Nintendo Switch Lite Doesn't Use Joy-Cons, And Its Controller Features Some Big Changes

Joy-Gone.

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Now Playing: Nintendo Switch Lite Release Date And Price Announced - GS News Update

Nintendo has finally confirmed the long-rumored revision of the Switch hardware, although it's not meant to replace the existing system. Instead, the Nintendo Switch Lite, as it's called, is a smaller, cheaper version of the existing Nintendo Switch that will be attractive to those who want to live a handheld-only gaming life, or have a second Switch at their disposal. Of course, to hit that $200 price point Nintendo has had to make some sacrifices and one of them is the Joy-Cons, which have undergone several changes.

The Joy-Con controllers are a key piece of the portable, social-friendly gaming experience that the Nintendo Switch enables. They are small, lightweight controllers that can be detached from the Switch and given to others for multiplayer fun.

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However, for the Switch Lite, Nintendo has opted for a dedicated, always-attached input method akin to its previous handheld devices such as the Nintendo 3DS. But because the left input device no longer needs to double as a horizontal controller, its four-button layout has been replaced with a proper directional pad. That should make playing a variety of games more comfortable and intuitive. Nintendo does not currently have plans to introduce this D-pad to Joy-Cons for the original Switch.

Although this aligns with the company's vision of the Switch Lite being a purely handheld device, the decision to eliminate detachable Joy-Cons doesn't preclude the Switch Lite enabling multiplayer entirely as Joy-Cons can still be connected to it. Nevertheless, multiplayer will be a little trickier as the Switch Lite cannot output to TVs and with a smaller screen (5.5-inch instead 6.2-inch), players will need to crowd around. The Switch Lite also lacks a kickstand, which means positioning it is going to be a bit difficult.

The Switch Lite also loses the rumble functionality, which means you won't be getting any force feedback when you're playing games.

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For $200, the Switch Lite certainly still has a fair share of features and use cases that make it appealing. Speaking to CNET, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said he could see the Switch Lite "fitting into a household where there are multiple players ... and one flagship Nintendo Switch." The company has spoken previously about seeing the Switch as a system that could be purchased multiple times per household, rather than the one-per-household nature of non-portable gaming consoles.

Nintendo has revealed further Switch Lite details, including its release date, battery life changes, and more. Prior to this announcement, reports suggested a more powerful Nintendo Switch targeted at hardcore players is in production.

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