Now I feel I must preface this by saying, the Switch Lite is not aimed at me. I am not the target audience for it. But I still don’t like it, and I think it has the potential to harm the Switch in general, which is why I don’t like it.
So, the Switch Lite is a Nintendo Switch. Only it’s not. It’s a games machine that plays Switch software, but it’s not a Switch. It is a piece of hardware with a 5.5″ screen (as opposed to the Switch having a 6.2″ screen) and weighs in at 0.61lbs (as opposed to the Switch weighing in at 0.88lbs).
Here is why it’s not a Switch.
It has no dock, so therefore has no connectivity to a television. It is a dedicated handheld device designed to be more portable than the flagship Switch. It has no tabletop mode, as it doesn’t have removable joycons which means you have to buy joycons to play certain games. And then how do you charge those joycons if you do buy them? They don’t attach to the Switch lite.
It has none of the features that make the Switch the Switch. The whole point of the Switch was the fact that it was versatile. It was a home console and a handheld, and you could “switch” how you used it at any time. Or you could detach the joycons and “switch” it to a portable multiplayer device. The Lite feels like a branding disaster.
We all sort of knew that the Switch lite was coming, but when it doesn’t have any of the features that make it a Switch, what does that mean for the brand?
I was reminded of the 2DS and the fact that it didn’t have any of these branding related issues. But the 2DS was genuis. Already in the name it was obvious that they dropped the 3D functionality and the lack of folding, whilst hurting the portability of it a touch (and this was also fixed in the New 2DS) it was a small price to pay for a budget system that played 3DS games. And it was branded as such. The Switch Lite is branded as a Switch, so it should come with the features that make the Switch what it is. And it doesn’t. Like the 2DS, the branding should have been altered to make it similar enough that people will recongise the hardware, but seperate enough so as to not hurt the Switch brand.
Remember the Wii U? It was branded as a Wii, and wasn’t actually a Wii. It was hardware that played Wii software and allowed Wii peripherals. And what did that do to the Wii brand?
I hope the same doesn’t happen here with the Switch, but I see people buying this up without reading the information available and expecting a lot more from it than they are getting, and that it going to lead to disappointment. I love the Switch and it’s a great time to be a Switch owner, but my advice right now is save up for the flagship system. It’s going to be $100 more but you’re going to get a lot more out of the versatility of it than you will the Lite.
I’m still confused what market they are aiming for with the Lite when the flagship system does exactly what the Lite does, and so much more.
Again, this is an opinion. Make of it what you will, but this is my two pence into the fountain.