No company likes it iterate quite so much as Nintendo. This is the company that gave us not only the Game Boy but also the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance, the Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Micro. It’s the company that gave us the 3DS, the 3DS XL, the 2DS, the new 2DS XL the new 3DS and the new 3DS XL: you get the idea. Home consoles have remained relatively stable despite the free-for-all that takes place in the portable arena, but guess what? The Nintendo Switch is a portable console, so we can expect things to get weird. That means we can reasonably expect a new Switch at some point in the future, and there have been numerous reports that we’ll be getting one this year.The question is: what will it look like? There are two essential ways that Nintendo can go with things, which essentially boil down to less and more expensive. It can either make a premium version of better features, or it can make a budget version with basic functionality but fewer bells/whistles. I’d argue that a Switch without accessories is already a sort of budget version of the console, and in general, I think that the company is far more likely to go the premium route for its first round of iteration.
The first thing I want to see here is a dockless version of the console. This would at first blush be the sort of thing you might associate with a handheld-only, budget SKU, and that could still be something we might see from Nintendo. But I’d prefer if it went in the other direction: a version of the Switch with the capability of connecting to a TV without extra hardware and enough onboard horsepower to boost its resolution without the dock. It’s something I’d love when travelling: I’m not inclined to pack up the dock along with the console itself when I travel, but I’d love to be able to still beam my game up to the TV whether I’m alone in a hotel or visiting Mario Kart-hungry friends.
The second thing I’d expect to see out of a 2019 Switch update would be increased onboard storage: I don’t really know anyone who hasn’t increased the Switch’s anaemic storage with an SD card, and it would make sense for Nintendo to roll that into the initial package rather than make you buy it later. The eShop is by far the easiest way to buy games on this thing, and for many of the console’s best games–Hollow Knight, Stardew Valley–it’s the only option. SD cards are plentiful and very few are licensed by Nintendo, so putting that upgrade in the box would be a way for the manufacturer to keep that money from going to someone like Sandisk.
That’s what I expect to see. Those two changes would make the Switch a far more attractive package right out of the box, even if the storage component can be fixed in such a way that you can basically forget about it once you make the initial upgrade. The last thing would be a whole lot bigger, but potentially a whole lot more transformative. A cellular capable Switch would mean I could play Fortnite on the train and run up a colossal data bill by accidentally downloading something like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild without switching over to WiFi. It would require a significant amount more work with a few more potential hurdles in the process, but there’s a precedent for it. The PlayStation Vita–in many ways the forerunner to the Switch–came with a 3G edition, though it’s hard to gauge its success next to the overall failure of the Vita.