Nintendo isn’t new to hardware revisions. While the PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft One X are mid-cycle upgrades unlike ones those companies have done before, Nintendo has been doing this for quite a while. The average consumer may just see things like smaller devices, larger screens or added cameras as the key changes things like the processors were also updated every time the Nintendo DS family got a revision. This resulted in things like faster loading times or better battery life for its users and they were all done relatively quietly.
I’ve been pretty vocal on our Discord server on how I think a Nintendo Switch Mini needs to happen for younger demographics. Personally, the price drop from the Original Nintendo DS’ $149 to the Nintendo DS Lite’s $129 was one of the system’s biggest selling points. You know, on top of being smaller, having larger displays (on both the top and bottom) & up to 9 hours longer battery life. Let’s just say there is a reason why the DS Lite sold over 93 million units on its own.
The OG DS had two years before its smaller, sleeker, cheaper brother hit the market which has me thinking. “Is it about time we start seeing a hardware revision for Nintendo’s newest console or is it too early?” I’m not sure if Nintendo will take the same path with the Switch, but if they did, here are some changes I would love to see Nintendo make.
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a whole lot of competition in the mobile gaming sector so where do you draw a comparison with devices offered by other manufacturers? Because of this, I looked at the mobile market for some inspiration. Cell phones and tablets have some pretty impressive displays in them nowadays but it would be pretty difficult to power something like a qHD display in a dedicated gaming device like the Switch. I do think you could make the jump to a 1080p display without too much issue. Moving to a more efficient AMOLED display with greater color contrast would also be a great step forward and would help the power consumption of the display as well. Adopting manufacturing processes such as fully laminating glass to the displays would also help make the devices more vibrant without changing too much of the actual tech behind them, making their colors less “washed out” and also improve reflections. That’s a win-win in my book.
While Nintendo doesn’t normally change processors too much, they have been known to upgrade them as time goes on. Both the New Nintendo 3DS as well as the Nintendo DSi received rather significant speed bumps when compared to their predecessor while not being considered (for the most part) a new generation system. Yes, I know DSiware was a thing and SOME games only ran on the New 3DS but by and large, most games worked on both systems. That doesn’t mean there weren’t benefits. Things like fast loading times and higher framerates did happen and batteries lasted a little longer thanks to efficiency gains as well.
Okay, I’m about to get a little technical on this next bit. There are two routes Nintendo could take. One would be more similar to the past experiences with the DSi or New 3DS and one is more like jumps mobile systems take. Incremental? Yes, but also more like a whole new “product” when it comes to consumer perception.
Personally, I would go with the NVidia Tegra X2 as this would be the easiest jump for Nintendo to make. The Tegra X2 is based on a 16nm process with requiring half the power and offers up to twice the performance. Which means you could see gains in performance while not hitting battery life too much or in some cases possibly extending the battery life further. This would be more than enough for a more silent, “under the hood”, update like those from the DSi. You wouldn’t need to rebrand anything or segment the game library but owners of the newer devices could have better battery life and fewer drops in resolution or frame-rate on more intense games. I could see this kind of change happening as early as next year with some modest changes to the system.
While you’re at it lest update the PCB board inside the Switch because I’m all for making things as concise and condensed as possible, more efficient. I’d like to say Nintendo did this with the Switch’s PCB board but honestly, it’s larger and more spaced out then it needs to be. On top of that, they could use new techniques such as the stacked PCB boards Apple did with the iPhone X. It was not only an awesome piece of engineering but it also cut the amount of internal space used in half which allowed for even more battery. Which brings us to my next part…
We’re a long way from the Nintendo DS Lite’s amazing 14-19 hours of battery life but even getting it to a relatively modest 10 hours would be a godsend to me. I love playing this thing as a handheld but the Switch has a major battery consumption issue to deal with. Now, it won’t be easy but between moving to a more efficient display, layering PCB boards to fit larger batteries & possibly using Tegra X2 it should be possible. Even only one or two of them should see the needle moving in the right direction.
Those are just a couple of things I would change. We all know it’s probably going to happen sooner or later, so what would you like to see out of the first Switch Revision? Let us know in the comments down below or on our Twitter account @FanatixFour!