It appears the persistent rumors that Nintendo would give its Switch console a major refresh this year are going to come true after all.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the Japan-based gaming giant is planning two new versions of the console. One will come with “enhanced features” meant for more serious gamers, while the other will be a less-expensive option that’s meant for casual players and will be positioned as a successor to the company’s 3DS handheld system.
Nintendo is so far not commenting on this new reporting, but one source told the WSJ the plan is to unveil both models at E3 in June, with a launch possible a few months after that.
If true, this development certainly comes at a key moment in the life cycle of the now 2-year-old Switch, for which some analysts are expecting sales number to start showing a drop soon. According to market forecast firm Visible Alpha, for example, a recent poll of analysts found them expecting an average of 17.9 million units of the Switch to be sold in the 12-month period that ends this month. That number would dip slightly to 17.4 million during the same span one year later, according to the analysis reported by the WSJ.
Pricing for the new versions of the Switch weren’t immediately clear, though it seems Nintendo will cut costs by doing away with some features like the vibration element built into the original Switch controllers.
Meanwhile, the fact that two new version of the gaming system are apparently on the way comes as rumors have been building for months that we would likely see a refresh of the Switch sometime in 2019. Indeed, it was only two months ago that we reported on the mounting speculation that a “major hardware upgrade” was coming to the popular console this year.
This is one of many reasons the year is already shaping up to be a pretty eventual one for Nintendo, which is also releasing a version of its Mario Kart franchise for smartphones this summer. As the WSJ notes in its piece today, Nintendo is also launching two new Pokemon games this year.