It's going to happen. It has to happen. I really hope it happens.
Yesterday the Switch LITE went up for pre-order and I was instantly reminded of the article I wrote suggesting that they release such a product. With Pokemon Sword & Shield just about three months away, the LITE will be a perfect partner for the portable system and will get Nintendo’s new product into the hands of many children going into this holiday season.
But that got me thinking about the opposite end of a lesser-version of the Nintendo Switch. The handheld-only route was necessary - some people only play that way so to offer a variation of the system that plays the same games for $100 less, that just makes sense. However, next year the PlayStation 5 and the next iteration of the Xbox family of consoles will both hit shelves, presumably by the Holiday season, and I feel as though Nintendo may decide to head in another direction. One that they may have been planning on for a long time, but have been waiting to pull the trigger on as the ball was in the court of Sony and Microsoft.
This leads me to believe that it’s quite possible that Nintendo does, in fact, launch a PRO version of the Nintendo Switch in 2020 to rival those systems and subsequently get all three of the leading video game consoles working within the same generation - rather than the in-between state that Nintendo’s always hung out in. What I’m thinking of is a completely docked system. Actually, I don’t even want to call it docked because there wouldn’t be anything to actually dock. Think more of an Apple TV or a Roku or something like that - a smaller, brick-like system that you can slide a memory stick and a game cartridge into that cannot be taken anywhere other than the room in which you have it hooked up in.
By doing this, you could potentially have a Nintendo system capable of much more power, a 4K resolution, better online capabilities, etc. You could ship the system with a newly designed pro controller that hooks up to wired and wireless headsets for online play and actually compete with the next generation by being an alternative rather than an addition. As it is, the Switch is capable of much more than we give it credit for - that tiny screen can play games like The Witcher 3 so who’s to say that with the right infrastructure it couldn’t play other, larger, games as well? Granted, these games would have to be scaled down greatly to also be compatible with a system like the Switch LITE but you would just make that known on the box - “works best with Nintendo Switch PRO” or something along those lines would suffice in letting consumers know that this is a beefy ass game and it’s not recommended you play the dumbed-down version of it on a lesser processor.
"I feel as though third parties would love to get their games on Nintendo’s platform as they watch it grow and succeed and with the PRO, they’d no longer have to sacrifice the games quality in order to do so."
Truthfully and, well, realistically, I don’t foresee the PRO to be of the same caliber as next-gen but even if we could get them to a point where they can compete with the PS4 and Xbox One, there are people, like myself, who don’t care too much about resolution and load time where that would be more than enough. I feel as though third parties would love to get their games on Nintendo’s platform as they watch it grow and succeed and with the PRO, they’d no longer have to sacrifice the games quality in order to do so.
As far as price is concerned, the Switch LITE will remain at $199 for quite some time - we’ll see color variations for Animal Crossing and other exclusive titles next year with the game pack-in. But I could see the Switch getting a price drop to $249 next year so that they can launch the PRO version at $299, making it less than what we assume next-gen hardware will cost and as affordable as the current-gen.
I kind of like that family of systems - it would kind of streamline their three offerings as docked only, handheld only, and one that does both. All bases covered. Because you have to think - there are definitely people out there that only play games on their television - that prefer not to take their Switch anywhere with them or that like to stream Switch games, and just having one brick-like console that you can set up on your desk is a lot more convenient than the current setup.
Balls in your court, Nintendo - prove me right again. I need to feel validated.