Switch Lifecycle Could Extend Beyond The Typical 5-6 Year Window, Nintendo Says

Already off to a hot start, the Switch could continue to sell into 2023 or potentially beyond.

53 Comments

Typically, console generations run for around 5-6 years. With some amount of deviation, this has generally been true for consoles from the big three: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

But Nintendo believes its new system, the Switch, could potentially run for a longer period of time. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto said during a recent investor Q&A that he believes the Switch stands to be successful for a long time to come due to its unique hybrid nature and Nintendo's efforts to create compelling content that leverages the system's unique attributes.

"When you think about what can be done with the Nintendo Switch as a device that can be taken on the go and that every person has in their hands to play, you realise it has many features not available on any other hardware to date," Miyamoto said. "Nintendo also has a system in place whereby the software developers focus on these hardware features in their development efforts for the continuation of the Nintendo Switch business."

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He added: "Up until now, the hardware lifecycle has trended at around five or six years, but it would be very interesting if we could prolong that life cycle, and I think you should be looking forward to that."

Nintendo director Shinya Takahashi went on to say that the company is working with "junior" developers inside the company to continue to "create interesting products" that are both fun to play and reach a wide audience.

"Behind the unceasing stream of Nintendo Switch software releases to date is an approach to development that concentrates on development, itself the fruit of efforts several years ago to integrate the software development teams, which has made it easier to organise teams."

By comparison, the Wii U was released in 2012, with production ending globally in January 2017. The Switch launched in March 2017, going on surpass the lifetime sales of the Wii U after just 10 months. If Nintendo's prediction comes true and the Switch has a lifecycle longer than 5-6 years, we could see it still in the market into 2023 and potentially beyond depending on how things go.

Some of Nintendo's biggest franchises have already been released on the Switch (Super Mario, Mario Kart, and Zelda are among them) but fans are still waiting for a Super Smash Bros. game. Given that it is one of Nintendo's biggest and best-known franchises, we can expect it to eventually come to Switch, though it remains to be seen when that may happen.

For more on Nintendo's latest investor Q&A, check out the stories linked below.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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lionheartssj1

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They'll probably do a Pascal upgrade in a couple years and name it the New Nintendo Switch or something like that. That way they can still call it a Switch in some capacity.

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IanRCarter

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I'm intrigued by the Switch but it will look dated pretty quickly without handling 1080p on all games and a robust online system. The Wii was a good console but I recently got mine setup to the 40" TV downstairs and it looked terrible. From what I remember of the online on it, you had to get your friends unique ID number rather than searching for their username which was a pain. It's easy to say it has 5+ years life but it's not a exciting, new console then.

I think the real threat to the Switch isn't from Sony/Microsoft but from Android gaming - Android tv boxes are cheap now and we can stream video to HDMI sticks from our phones. In 5 years it's not so hard to think that we could be connecting controllers to our phones and outputting 1080p games to our TVs.

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mcnichoj

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lol Nintendo. They never cease to surprise with how out of touch they are.

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asnakeneverdies

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Edited By asnakeneverdies

@mcnichoj: Maybe Nintendo are so up to date that they, paradoxically, seem out of touch. Think about it.

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GameboyTroy

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The Switch will run into a wall by 2021. Nintendo is crazy. It's too weak to last that long.

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Frankwes

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Edited By Frankwes

I get that man. I'd like to see it go way of the gameboy. Updated models with out deviating from the bass product. You know switch mini, switch xl, switch 3ds... so on. Personally i have held out do to battery life and memory. More games that utilizes the hardware in new exciting ways too. The main thing for me would be the switch. Yeah you got wii ish innovations....yet what about the switch? Not too many games that give you reasons to switch from hand held to tv or vice versa. Need more handhelds so i can play em on my tv and more console games so i can play em on the hand held. Then games that give you reasons to want to do both. Any ways hope you nintendo read. I dont want another under utilized concept like the 3d in 3ds was...switch is too cool an idea. i mean if yall dont use this thing for vr you better use it for the switch part at least.

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asnakeneverdies

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Edited By asnakeneverdies

Increase autonomy significantly, or drop portability entirely. 'Nuff said!

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Jigen32

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I wouldn't be surprised to see an upgraded version that supports 1080 on tvs sorta how the DS went to 3ds or 3ds to new 3ds.

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mattcake

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Edited By mattcake

Yup, that 720p will scale really nicely on the 4K 2160p TVs everyone will have, a nice 3:1 pixel ratio. Chunky.

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csward

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Outside of Japan, I don't see it getting much support after 5-6 years without a "Pro" version, as it is already hard for 3rd parties to port major games to Switch. As graphically fidelity increases for PC and PS4/Xbox Nintendo will feel increase pressure to come out with a more powerful version of the Switch.

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RContini

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i don't know who's crazier, Miyamoto or some of the the commenters on here? I love my switch absolutely but you'd have to be a bit slow not to see it's limitations.

1. it's a tablet....it WILL break eventually, hardware or software something will F up. the switch is highly ambitious for it's size, we know that when phones do this, they don't last.

2. battery won't last.

3. ports are already at graphical capacity, many don't run very well at all. How is this supposed to improve?

The answer is, if it wants to continue to 2020 is it has to have an XL version with double the power/build quality/storage/battery

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Mintek11

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Edited By Mintek11

@rcontini: I agree with your points. It comes down to what Miyamoto considers as a lifecycle. I think he has stated that he considers the 3DS to be one continuous lifecycle despite the release of the more powerful "new" 3DS lines which have games that do not run on the original 3DS.

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silv3rst0rm

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It won't!

One reason will be the battery life!
They'll probably do like most tablets and charge more than 50% of the device price for a battery replacement which will make us think twice and maybe consider buying a new one instead.

And I doubt the Switch will remain the exact same product for its whole lifespan.
Like the *DS which improved over the years, there'll probably be some evolution, wether it's lighter, better battery, brighter screen, etc.
So let's say in 3-4 years, your Switch can barely play in handheld mode for more than 1h, you will probably want to replace the battery... if by then they released a new lighter switch + better battery + better screen at 300$ and they'd charge you 150$ for your current switch's battery replacement... you might consider renewing the whole thing which would get you another dock, 2 more joycons and a brand new switch!

Besides, I know that Nintendo isn't on par in console war and don't care much about what SONY/MS do but I doubt they'll manage to keep the Switch going on and on after the next console generation which should get released somewhere around 2020...

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PSYCHOV3N0M

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@silv3rst0rm: www.ifixit.com is your friend.

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hardcoregamer1

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Please no the console sucks, its underpowered it should have being released in 2011, this is what I hate about nintendo great games but crappy console to play them on.

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silv3rst0rm

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@hardcoregamer1: It's not for everyone but it's not crappy for that matter!

I'm enjoying it and still find it jaw dropping to get to play games as good as Mario Odyssey/Zelda on a handheld device!

To each their own!

Some are rigid on 60fps, 4k, Antialiasing, Shadows, Draw distance, etc...
Some want to actually PLAY GAMES...

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shaka_de_virgem

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Edited By shaka_de_virgem

after fucking over the people who bought the Wii U(which still costs a fortune to get in some countries),it better be...

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silv3rst0rm

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@shaka_de_virgem: Wii U wasn't that bad of a console!

They screwed up on the marketting point which ended up in a totally unnoticed launch and they never cared to make it rise a bit!
They tought the thing would sell itself just cause it's Nintendo and everyone knows Nintendo.

They did it in a totally different way for the switch, even releasing the Nes Mini Classic BEFORE the Switch to actually bring back Nintendo in consumer's minds and they used that exposure to spam previews, news and all about the upcoming Switch!

The switch wasn't even released and people were talking about it whereas the Wii U was released and people didn't even know about it unless they were nintendo fans following them.

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spartanx169x

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@shaka_de_virgem: How did they f over people?

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SupaMasterGamer

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Two words: Price Drop.

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asnakeneverdies

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@CallMeDuraSouka: Contractions do not count as one word. Step up your game, please.

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Xristophoros

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@CallMeDuraSouka: true, even the new 2dsXL is selling for $200 in canada. i find it ludicrous.

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wicked_laugh

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I really doubt the Switch will continue to be around unchanged for the next 5-6 years. Switch XL, Switch Lite, etc maybe, but not as it currently is. 4 years, max.

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effinjay

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If Nintendo doesnt have a switch XL or whatever they call it,by the time PS5 and xbox whatever comes out,then they are in trouble. Everyone brags about the damn thing but its not all that,had it, and it was fun for about 3 months. I dont travel enough to enjoy it. I dont think Its going to stay big for much longer.

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aross2004

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@effinjay: If I had a dime for every time someone claimed that Nintendo would be in trouble, I'd be rich.

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effinjay

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@aross2004: i said "big" not "in trouble"

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sladakrobot

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Super Switch,Switch XL,Switch Mini,Switch DS...expand it over 2 decades

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jinzo9988

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That's a double-edged sword, because while you've got 3rd parties releasing AAA games for it now, you're inevitably going to run into the situation that the last two consoles were in where the task of porting a game like that from the next generation's systems is going to be monumental if not impossible because of the hardware limitations. You need a "New" Switch at some point with hardware revisions if you want to keep that.

I'm firmly okay with an upgraded Switch somewhere down the line when it's needed. If they never make another console with a different gimmick again and stick to this hybrid, I'll be happy.

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Xristophoros

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Edited By Xristophoros

@jinzo9988: AAA games? the only AAA games on the switch that aren't more than 5+ years old are doom and wolfenstein. la noire was released in 2011 as was skyrim! so essentially, there will be very few CURRENT AAA games on the switch because it simply does not have the hardware to run them. i don't think many honest gamers will be excited to play a gimped version of gta v on the switch when everyone has already played superior versions of it years ago. switch is playing catch up with LAST GEN games when it comes to the AAA space and even then it is doing a very poor job with its 3rd party support.

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gamingdevil800

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@jinzo9988: I's already hard for some to port to switch not sure what that will look like in 5 years time.

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altairdarius

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For 5-6 years playtime or in general?

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GusBR

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This is insane. Switch needs better game library. there are lots of switch games now but only few worth playing. I dont think it will survive for more than 2 years.

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Xirtahm

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Edited By Xirtahm

@gusbr: The thing has been out 11 months and has more console-exclusive content than the XBOX ONE's entire lifespan. Not crapping on the XBOX brand, as I myself love it, but it's pretty sad. Whether or not the content is for you is subjective, but exclusives are what sell a system.

People pointed and laughed at the DS originally when it launched near the PSP, claiming it was relying too much on gimmicky touch controls, and offered a far lower resolution than its counterpart. The DS not only outsold Sony's attempts, but both the PSP and Vita died prematurely, regardless of their beefier tech. It's a shame too, because the Vita especially had some potential.

Never underestimate Nintendo. They've had their disastrous failures, but you now have a console that is also going to replace their undefeated handheld market, which has soared in global success since the original Game Boy. And now that sales have been strong for the Switch, a lot of developers are taking notice, and you'll be seeing plenty of content in due time.

EDIT: Oh! And one more thing. Since the Switch can be separately declared as a glorified handheld, Nintendo could easily launch another console in 2024, with its predecessor simply coexisting along with it, much like the DS and 3DS did with the Wii and Wii U.

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Xristophoros

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Edited By Xristophoros

@Xirtahm: psp sold 80m units. i wouldn't call that a premature death, although i will say piracy had something to do with it. regardless, that is a sales number sony was proud of otherwise they wouldn't have made the vita. the ds was heavily pirated as well, the difference being it had far better 3rd party support. the library of game on the ds is staggering. even if only 5-10% of the 2000 games are worth your time, that's still a lot of great content. the switch is currently in a similar boat as the wii u in the sense it is lacking 3rd party support. 1st party and indi releases will not be enough to sustain sales on the switch long term.

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deactivated-5f813c4d743d1

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@Xirtahm: Bragging about it beating the xbox in exclusives is a terrible argument, since xbox has very very few actual exclusives to its platform to begin with.

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twztid13

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Someone at Nintendo is insane. Others need to be fired for not telling the insane person how ignorant he sounds. I already hate that Switch is portable, & games like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 struggled to be equal to docked mode counterpart in its low res handheld mode with unstable framerate to put it nicely (&still no update to resolve those issues). I never intended for it to be anything more than a means to play first party games, but if Nintendo did, stretching the lifecycle of the poor tablet APU beyond that of the capable consoles is a terrible way to go about that. If they dont plan to update any of their engines, graphic styles, or technology in any form beyond what they have now, then that would fit their gameplan, but as a fan, that's extremely disappointing (unless they are talking in the fashion that the Vta, 3ds, 360, ps3, etc hung around after their successors were released, but that's not what it sounded like they were saying).

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deactivated-5b0457a4d6084

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U’ll for sure see a update in 2020.

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Xristophoros

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Edited By Xristophoros

the hardware is already outdated compared to the competition. nintendo is suffering from a lack of 3rd party support for this very reason. the switch needs a hardware update in two years, otherwise 3rd party developers will become alienated (i would argue they are already) and the switch will become a 1st party and indi machine and nothing more. the switch does not need to be a market leader in the graphics department, but it needs to be powerful enough to receive ports (inferior ports, but ports nonetheless) of 3rd party playstation/xbox games. this will make all the difference for the switch and its future success. right now is the honeymoon period and it is doing well, but it will be a challenge to keep the momentum strong without decent 3rd party support.

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KilluaX3

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Edited By KilluaX3

720p 30fps in 2025? God damn Nintendo...

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spartanx169x

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@killuax3: The people that are buying the switch do not care about such things. They care about being able to play a console quality game while on the go. People wrongly predicted the system would not sell at launch because of the specs and they have already been proven wrong.

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Brettsky128

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The 3DS is on it's seventh year now, and it's still getting some games, so I could see the Switch lasting awhile. It's really hard to say, though. It being a hybrid console, it's its own thing, there's really nothing to compare it to. In the end, Nintendo will do whatever it wants. They don't play by the rules.

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JimClirad

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@Brettsky128: Next month begins its 8th year on the market! It'll have had 7 full years (March, 2011-March, 2018), and begin its 8th soon. The only problem is it's become a legacy system in the 8th year, Kimishima even said they are going to use old games to sell it, which is kind of stupid, because those games have been on the market for a while now, used copies are going to be more available than new ones.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@Brettsky128: Nah, it's not its own thing. Yes, there is the whole hybrid aspect, but the reason why this thing is selling so well is because it's being viewed as a handheld.

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lebanese_boy

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A lot of people are misreading this as Nintendo only having the Switch for over 6 years. A successor would have likely come out by then, but they plan on supporting the original Switch family of hardware still. Kinda like Sony who seems to do it best; they release a brand new console while still supporting the previous one for more years to come.

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JimClirad

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@lebanese_boy: Kimishima's point is he wants the gap between launches to be longer. You look at the NES (nationwide for the US/world) is 1986, then the SNES is 1991, then the N64 is 1996, then the GameCube is 2001, then the Wii is 2006, then the Wii U is 2012, then the Switch is 2017. See how it's either 5 or 6 years? He wants the gap to be more than the 6 years Wii got between launch and successor launch. Of course Switch will likely get a decade or more of life, but he's talking about he wants the typical lifespan (time between its launch and its successor's launch) to be more than the typical 5 to 6 I showed earlier with their prior systems. In other words, this system really is their next generation to compete with PS5 and XBox-insert-number-here.

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agramonte

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It can barely play 1 year old DOOM. We will have a slide show 5 years from now.

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Jako998

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I highly doubt they will stay with the switch for that long. They need to make their consoles more powerful. 3rd party support will slowly disappear on the switch due to the limiting power of the console

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GameboyTroy

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@jako998: I agree with you.

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JimClirad

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Edited By JimClirad

@jako998: It'll only stay on the market as long as the market wants portable versions of home console games, but the problem, and it's kind of a big one, it's going to compete with some extremely powerful systems by Sony and Microsoft in a couple years (PS5 and XBox-who-knows), so it's not likely to run the same games, it's going to need either a midlife upgrade like the 3DS saw, or it's going to have problems.

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