The Nintendo Switch launched over two years ago and is the fastest selling console ever in the US, making the House of Mario enough money to make even Tom Nook crack a smile. But we've been seeing hints that Nintendo is planning to refresh its best-selling console to improve sales.
So far, there have been an abundance of rumors surrounding what design a new Nintendo Switch could take, including everything from a Switch Pro to a pair of new consoles. But one line of rumors seems to be gathering a lot of steam: that the new Switch in development will be a mini version rather than a full-scale successor.
The Nintendo Switch Mini (potentially called "Mini Switch 2") would see Nintendo taking the original Switch and downsizing it into a more compact package that's more portable for those who prefer the Switch's handheld mode rather than improving on the hybrid-console's hardware.
We've gathered together and assessed all the evidence that a Nintendo Switch Mini could be on the way below for your perusal.
Nintendo Switch Mini release date
Nintendo hasn't confirmed that a Nintendo Switch Mini is in the works – in fact, it hasn't confirmed any new Nintendo Switch is coming at all.
However, it's been over two years since the Nintendo Switch launched and a redesign is almost certainly is on the way – everything from the Gameboy to the Wii and the 3DS received multiple updated across their life spans and typically these have arrived mid-generation. With the average console life cycle floating around the five or six year mark, that would make now the perfect time for a change up to the Switch (even if Nintendo is hoping to stretch this life cycle further).
So when would we expect to see the Switch Mini? Well, ideally Nintendo would release the compact console in time for Christmas 2019 but, with no announcement of its existence, it seems unlikely.
Regardless, we expect Nintendo to release a new model before the Xbox Project Scarlett or PS5 hits shelves – chiming with a report from the Wall Street Journal that predicted a new Nintendo Switch model in mid-to-late 2019. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has since shut those rumors down, however, saying no new Switch is currently in the works.
But if the Nintendo Switch Mini ends up with a 2020 release, it's likely that it will be in direct competition with the next Xbox and PS5 release as Sony has already confirmed we won't see the PS5 before mid-2020 and Xbox Project Scarlett is due for release at the end of 2020.
Nintendo Switch Mini price
Currently the Nintendo Switch is priced at £279 / $299 but we expect a Nintendo Switch Mini would be cheaper than this. Especially given that the Wall Street Journal's report claims that the first of the two potential new Nintendo Switch devices will be will be aimed at budget gamers, and will see the Switch presented in a more traditional handheld-first format.
We also expect that the release of a Nintendo Switch Mini would lower the price of the original Switch – at least a little.
Nintendo Switch Mini rumors
Leaked images hint Nintendo Switch Mini is in the works
Leaked images of a Switch Mini silicone case have added to fuel to the rumors that a Nintendo Switch Mini is in the works.
WinFuture published leaked images of a silicone case by official Switch accessory maker Bigben for a Nintendo "Mini Switch 2". While one image shows the "official" product image, the other shows a rendered image of how the case would look on the Mini. Note that the Joy Con controllers seem locked as part of the body, which prior rumors have implied.
Check it out below:
The case seems to be for a smaller version of the Nintendo Switch. However, previous leaked images have shown a Switch Mini as having thumbsticks level with one another whereas the latest images imply the toggle buttons will remain in the same place as the Nintendo Switch – that is, slightly offset.
This means that either these images are fake or the previous ones we have seen are, the latter being the most likely.
However, this doesn't necessarily dispel rumors that two new Switch models are in the works. It's possible that Nintendo is working on another, different new Nintendo Switch model alongside a Mini Switch.
Two new Nintendo Switch consoles
Rather than releasing a straight-up Nintendo Switch 2, a Wall Street Journalreport suggests that Nintendo is working on two individual variants that, rather than making the current Nintendo Switch obsolete, would put it in the middle of a range growing to suit all budgets.
According the publication's sources, the first of these new devices will be aimed at budget gamers, and will see the Switch presented in a more traditional handheld-first format. It'll replace removable Joy-Cons with fixed ones, and ditch their HD Rumble feature in order to bring costs down, making it presumably more difficult to play in the docked mode with a TV without the purchase of a separate controller.
The second new version of the Nintendo Switch, going by the rumor, is a little harder to pin down, but would be a premium version of the console with "enhanced features targeted at avid videogamers." That's not to suggest it would be aiming for 4K or HDR visuals, but would more likely have features and services baked in that would accommodate the modern obsession with streaming to platforms like Twitch.
Nintendo Switch Mini games
When it comes to games, we expect the Nintendo Switch Mini will mainly offer the same titles as its normal-sized counterparts with a few exceptions.
The solely handheld console will probably focus entirely on single-player games rather than local co-op party titles such as Overcooked and Mario Party. While the current Switch offers removal joysticks, rumors suggest the Switch Mini will have fixed joystick sand be a more traditional handheld device, which means that it would almost be impossible to play multiplayer games on the Mini.
- New Nintendo Switch: everything we want to see from the next Switch console