Recent insider reports and speculation seem to have been correct, as Nintendo has now introduced the handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite. While it sports some improvements over the current Switch design in the areas of battery life and price point, the Nintendo Switch Lite will serve as a more accessible introduction to the Switch library rather than a replacement for the original when it launches this autumn.
A smaller Switch catered to the handheld crowd has been widely requested and predicted ever since the Switch's 2017 release, so Nintendo's long-awaited confirmation of the Nintendo Switch Lite's existence is likely a vindicating announcement for many. Most recently, the Switch Lite was leaked in all but name and color options by an online Chinese console accessory retailer, whose "Switch Mini" listings and 100 percent accurate mock-ups leaked the Switch Lite's design almost a month ago.
Today, Nintendo formally announced the Nintendo Switch Lite, which does away with detachable Joy-Cons, offers greater battery life, and is being made exclusively for handheld play. In the company's reveal trailer for the handheld Switch revision, Nintendo's Yoshiaki Koizumi walks players through the Lite's biggest improvements and caveats. Coming in yellow, grey, and turqoise, as well as a swanky Pokémon Sword and Shield special edition, the Nintendo Switch Lite is about three-quarters the weight of the main Switch console with both Joy-Cons attached. This means it does have a slightly smaller 5.5" screen as compared to its older cousin's 6.2" screen and lacks a kickstand, but an undisclosed battery life improvement and $199 price point will likely be more than enough justification for those who have been biding their time for a revision before going in on a Switch.
Koizumi also confirms that the dedicated handheld "won't connect to a TV" and boasts that it has been given a proper D-pad, while conceding that its built-in controllers lack HD rumble and IR motion control features, meaning that some party games like Super Mario Party and 1-2-Switch will have to be played using additional Joy-Cons. This drawback aside, Koizumi says that gaming on a Nintendo Switch Lite is otherwise identical to the full-size unit and that any game supporting handheld mode, such as the upcoming Witcher 3 port, will be playable on the new handheld when it hits shelves on September 20, 2019.
With Nintendo's console sales surging and the Nintendo Switch Lite's handheld-only focus, 3DS owners have likely been left to wonder if this latest announcement is the beginning of the end of support for the DS family of Nintendo handhelds. While the Switch has proven to be an excellent combination of Nintendo's long-separate home console and portable gaming markets, it's hard to ignore the console's deficient backwards compatible library, which currently only contains NES games. Considering the complete absence of 3DS titles from the Switch catalog, contemporary handheld owners may be right to worry about the fate of the DS line.