great news even for Nintendo fans who have no interest in it.
Confused question #1: Why does this machine exist at all? Whyyyy?! *spontaneously drop kicks the nearest cushion*
Its a low cost alternative to a superior model in the same manner as the 2DS to the 3DS or the Xbox 360 Arcade to the Core (a bit of an obscure comparison nowadays but I dont think the Xbox One S All Digital Edition example works because there doesnt seem to be a notable price difference).
Its also a machine with an even heavier portable focus than the standard Switch, released in time for Zelda: Links Awakening, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and, slightly later, Animal Crossing. Renewed focus on portability with a new unit at this time in the Switchs release schedule is just sensible marketing and gives another attractive price option for Christmas.
The obvious argument is that, as with the cheaper Xbox One S models, some deals will offer a standard Switch and a game for, say £250, meaning you might not save much at all by going for the Lite. I agree and I think £180 (maximum) would be a more sensible price but thats a separate issue from Why does this exist in the first place?
Confused question #2: Whys it called a Switch when it doesnt switch?! *indignance manifests as a genuine bead of sweat*
Well, the first thing we need to do is distinguish this question from #1 as those are two very different matters. If we accept the rationale for the Lites existence, its pretty easy to address this one. Brand is an extremely important asset. When cloud processing reduces the only Sony and Microsoft hardware we eventually own to a mere controller, are we all going to be exasperated that there are no stations or boxes while were still inevitably referring to the services as such?
Would you prefer the budget version of the Switch to be called something completely distinct, prompting consumers to ask what sort of games it plays and to consider buying one in addition to the Switch they already bought the kids? Id nominate the Nintendo Hitch as a dumb title myself…
But switching is the consoles main selling point! Ive heard. Not for me its not. I clearly cant speak for everyone, but I didnt buy a Switch until it had the games I wanted. If you cant list some software youd like access to, you can dock and undock all night long until… something really graphic happens but you might end up regretting your purchase. Speaking of which…
Confused question #3: Why doesnt it have a dock option? *hocks up a globule of phlegm in preparation for a bout of classy outburstery*
Granted, it probably wouldnt have cost much more to implement an HDMI-out slot to give people the option, so this was probably penny pinching along the lines of if theyre buying purely for portability, theres no point putting this in.
Plus, if the controllers arent detachable, youd almost certainly need another controller or a separate set of Joy-Cons to use it docked. If you dont already own a standard Switch, you wont have any of those expensive controllers so its probably cheaper overall to buy a standard model. If you do already own one, why do you want another one that can also connect to a TV?
Confused question #4: Why dont they release a model thats not portable? *chomps into a loaf of Mighty White without removing the packaging*
I completely agree. Thats also a model that wouldnt appeal to me but theres absolutely a population of gamers that will never be interested in portable functionality and would rather not feel like theyre paying to meet unnecessary costs in the form of extra screens and little mini-controllers. I reckon theyd still turn a profit on a TV box and a Pro Controller if they charged £150-£180 and the market would be opened up potentially even further than with the Lite.
As already explained, though, I think the timing is better for the Lite and they wouldnt want to suddenly bombard the market with different units. Plus, the price of the standard model will eventually come down low enough to assuage some complaints about what youre paying for. I think it would be sensible to have the TV only Nintendo Fix for 2020, though, possibly even more so than the much-requested next question…
Confused question #5: Wheres the Switch Pro Ive been holding off for since March 2017? *Flicks a nearby insect. But I think its a wasp so Ill allow it*
I know what the rumours are saying but I suspect theres going to be even more disappointment, confusion and anger when either the Switch Pro is announced, and it only offers a small upgrade to the screen and battery, or its not announced at all.
There are a couple of obvious improvements for the standard Switch, but I cant think of many that wouldve prevented me from buying one and certainly not many that I think a Pro would implement without coming in at a prohibitively high price.
Its like these rumours have been treated as confirmation that a Switch will soon play direct PlayStation 4 ports uncompromised. Compare what the original already does with what a new model feasibly could do and I wouldnt put money on the gulf being anywhere near big enough to hold off buying one for literally years.
What the Lites reveal really means
Im sure there are other problems floating around that Ive forgotten but now that Ive largely brought peace and contentment to the world, let me just touch upon why I think the Switch Lite isnt just a sensible decision but also a great bit of news for existing fans.
The newly appointed King of Nintendo, Suit Man Bowser, said the other day that the Lite wasnt intended as a successor to the 3DS. This could be construed as a slightly worrying suggestion that after finally being in a position to pool their resources on a single platform for the first time since the 80s, theyll go and announce a potentially redundant portable machine in a couple of years – spreading their games across too many platforms and once again failing to spin their plates.
On the contrary, I regarded it as a hollRead More – Source