Shares in Nintendo have soared this month thanks to the success of the Japanese gaming firm’s new handheld console. It unveiled the Nintendo Switch Lite to great fanfare on September 20 and it sold 1.95 million units during its first 10 days on shelves, according to the company’s Q3 report. It continued to enjoy surging sales over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, pushing Nintendo’s share price to a 19-month high. But just how good is the Nintendo Switch Lite, and is it here to stay?
Nintendo’s credibility within the modern video gaming sector gained a massive shot in the arm when it released the Nintendo Switch in 2017. It was an engineering marvel: a feature-dense, hybrid console that can be used as a stationary or a portable device, replete with detachable controllers, next-gen rumble and the ability to dock with a television.
It has driven a huge uptick in profits at the Japanese gaming firm, but a smaller, lighter sibling was always on the cards. Nintendo aimed to produce a piece of hardware aimed at casual gamers mainly interested in playing it while on the go. It comes in at less than $200 and it is ideal for gamers that rarely used the docked function and found the original Switch a little clunky for portable gaming.
The Nintendo Switch Lite has been received with universally positive reviews, both from experts and shoppers. Its average rating among Amazon shoppers has consistently hovered about the 4.5 star mark, while a wide range of professional reviewers have given it five-star ratings.
The proof of its success also lies in the sales date: shifting 1.95 million units in just 10 days is an impressive start and it flourished in the USA during the Thanksgiving weekend. It comes in at $100 cheaper than the Nintendo Switch, but it also provides an intriguing alternative, as it is not simply a smaller sibling. It replaces the DS family in one fell swoop and suggests that there is still plenty of life in the portable gaming sector.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller and lighter than the original Switch, and it boasts an improved battery life, which makes it more suitable for pure handheld gaming. It is also $100 cheaper. It comes in a stylish selection of colors and it is comfortable in your hands.
It boast some of the best first-party titles of any console, and plays all Switch games that support handheld mode. It contains strong processing power for such a small device and that makes it an attractive proposition for anyone that loves gaming while on the go.
Some gamers might struggle with the screen, which is just 5.5 inches and can make some of the in-game text appear small. There are no detachable controllers and you cannot plug into the TV for docked gaming, so it is a handheld device and not a hybrid. There is not HD Rumble or IR Motion Camera, and games will look better on the larger screen of the original Switch.
The storage is just 32GB for the Switch Lite. You can buy a microSD card to boost that, but it involves a greater cost and the Nintendo Switch Lite is already slightly pricey considering its limitations. There are no streaming apps, such as Netflix, as you will only find YouTube.
Some might decide that the cheaper price is not enough to justify the lack of features, but the Nintendo Switch Lite is definitely more compact and portable, so it should still continue to appeal to plenty of people.
Nintendo is determined to crack the large and lucrative Chinese gaming market with the Switch Lite, but it must overcome some major obstacles. The Chinese love free-to-play mobile games and it is a difficult sell to persuade them to pay for a console and buy games.
The firm teamed up with Tencent – producer of League of Legends and some other insanely popular free-to-play titles that feature among the most prominent esports at Unikrn – to launch the Switch Lite in China. Analysts believe this partnership could give Nintendo a fighting chance in China, but they admit it faces some huge challenges.
“The consumers there love free-to-play because that is all they have been offered,” said Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, after this week’s launch in China. “Yes, Nintendo is going after an audience that has never paid for games, and yes, that’s a challenge.”
The Nintendo Switch Lite is an ingenious creation. It manages to offer gamers something exciting and new, while it is unlikely to significantly cannibalize sales of the Nintendo Switch. There will still be plenty of gamers that love the versatility of the Switch and they will stick with it.
Yet others will love the lighter and more portable newcomer and they will go out and make the additional purchase. It will also attract new consumers that never bought the Switch because they found it too cumbersome. The Switch Lite really is a superb device, vastly superior to the DS, and it is great to be able to play such a fantastic array of games on such a convenient, lightweight device.