Nintendo is widely expected to launch new Switch hardware this year, although it’s still unclear what the new console, or consoles, will have to offer. A report earlier this week said the Switch is about to receive a meaningful update when it comes to RAM and built-in storage. Previously, a report said the hardware revision would bring an improved LCD screen that will be slimmer and more energy-efficient. Now, a brand new report supposedly sourced from Nintendo’s supply chain says that a less expensive Switch model may be in the making.
It’s unclear at this time whether Nintendo can simultaneously bump specs on the console and drop the price. The new report comes from Digitimes’ sources who have knowledge of Nintendo’s Switch supply chain. The report says Nintendo plans to release a cheaper version of the game console in 2019, without revealing any details about said model — not even the price for the cheap Nintendo Switch console is mentioned.
In an interview with GamingBolt, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said that Nintendo’s cheaper model would only work in handheld mode, featuring built-in controllers. That model would sell for around $200:
I think we’ll probably get a price cut on all of them. And Nintendo may position it as a reinvented Switch. My guess is that Nintendo will take the Switch and get rid of the ‘Switch’ part, so it’ll be handheld only. They’ll probably just make the Joycons part of the integrated body of the tablet, and probably drop the price. Get rid of the docking station, and the external power supply – just turn the thing into a handheld that’s rechargeable with a power cord, you know, like a normal handheld, and charge $200 for it. So they do that, Sony can probably cut the price, Microsoft probably will cut the price. You’ll probably get a $199 Xbox and a $249 PlayStation, and a $199 Switch that’s handheld only, and that’ll probably be enough to drive unit demand to keep it constant year-over-year.
The same analyst said there’s a zero chance for Nintendo to bump up the specs of the Switch and release a more powerful console.
The new Digitimes report, meanwhile, focuses more on the fact that Switch orders will drop anywhere from 25% to 30% despite of the arrival of the rumored cheap model. Nintendo gave the supply chain an estimate of 24 million Switch consoles for the 2018 fiscal year that ends on March 31st, 2019. But Nintendo’s shipments were reportedly less than 20 million. Even though Nintendo’s Switch consoles have not matched initial estimates, the console was still a lot more popular than competing products.
Nintendo is expected to sell 14 million to 15 million Switch units in the 2019 calendar year. The Japanese gaming giant is likely to focus primarily on software development to maintain growth.