Nintendo Switch Mini: complete guide to the rumored new handheld

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Switch Mini
Images associated with alleged Switch Mini accessories leaked by Chinese manufacturer HonSon

Console revisions are nothing new for Nintendo. The Game Boy Advance led to the Game Boy Advance SP, the 3DS led to the New 3DS, and so on. Their latest system, the Nintendo Switch, seems to be no exception as rumors explode about a potential new device: the Nintendo Switch Mini.

Early rumors

As far back as 2017, the rumor mill was already speculating about a potential miniature version of Nintendo’s hit hybrid console. In April 2017, the UK’s Daily Star reported that Citigroup analysts were anticipating a “Switch Mini” soon. After all, creating a cheaper, more lightweight version of the Switch makes perfect marketing sense for Nintendo.

But it wasn’t until 2018 that credible information emerged about a Switch revision. In October 2018, Wall Street Journal Japan reported that a “Switch 2” would be coming in 2019. WSJ Japan gave no details other than some rumored specs, such as possible screen alterations. The article suggested that it would release sometime in late 2019.

Rumors heat up

As soon as 2019 began, fans speculated about a potential summer release. Many expected reveal of the new Switch revision(s) at Nintendo’s February Direct livestream, but it didn’t happen. Then, in March 2019, the Wall Street Journal once again wrote about new Switch models.

But this time, WSJ discussed two potential models: one geared towards “avid videogamers” and one geared towards more casual players. Both revisions were said to release either in summer or late 2019.  It’s worth noting that WSJ claimed this information came from reputable sources who had their hands on actual prototypes, like parts suppliers and even Nintendo software developers.

Just a month later, the rumors grew even spicier. Japanese newspaper Nikkei published their own article on April 18 claiming that the Switch Mini was slated for a fall 2019 release. According to Nikkei’s report, the Switch Mini would be smaller, more affordable, and geared towards handheld play, while still retaining the ability to output to a TV. Nikkei claimed that a more powerful Switch model would release later.

With two major outlets now claiming a new Switch model would be releasing sometime in 2019, fans eagerly anticipated Nintendo’s E3 Direct. Unfortunately, there were no Switch hardware reveals at E3, leaving many skeptical that the rumored revision was real. But Chinese accessory manufacturer HonSon soon listed a plethora of Switch Mini accessories online. HonSon also emailed hundreds of people offering them opportunities to review their Switch Mini accessories, like in the tweet below.

NintendoLife contacted HonSon to ask about the products, and their response claimed the products are based on “secret information.” HonSon noted that the accessories may be altered to fit dimensions if the model changes by release. Thanks to these accessories, the Switch Mini was being treated as more than just a rumor.

Nintendo responds

Not long after HonSon’s listings, Spanish retailer GAME also listed several Nintendo Mini accessories. While the listings were swiftly removed from the store, Nintendo Life managed to capture a screenshot of the listings, which you can view below.

Switch Mini listings
Switch Mini accessories listed by GAME. Picture credited to Nintendo Life.

With the Switch Mini being all but confirmed, Nintendo finally acknowledged the leaks at their recent Annual Shareholders meeting. You may recall this Q&A session from our recent article about Nintendo’s stance on censorship. Thankfully, @NStyles provided full transcripts of the Q&A, so we can translate Nintendo’s response to a question about the Mini. Japanese Nintendo, a site widely known for translations, provided a full translation of Nintendo’s president answer a question about the Mini.

“We acknowledge that there have been reports [about this]. Answering to rumours and speculations would end up stealing surprises from our customers and also be unprofitable to all of our shareholders, so we have no answer to that. As a general theory, we are always performing development of new hardware.”

While Nintendo doesn’t seem anxious to confirm the new model, it seems safe to say that it’s highly likely. I can confirm that I have also had a few very highly regarded people tell me that Switch Mini info is coming from credible sources. However, those I’ve spoken to haven’t provided an actual time frame for release. It’s still possible that Nikkei is correct about the Mini releasing in Fall 2019. We’ll have to wait and see.

One final note about the rumored Switch Mini and Switch Pro. Support for a new Nvidia mobile processor, the Tegra X1 T214, codenamed Mariko, was recently discovered in the Switch’s system software. Many expect this new processor to power new Switch models, particularly the so-called Switch Pro.

What now?

The Switch Mini appears to be coming, perhaps even in 2019, but what does that mean? According to Digital Trends, the Switch is the fastest selling console of all time in the United States. The Switch Mini’s release could mean that Nintendo wants to keep sales consistent, or perhaps try to replicate the speed Switch sold at in its record-breaking first year. From the leaks so far, the Switch Mini seems geared toward those who want a more affordable handheld experience.

Although I’ve heard reliable industry sources corroborate the Switch Mini’s existence, I haven’t heard anything about the model’s specifications. That much remains a mystery.

Are you excited for a potential Switch Mini? Do you believe it exists, or do you still have doubts? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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