Rumours of new Switch hardware have been swirling around for months now, with reports suggesting that the company is set to release a cheaper “Lite” edition of the console as well as an updated variant with slightly improvement internals.
While we’ve had several outlets corroborating these reports, until Nintendo confirms it this remains in the realm of rumour – and Nintendo of America’s Doug Bowser wasn’t in the mood to give this chatter any kind of credence at E3.
Quizzed by TIME about the “whispers” regarding new Switch hardware, Bowser said:
Mr. Furukawa [Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa] mentioned in his financial briefing that E3 would be all about the games, and that we wouldn’t be talking about hardware, and that certainly has been the case. It’s been all about the games, and at this point, we’re not talking any more about new platforms or extensions of Nintendo Switch. We’re just entering into the third year of Nintendo Switch with strong momentum, and that’s the focus here.
Bowser’s question-dodging is accompanied by a report from the Wall Street Journal that Nintendo is shifting production of the Switch outside of China “to limit the impact of possible U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made electronics”, according to “people who work on Nintendo’s supply chain”.
The fact that Nintendo is moving production doesn’t mean that a new Switch SKU is coming, of course, but the WSJ claims that its sources have confirmed that three different Switch models are being produced in Southeast Asia:
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Nintendo planned to update the Switch this year with two new models. One is set to look similar to the current model with beefed-up components, while the other is expected to be a less-expensive model with a new look.
People involved in the supply chain said production in Southeast Asia has started for the Switch, including the current type and the two new models, suggesting Nintendo is getting ready to introduce them soon. They didn’t give specific volume figures but said Nintendo wanted to have enough units to sell in the U.S., the largest market for videogame consoles, when the new products go on the market.
As Bowser said, the plan for E3 was always to focus on the games and Nintendo, in recent years, has used other channels of communication to announce new hardware. Perhaps we’ll see a reveal of the new Switch systems later in the year.