• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Speculating about a Nintendo Switch mini

jts

...hate me...
Apr 29, 2007
16,774
21
1,200
35
PT

Previous 4" model: https://i.imgur.com/VNAUS7z.png

Citigroup analysts said in a research note to investors seen by Bloomberg that a Switch Mini might debut in the fiscal year through March 2019.

”Although the Nintendo Switch can be used as a handheld device, we think smaller children could struggle to use it comfortably in that format due to its size and weight," the analysts said. ”Accordingly, we think Nintendo will launch a lighter, dedicated handheld version of the Switch, possibly to be called the Switch Mini."
http://bgr.com/2017/04/14/nintendo-switch-mini-release-date/

So, this has been discussed in other thread. Clearly people are divided about it. I tend to agree with Citigroup, more because of price than size, but both matter.

Availability (or lack thereof) aside, Nintendo currently sells 4 consoles:

Nintendo 2DS - $79,99
Nintendo New 3DS - $199,99
Nintendo New 3DS XL - $199,99 (what the hell, same MSRP nowadays lol)
Nintendo Switch - $299,99

All of them with different degrees of complexity, hardware level, size, and price. Out of the 3DS family, the XL is the most sold unit IIRC, but the 2DS also sells a lot. Price matters. 2DS got to a low price by reducing complexity, it doesn't have moving parts, it doesn't have a 3D display, it doesn't even have stereo speakers.

Nintendo Switch is brand new and sells at full $300 price with a dock, 2 Joy-cons and a large 6.2" IPS HD display. Because of this price more akin to home consoles, and because the Wii U died off, the hybrid side that is being used to market it is the home console one. But not even counting efficiency gains, there's loads room for Nintendo to iterate other versions and get cheaper, when:


  • Sales need a kick
  • 3DS needs to die off

By then the Switch will directly aim at the general handheld market as well, marketing-wise.

Dockless SKU: this is a simple method to try and reach the $250 price-tag, even if it doesn't save Nintendo exactly $50. Now, some people will say that a dock costs $1 or $2 or is even free or whatever. But it's not quite right. The dock is mostly plastic yes, but that's not where lies the main cost of it, but rather on the electronics: a USB-C to HDMI + 3 USB-A + USB-C power passthrough hub isn't cheap from any known brand (from Apple to Anker) so lets move on with that. From the cost in electronics to the reduced production complexity by not including one with every Switch, to the smaller and lighter box the absence of it allows, there are savings to be had.

But then it's not a Switch? No, it's still a Switch. You can still use it with the dock. But "now" you're not forced to buy the dock so you have more options, so everyone wins. By the time this happens everyone knows well what the Switch is and you know why yours cost $250 and not $300 like the other next to it.

This is, though, not too radical. By the time the 3DS, and especially the 2DS dies off there's a MASSIVE hole in the market that Nintendo needs to fill. Maybe it's not possible to get to $80 but going under $200 seems essential, especially when Pokémon hits (not necessarily Pokémon Stars, but next-gen Pokémon when it drops 3DS support).

Enter the 2DS for the Switch: Switch mini. Simpler, smaller, accessible for kids.

Massively reduces production complexity and materials:

No Joy-cons. Integrated controls. This saves 2 bluetooth chips, one IR camera, 2 batteries, at least one gyro.

Because it has built-in controls and not Joy-cons, it can have a real d-pad.

And still, I think there would be no problem with it being called a Switch. Switch is a platform, it's brand, and by then even more of an established one. There is a SUV called "Mini" nowadays. As long as it's well marketed, it will be fine.

Also, in my opinion, something like this could and should be compatible with the whole range of Switch hardware, from dock to Joy-cons. I can see the dock being a challenge though, since I don't know how a small console with built-in joysticks could fit in it. Any thoughts?

Now, I was going to post it side by size with PSP (4.3") and PS Vita (5") but by the time I completed the mock-up I felt like 4" is a bit too small. 4.5" to 5" likely ideal, to get almost to the overall volume of Switch main unit (sans Joy-cons), which should suffice regarding the thermal envelope. But I'll not readjust it today, too much trouble :p

Some colours for good measure.


(4" model)


(5")

Sorry for this, and sorry if the text is a bit confused. I just thought it could be a fun talk to have and then revisit in 1 or 2 years.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,801
0
0
Like I said in the other thread, calling it a "Switch Mini" and then selling it as a standalone handheld SKU with no dock will only cause confusion.

"Wait, why can't I plug this into my TV? Why the fuck is it called a Switch if it can't be switched?"

But then it's not a Switch? No, it's still a Switch. You can still use it with the dock. But "now" you're not forced to buy the dock so you have more options, so everyone wins. By the time this happens everyone knows well what the Switch is and you know why yours cost $250 and not $300 like the other next to it.
Wait this doesn't make sense, how are you not forcing people to buy a separate dock when you're proposing a SKU with no dock? Or are you assuming this is for people who already have the Switch? I'm confused at which people you're trying to target.
 

NMFried

Member
Aug 13, 2012
2,346
0
0
Dallas, TX
I could see it when the 3DS is ready to dip out.

Honestly though, it's more likely we see a complete revision down the line. But locking down the console to handheld-only sort of defeats the whole "Switch" thing.
 
Dec 11, 2010
34,635
0
0
Make it like 4.5" and it can be docked but only comes with a cable, if you want dock it's sold separately. Like there's a usbc-HDMI thing.

Would require a die shrink too for thermals to fit.
 
Jun 22, 2012
4,632
4
535
Washington DC
I've said this in the other thread:

The Switch needs to deliver its message and promise out of the box. The way it is now is simple and fulfills its mission statement, namely to play device on the TV or on the road.

You don't want to create another market confusion or muddy the message like the Wii U by offering another sku that doesn't do exactly what the Switch promises immediately out of the box.
 

darkside31337

Tomodachi wa Mahou
May 31, 2011
34,803
1
645
I think the mockup is neat. Very GBA like (gotta mock up a glacier clear one). I do think something like this is inevitable down the road, think a kid friendly device like the 2DS makes a lot of sense.
 

Branduil

Member
Sep 20, 2006
64,608
1
0
Excellent Eriador
Quoting from other thread:

You guys are overthinking the idea of a smaller, mainly portable Switch. The 3DS had identity issues early on, but by the time the 2DS came out they had sorted it out. The Switch already has a much stronger identity, so a smaller version in a couple years would be fine. There's a market for smaller, cheaper, kid-friendly handhelds that is currently being served by the 2DS and 3DS. Once those are gone, Nintendo will want a replacement. In a couple years, the Switch will be much cheaper, maybe $250 with a pack-in game. With a die-shrink, they could release a smaller, fanless handheld Switch with no joycons for much cheaper. It wouldn't do as much as the original Switch, but it would be far cheaper and much more kid-friendly. $150 to play every Nintendo game(and double as an extra controller if you already have a Switch) would make a tempting stocking-stuffer for a lot of parents. I'll be very surprised if this doesn't exist by Christmas 2019.
 

Majine

Member
May 21, 2009
28,646
1
1,070
I think they'll do just an Apple TV-style box (and joycons+grip) and sell it cheaper.
 

Hattori

Banned
Sep 30, 2012
5,662
0
0
it would be reasonably viable around year 3-4. By then the confusion factor and its impact would be very minimal.
 

jts

...hate me...
Apr 29, 2007
16,774
21
1,200
35
PT
Like I said in the other thread, calling it a "Switch Mini" and then selling it as a standalone handheld SKU with no dock will only cause confusion.

"Wait, why can't I plug this into my TV? Why the fuck is it called a Switch if it can't be switched?"



Wait this doesn't make sense, how are you not forcing people to buy a separate dock when you're proposing a SKU with no dock? Or are you assuming this is for people who already have the Switch? I'm confused at which people you're trying to target.
The 3DS/2DS that not necessarily want to play on TV or just want the gaming spec at the minimum cost possible.

but you can't switch that Switch
But you can switch it for a Switch that can switch. Also you can switch it on and switch it off.

...but it's generally recommended to put it in sleep mode :p
 
Dec 18, 2014
415
0
0
I think it will happen.

But I'm really curious in how they'll make the battery last. The battery on the Switch is BIG. I think a Switch Mini will be slightly fatter, I don't see how it would be possible for it to match current switch battery duration if it's not (even considering they'll use a FinFET Pascal)
 
Aug 12, 2013
1,750
0
340
I'm currently waiting for a Switch Mini. Don't want to be burned later for buying a console with less functionality (worse batteries, harder to carry around, etc.) so I'm waiting until that or Metroid Prime 4 come out on the system (whichever's first).

It also means I'll be able to jump in with a megaton of excellent software, potentially at cheaper prices than at launch. It might be tough to wait while Mario Odyssey and other killer apps are coming out, but the wait will make the payoff even sweeter.

Though that red is not quite my preferred shade, both it and the black Switch Mini mockups look pretty good. Something that's black with red highlights would look pretty cool. I hope their speculation is right and we'll only have to wait until 2019.
 

SwordStruck

Member
Apr 3, 2013
1,231
0
0
I don't see how at the moment they could fit the internals into a unit that small (Assuming a die shrink is available now or in the near future that would even allow for it). That, and they would have to considerably lower the size of the battery, so that would be pretty detrimental to its portability despite the smaller form factor. I just don't think this is viable for at least a few years.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,801
0
0
The 3DS/2DS that not necessarily want to play on TV or just want the gaming spec at the minimum cost possible.
Going for that contradicts the original messaging of the Switch. You're going from a hybrid to now forcing a split by introducing a traditional handheld.
 

Apoleptica

Banned
Nov 9, 2014
1,767
0
0
Nintendo does multiple revisions for all of it's handheld consoles, the switch will have one too. I think there will be a switch sp in the future for sure. Lots of people will go against the idea of a revision because they just bought a switch and it's not something they want to think about.
 
Aug 19, 2006
25,598
1
0
Can we stop worrying about potential confusion of something two years after everyone already knows what a Switch is, jeez.

Nice mockup but I'm not sure they will go for a screen that small this time given the popularity of the larger 3DS models.
 

Eolz

Member
Jun 1, 2014
10,193
17
475
Nice mockup, but that's not a Switch anymore at that point.
That's missing the point entirely like the people asking for a WiiU without gamepad.

Edit: on top of that, you couldn't really fit its tech inside for that price.
 

Branduil

Member
Sep 20, 2006
64,608
1
0
Excellent Eriador
I think it will happen.

But I'm really curious in how they'll make the battery last. The battery on the Switch is BIG. I think a Switch Mini will be slightly fatter, I don't see how it would be possible for it to match current switch battery duration if it's not (even considering they'll use a FinFET Pascal)
Obviously it won't be possible until they can do a die shrink. That would make for a much more efficient system, thus a smaller battery. A smaller screen will help there too.
 

Nostremitus

Member
Mar 24, 2012
8,873
0
0
Seoul, ROK
Nice mockup, but that's not a Switch anymore at that point.
That's missing the point entirely like the people asking for a WiiU without gamepad.
2DS was a fine alternate to the 3DS. This would be the same only it would have an even better reason for existing. (Portability)
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,801
0
0
Nice mockup, but that's not a Switch anymore at that point.
That's missing the point entirely like the people asking for a WiiU without gamepad.

Edit: on top of that, you couldn't really fit its tech inside for that price.
I feel like the Wii U doesn't lose its identity without the GamePad, whereas if you force the Switch to be either a TV console or handheld, you lose what it's supposed to be about.
 

FStubbs

Member
Aug 29, 2010
3,911
227
575
I think there will be a Switch-mini at some point. But it'll still come with a dock.
 

James Scott

Banned
May 24, 2014
11,386
2
0
Basically every console gets a revision eventually so it not really a bold prediction to say that by 2019 we'll get a new one.
3DS's revisions were every year and a half on average
 

Ac30

Member
Jul 11, 2014
3,284
0
0
I think it will happen.

But I'm really curious in how they'll make the battery last. The battery on the Switch is BIG. I think a Switch Mini will be slightly fatter, I don't see how it would be possible for it to match current switch battery duration if it's not (even considering they'll use a FinFET Pascal)
They could shrink the resolution alongside the screen and drop the clocks to match. It's scalable and an easy fix.

What the fuck is happening to GAF with these time warps
 

jts

...hate me...
Apr 29, 2007
16,774
21
1,200
35
PT
Wouldn't it be more expensive?
Less parts and less complexity. Remember that a Joy-con set is priced at $80 and the dock at $60. Of course that's not their cost. But they cost, regardless.

Make it like 4.5" and it can be docked but only comes with a cable, if you want dock it's sold separately. Like there's a usbc-HDMI thing.

Would require a die shrink too for thermals to fit.
Yeah I guess that feels more like it. 4" would be way too jammed. But even at 4.5"-5" I think the whole thing be almost the same volume as the Switch tablet itself, although of course the controls would steal some internal room.

USB-C to HDMI cable would be neat even for the regular Switch tbh (with the respective power pass-through as well at least).
 

Beerman462

Member
Aug 12, 2011
8,426
137
610
Would most game UIs even be usable with a smaller screen?

Also without a die shrink the battery would be that much smaller and therefore a terrible portable.