Today, on July 10th, Nintendo announced the Switch Lite, a smaller and cheaper alternative to the mainline Switch.
As past rumors have suggested, the new device is one solid unit; there are no detachable JoyCons. It also sacrifices the Switch’s namesake by removing the ability to play it on your TV through a dock.
With no dock, HD Rumble, detachable JoyCons, or IR, the price of the hardware has come down to $199 US. It makes an attractive case for households that want a second Switch, especially for a younger audience. Replying to popular feedback on playing in handheld mode, Nintendo has added a proper D-Pad to the left side, replacing the four directional buttons.
The three colors, turquoise, gray and yellow, will be available when the system launches on September 20, on the same day as Link’s Awakening. Another themed model will launch alongside Pokemon Sword and Shield on November 8.
One of the immediate questions is what to do with games that are specifically designed for removable JoyCons? The new Switch Lite will support the use of extra JoyCons as well as the Pro Controller. In some fringe cases, like the 1,2 Switch, the eShop will prohibit the purchase of the digital game. Physical copies will also start carrying another label about whether it can be played on the Lite at all.
With this device finally being revealed, there are still questions remaining about the “Pro” Switch that was a part of the same rumors of the Lite earlier this year. It’s unlikely we’ll hear about it until next year, unless Nintendo wants to provide a third option. Nintendo has not confirmed the existence of a stronger model.