Just a few years ago, Nintendo seemeed like it was down for the count. Now, the Switch has sold over 52 million units worldwide all within just three years. 5 million of those units are of the Switch Lite; a handheld-only variant of the Switch that launched in the second half of 2019. With the success of the platform as a whole, investors are naturally curious as to what to expect in the future. Thus, an interesting question was pitched to Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa during the Q&A session of Nintendo’s January 2020 Investor’s Briefing: basically, what does Nintendo have in store for the future of the platform in order to expand its growth and adding to its lifecycle (like adding another hardware variant)?
Mr. Furukawa answered this question in a rather interesting way. He acknowledges that the Switch being a hybrid console does make the situation a bit different compared to the company’s home systems of the past. In just a few words, he did confirm the idea of Nintendo offering more hardware variants in wake of the Lite, saying “I think we will be able to consider a variety of ways to expand in the future.” Furukawa also mentioned that Nintendo is focusing its resources on new software in order to satisfy the growing install base. But, he ends his answer to the question by saying that the Switch’s lifecycle will “follow a course that is different from our previous Nintendo home consoles.”
What is Nintendo planning?
With such vague wording as that, it’s really difficult to even speculate what Nintendo could have in store. At the very least, Furukawa does seem open to the idea of having yet another addition to the Switch hardware family. While we know for a fact that no such machine will be released this year, the thought of it is something that Nintendo is entertaining.
Rumors have continously been swirling about a Switch Pro of sorts, which could ultimately be what Furukawa passively suggesting. The big question really is: will a new Switch be home console only? Nintendo already opened up such a possibility by having the Lite be a handheld-only console, as opposed to a smaller hybrid to match the functionality of the flagship Switch. So, a Pro could offer a boost in power by being a wall-tethered box. Still, that really would make the whole “Switch” branding a moot point. Even so, this is Nintendo that we’re talking about…so anything is possible at this point.