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Consoles

Nintendo Switch's cheaper model could be portable-only

One new version will be cheap and may remove signature features, while the other will be enhanced, reports said.

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The standard Nintendo Switch may gain a pair of siblings this summer, and one might lose the docking feature.

James Martin/CNET

Nintendo may be Switch-ing up its console options as soon as this summer, offering cut-down and souped-up models to appeal to a wide range of gamers.

The Japanese gaming company will launch two new versions of the Nintendo Switch, according to the Wall Street Journal's Monday report, which cited anonymous sources within the supply chain and game developers with access to a prototype. Eurogamer backed up this report on Tuesday, citing sources close to Nintendo.

One will be a cheaper option for casual players. This is inspired by its 2DS, which was released as a budget alternative to the 3DS in 2016. It may remove the Switch's signature docking feature (in which case it wouldn't connect to a TV the same way and could be portable-only) and it'll be tougher than the standard model to ensure that it's "kid-proof," according to Eurogamer.

Removing the docking feature might seem like a massive shift for the console, but similar things have happened. Nintendo cut the 3DS' signature stereoscopic 3D for the 2DS.

It may also remove the HD Rumble controller vibration and other features to cut costs, the Journal reported.

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The other new Switch will apparently be a more powerful version of the existing model, which will target avid gamers but won't reach the power levels of Sony's PS4 Pro or Microsoft's Xbox One X. The performance jump will be like the one from its original 2011 3DS handheld to the New 3DS (which had a better display and buttons), Eurogamer reported.

Both might include new liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens from Sharp, the Journal noted.

We've previously heard reports about Nintendo planning to refresh its console for the summer, and that it was planning a cheaper model. It may reveal the new versions during E3 in June, and bring them out in the following months, according to the Journal.

Neither Nintendo nor Sharp immediately responded to requests for comment.

First published March 25 at 3:47 a.m. PT.
Updated March 26 at 4:05 a.m. PT: Adds details from Eurogamer report.

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