Nintendo is planning to release a new Switch console in 2019, according to reports.
The device will have an improved screen, a thinner chassis and should be lighter - and, hopefully, will also offer more storage and CPU horsepower.
That's according to the Wall Street Journal. It notes that while the device, which was launched in March 2017, sold unexpectedly well in the first year after it was released, sales have since tailed off. Unit sales stood at 19.67 million as of the end of June 2018 - less than half the numbers of the Sony Playstation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One.
When it was launched, the Switch was criticised for its underpowered Nvidia Tegra X1 CPU and 720p display (1080p via HDMI to a TV or monitor while docked) at a time when some PC and console gamers are shifting to 4K gaming. However, its portability and games such as The legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild helped make the Nintendo Switch fly off retailers' shelves.
Any upgrades to the current Switch are likely to be incremental, according to the WSJ, with the company reluctant to make the original Switch obsolete just two years after release.
What may help sales in the immediate future, though, is the release of a slew of new games, expected later this month. While a number of NES classics will be landing next week - including Open Tournament Golf, Solomon's Key and Super Dodge Ball - what will most help reignite Switch sales is the release of some blockbuster titles.
The #NES fun doesn't have to stop! More NES games are coming to #NintendoSwitch. NES Open Tournament Golf, Solomon's Key, and Super Dodge Ball will be available with a #NintendoSwitchOnline membership. Subscribe now and start playing on 10/10! https://t.co/ZPh215YNeT pic.twitter.com/UdxOf7TGnM— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) October 3, 2018
Lower prices, too, would also help with Switch games typically more expensive than games on other platforms.
As things currently stand, the Switch tends to miss out on the big games released for PC and the other major consoles, partly because it has the smallest number of users among the four gaming platforms, but also because the device is underpowered - not just in terms of the 1.02GHz octa-core CPU, but also the paltry 32GB storage.
The WSJ report flatly contradicts claims in March this year that the company wasn't planning to launch a follow-up to the Switch any time soon. The company's CEO Tatsumi Kimishima had also said that he wanted to make the Switch's product cycle longer than the five-to-six-year span that has become normal in the games console industry.
Instead, Kimishima said, the company planned to fuel sales of the console with new peripherals.
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