This morning, America woke up to news of a new Nintendo Switch model scheduled to launch Sept. 20.
Announced via video, Nintendo Switch Lite confirms long-gestating rumors of a smaller, feature light version of Nintendo’s popular hybrid console. The system can only be played in handheld mode, doesn’t feature removable controllers and is trimmed to slightly smaller dimensions with a 5.5-inch screen (the current Switch model has a 6.2-inch screen).
Other cut features include HD Rumble and the system’s IR motion camera. These cuts—plus the omitted dock, Joy-con grip and HDMI cable—put this console at a market entry price of $199.99. Switch Mini will be available in yellow, turquoise and gray.
Along with its three base models, Switch Mini is already getting a special edition. This Pokemon Sword and Shield edition launches Nov. 8 and is light gray with blue and pink input buttons mirroring the color scheme of the two upcoming Switch titles. The back of the system is decorated with the generation’s two cover monsters, the sword-wielding Zacian and the shield-inspired Zamazenta.
The Switch Lite effectively replaces Nintendo’s 3DS family of consoles and brings Switch experiences like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey to a new audience of consumers. Additionally, it positions Nintendo as a viable value option with the next generation of consoles—and their big ticket price points—on the horizon.
Since developers previously focused on the 3DS and Vita (the other console Switch Lite is effectively replacing in the marketplace) will most likely turn their attention to Switch, I’m excited for the next few years of Switch software.
As for the hardware itself, current Switch owners have already made their investment and established their play habits with the hybrid console. However, I’m seriously contemplating a purchase when the inevitable Legend of Zelda special edition is announced. I’d feel more comfortable taking Switch Lite on the road, and it’d help save the rechargable battery on my original Switch.