Bloomberg TOKYO (Bloomberg) — Nintendo Co. introduced a cheaper version of its portable Switch gaming console, as the Japanese company seeks to expand the potential market for games.
The Switch Lite will retail for $199.99, or $100 less than the original device, in time for the all-important holiday shopping season. The new console will be released Sept. 20 and comes in yellow, gray and turquoise, the company said.
Nintendo shares have rebounded this year on optimism that the cheaper Switch, a stronger pipeline of games and a potential entry into China will help overcome last year’s missteps and broaden Nintendo’s customer base beyond dedicated fans. Still, analysts have struggled to understand how much a lower-priced device will expand the Switch’s market. In April, Nintendo gave a muted financial forecast that stunned investors and analysts, sending shares sliding.
“The sooner-than-expected launch suggests the new handheld console is highly likely to steadily capture year-end commercial season demand,” Citigroup analysts Minami Munakata and Yui Shoji said in a research note.
“That said, we doubt the new device is likely to significantly change overall [fiscal 2020] shipments, given that some gamers, particularly in Japan, have been delaying Switch purchases.”
The original Nintendo Switch, which launched in March 2017, allows people to play in three different modes while the Switch Lite is designed for handheld mode.
When the hybrid console originally debuted, it was seen as classic Nintendo — a new gadget that broke the norms of conventional video games. Equipped with a built-in screen and hypersensitive controllers, the Switch was billed as a worthy successor to the Wii, Nintendo’s rule-breaking blockbuster console.
The goal was to make the gaming experience as seamless as possible, while letting people use the product in new ways, such as turning it into a virtual piano or motorcycle.
But so far, the Switch has struggled to find customers beyond a core fan base. The company shipped 17 million Switch consoles last fiscal year and forecast 18 million for the current period, less than analyst projections for 18.5 million.Speech