The Switch Lite Will NOT Replace The 3DS

Following on from the reveal of the Nintendo Switch Lite, Nintendo of America’s CEO, Doug Bowser has confirmed the 3DS line of devices will continue to be sold alongside the Nintendo Switch.

“Short answer: the Nintendo 3DS does have a place beside the Nintendo Switch family of products, and we’ll continue to support it as long as consumers continue to purchase them.”

Source: CNET Interview with Doug Bowser

This quote tells us that the 3DS is continuing to sell well enough to continue supporting it, though Nintendo has stopped developing first party titles for the handheld as they have transitioned to Switch development only. That said, back in April, Nintendo confirmed that new software would still be arriving on the 3DS via third party titles.

We have to imagine the release of the Switch Lite will have an impact on the sales of the 3DS/2DS due to the lower price. In the past, the 2DS has cemented itself as the best budget-friendly option and has proven to be a favourite for parents buying the handheld for their children. Bundled with Mario Kart 7, which has been pre-installed on the 2DS for some time, this handheld still shifts a surprising number of units in 2019. However, with the Switch Lite launching in September, (alongside the Link’s Awakening remake and just before Pokemon Sword/Shield releases in November) offering a small selection of colour variants, it just seems natural that this would assume that 2DS role for the current generation.

The Switch Lite will not feature detachable Joy-Cons and cannot be docked for use on a television, making it an exclusively handheld console. At just $200/£200 ($100 cheaper than the original Switch) its footprint is noticeably smaller, with a 720p 5.5-inch screen and a proper D-Pad opposed to four buttons on the left side. While the Switch Lite is still a bit too large to fit in your pocket, it will feel noticeably more compact and lightweight than the existing model.

In the CNET article mentioned above, the Switch Pro is mentioned briefly as Bowser confirms there will not be an additional Switch device released this year. This might be disappointing for a lot of people who have put off buying the original Switch as they sense something better will be coming in the future. There are still reports that a Switch Pro will eventually launch, but it appears we will have to wait until 2020 for its release.

It seems likely the original Switch will be receiving a stealth upgrade this year, improving both the CPU and the type of RAM used in the device. These improvements are minor in the grand scheme of things, most likely increasing the battery life of the device by a small margin. Nintendo will be looking to patch up some of the exploits that are currently available on a large portion of the Switches out there. The exploits stem directly from the Switch’s hardware, making it impossible to remove with OS updates.

For now, 3DS owners may as well hold onto their devices to mop up any upcoming third party titles. Ideally, owning both a 3DS and a Switch will serve as the best of both for the foreseeable future. It’ll be interesting to see how well the Switch Lite sells during the holiday period of 2019 though.

Written for the July 13th issue of DailyBits.