What’s the Point of Having a Switch Lite If It Doesn’t “Switch”?

Nintendo Switch Lite

Earlier this morning, Nintendo stealthily revealed its first iteration on the Nintendo hybrid device, aptly called the Switch Lite.

While many of us were anticipating a new Switch model, whether it be a Pro or a Mini type model, the Lite seems to be a device that will cater to kids and casual gamers looking for a more on the go experience.

The Lite version sports a smaller design with no detachable Joy-Con controllers and it also now houses a traditional cross D-pad, which Nintendo is known for.

I think these changes are nice, especially when you still can buy Joy-Con controllers separately and sync them with the device to play games such as 1-2 Switch, for example.

The question many of us had right away was, “Well, then can we still “Switch” and play games on the TV, right?”

Sadly the answer is no, which defeats the purpose of the original concept for the hybrid machine.

This new model will only be playable in handheld mode and I’m honestly not too sure why Nintendo chose to nix this feature when it has become such a defining aspect of the system.

Personally, I’m not a huge handheld gamer.

I have larger hands that cramp up easily if I’m not holding a modern/comfy controller and generally I just don’t find myself finding ample time to game on the go. Despite this, I think the Switch’s biggest draw is still this choice the user has.

Even though I haven’t used my Switch in handheld mode a lot, the times I have used it in that fashion always put a smile on my face.

It’s not about how much you use the system in either mode, but the idea that the option is there and when the time calls for playing in either handheld or TV mode, you always have a choice.

Having a choice is one of the most important aspects of user experience. It’s what made the Switch so popular when it launched over 2 years ago.

People saw the appeal of playing whenever and wherever they wanted with the option to also play on the big screen and that’s what made it so special and endearing.

For me, I love playing games blown up on my somewhat new 4K TV. I want to see all the details and I feel more immersed when playing on a bigger screen. I grew up mainly playing games on TVs rather than handhelds, so it’s just what I’m used to.

I think there’s a lot to love with this new Lite addition to the Switch family.

The form factor looks nice, the colors have that classic Nintendo playfulness, and the addition of a traditional D-pad makes quite a difference, and because of its $200 dollar price point, it’s a good value when you compare it to the original $300 Switch.

While I know this iteration of the Switch is aimed at bringing in new players, it also feels like it may be a big missed opportunity.

I’m gonna go on a whim and say that many consumers will buy a Lite system automatically assuming that it will plug into their existing dock causing headaches for retailers and Nintendo themselves.

I’m hoping this doesn’t lead to another Wii U type situation where there was a lot of confusion about what the system is and what it can do.

I’m just not really sure why Nintendo couldn’t have offered a Switch Lite dock for the new system that could be sold separately for people still interested in TV play.

Maybe we will end up seeing such a thing in the future if there’s enough noise about it. Either way, if TV play is important to you, then the original Nintendo Switch will currently be the only way to go.

If you wanted to know everything we currently know about the new Switch Lite, feel free to check out our breakdown of the new system here.

The Nintendo Switch Lite will be releasing on Sep 20 of this year in three colors: Yellow, Gray, and Turquoise. Also, a special edition model, celebrating the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield will be releasing on Nov 8.

You can also view the reveal trailer for the Switch Lite down below:

About the author

Eric Egavian

If I had to choose my spirit animal, it probably wouldn't be an animal but rather equal parts Travis Touchdown & Dante from Devil May Cry. Playing games since 1988. Some of my favorite genres include: Stylish character action, fighting games, arcade racing, and 2D sidescrollers.