After months of speculation, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite as the latest addition to the lineup. It is a dedicated handheld platform lacking key features of the Nintendo Switch, but sold at a cheaper price point.
Naturally, opinions surrounding the Nintendo Switch Lite are varied. The console is acknowledged as a great successor to the Nintendo 3DS that appeals to a broader audience. Yet the inability to output to a television and the lack of HD Rumble are major points of contention.
Regardless, the general sentiment remains that the Nintendo Switch Lite will easily push new consoles throughout the holiday season. Paired alongside the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, retail stores will struggle to keep consoles on the shelves.
The decision to release the Nintendo Switch Lite was widely deemed a smart move. However, I further assert that it was essential to the longevity of the Nintendo Switch, and its existence guarantees a healthy future for the console.
Next-Gen on the Horizon
By the end of 2020, many expect Microsoft and Sony to release new consoles. Presumably, excitement surrounding the consoles will dominate the discourse in the months prior. Not to mention, the improved specifications of the consoles will outclass the Nintendo Switch with ease. While one could argue the Nintendo Switch is not a direct competitor of either company, the newest PlayStation and Xbox consoles will be positioned as the hottest items for purchase during the holiday season. And if both consoles successfully keep the momentum going after release, the Nintendo Switch’s lifetime sales will suffer against fresh competition.
The Nintendo Switch has experienced great success, with about 35 million units sold as of March 31st, 2019. Yet Nintendo must increase the install base quickly when attention surrounding the Nintendo Switch is at its peak to remain a viable platform.
Enter the Nintendo Switch Lite. Meant to compliment the original Nintendo Switch, the price point and portability ensure it will be a financial success. One could expect the console to push 20 million units or more, a target goal Nintendo failed to reach in the 2018 fiscal year. And prior to the 2020 holiday season, lifetime sales of the console will surely eclipse 60 million. With an impressive install base, Nintendo can guarantee word-of-mouth as an essential source of marketing to push more software.
Attach rates are historically impressive on Nintendo platforms, and the Nintendo Switch is no different. With the Nintendo Switch Lite expanding the install base, the catalog of games will benefit from greater exposure. Games like Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will continue to sell alongside purchases of the Nintendo Switch Lite despite releasing earlier in the life cycle. From there, the quality of those games will contribute to further engagement with the Nintendo brand.
The Nintendo Switch Lite might not appeal to the most dedicated Nintendo fans. Yet it holds potential to propel the console family to new heights that might be unachievable after the next PlayStation and Xbox consoles hit the market. Come September 26th, the future of the Nintendo Switch will be brighter than ever before.