Is Nintendo's Switch Lite Too Expensive To Actually Change Handheld Gaming?

11 July 2019
Nintendo, Gaming
Credit: Nintendo
Nintendo's pared-back switch tries to strike a balance between affordability and delivering an experience that makes top-level gaming accessible

On the surface of it, it seems that Nintendo Switch Lite is all but a necessity in the modern context of Nintendo's plans. It's now preparing to wave goodbye to the DS — quite literally the best selling games console of all time — and plans to incorporate the Lite as its key option as it brings its stable of handheld gaming classics, Pokemon and Animal Farm among them, over to its Switch platform.

In this context and on paper, then, Nintendo's switch Lite makes perfect sense. And especially for someone who may have been tossing up the idea of getting a Switch at some point, this could be just the release to get them over the line and ensure that they don't have to clutter up their entertainment unit with yet another console dock.

It certainly makes for a tantalising offering: the chance to play all of the Switch's new and most acclaimed games, from Super Mario Odyssey to Smash Bros. and Zelda, in a more compact, easy to use unit. It has a 3-7 hour battery life and 32 GB of internal storage along with a headphone jack. It is, quite simply, a high-powered gaming console that you can constantly have in your backpack, and this is great.

But the price doesn't quite match the sentiment. Priced at $329.95, if the Switch Lite is the spiritual successor to the DS, then it represents an almost complete abandonment of one of the core principles that made the DS so successful: making quality gaming both cheap and accessible for just about anyone. It also doesn't hit all the notes that the original Switch does, and in removing the removable joy-cons, it actually removes the ability to play a lot of the fun, multiplayer games that bring people to Nintendo and largely keep them there. It might be a flagship console that can play Super Mario Odyssey, but it's not one that you can fully complete said game on, and you can't even play certain games like Super Mario Party on it.

In that manner, it also fails to address or really provide a counter to another force that's changed the way people game on the go: mobile gaming. Even if the Switch does come down in price, it's soon going to be the only real alternative to the newly emerging game streaming services that will let you play console-quality games on your phone for a flat monthly fee. Would you pay $330 to play the cheapest version of a Nintendo Switch possible if the alternative is simply downloading Fortnite or PUBG on your iPhone or, as Google Stadia may soon make possible, any other major title? We're not necessarily sure.

The Nintendo Switch Lite releases on September 20.

Via GQ Australia