Nintendo Plans New Version of Switch Hybrid Game Console

To increase sales of its Switch game console, Nintendo plans to launch a new version by the second half of 2019. When Switch debuted in March 2017, sales soared. Although they are still robust, they’re losing steam enough to prompt Nintendo to prep a second version that will, it hopes, keep the console competitive. According to sources, Nintendo is still contemplating what hardware and software to include in the next version. One possibility is an improved display, which is currently a lower-end LCD.

The Wall Street Journal reports that between its introduction and June 30, 2018, “Nintendo sold 19.7 million units of the Switch, a pace that compares favorably with Sony’s PlayStation 4, the most popular console among the current generation of videogame players.” Nintendo’s sales goal is to sell 20 million units from now through March 2019.

Analysts say the company is on track to meet the goal, especially if “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” debuts as planned on December 7. WSJ notes that, “videogame makers generally come out with new consoles every five to six years, and it is common for them to update the devices in the middle of their life cycles to keep the momentum going.”

Nintendo creative fellow Shigeru Miyamoto “said in February he wanted the Switch’s life cycle to be longer than usual, suggesting next year’s update of the hardware may not be the last.”

IGN reports its wish list for a version 2 of Switch, noting that Nintendo “has a long, weird history of selling slightly altered versions of their flagship portables to re-energize sales and reach broader audiences.” A redesign of Switch, it adds, “would not only entice a ton of current Switch owners to upgrade but also potentially bring in a whole new wave (or entire demographic) of consumers as well.”

Bigger on-board storage is the No. 1 desire, since currently Switch comes with 32GB of system memory and no pack-in SD card. “Let’s hope Nintendo bumps up that internal storage by a couple hundred gigs,” it says.

Switch’s battery life is now between 2.5 and six hours, which isn’t enough. IGN hopes for “a bigger battery with a longer life,” so gamers don’t need external batteries. To compete with rivals’ 4K HDR consoles, Switch needs to be able to stream big games like “Red Dead Redemption 2.” The solution is cloud-based streaming or, even better, stronger Wi-Fi protocols.

Switch’s current LCD screen provides 720p that sometimes drops to 480p. IGN asks for “a 1080p display in portable mode,” although WSJ says it is unlikely to be OLED. Lastly, IGN asks for Bluetooth headset support, noting that Switch already has “Bluetooth connectivity with devices like controllers,” and a headphone jack on the Pro Controller.