The Nintendo Switch, praised for its ability to function equally well as a home console connected to a TV and as a standalone portable, now has a bundle in Japan that cuts out the home console part. At a discounted price of 24,980-yen ($226 USD), you’re getting a Nintendo Switch minus the dock, adapter, HDMI cable, and Joy-Con Grip. This is a savings of 5,000 yen ($45 USD) compared to the current base package.
There’s a lot to take in from this news, but let’s start with the price. While the savings for this portable-focused bundle isn’t as much as I would have expected, considering how ridiculously expensive the standalone dock costs, you do save nonetheless. Granted, you’re losing a key element of the Switch’s appeal, but there is an audience that only wants to play portably. Besides, you can buy the dock and adapter separately should you change your mind after the fact.
Another thing this bundle could represent is baby steps towards the eventual demise of the 3DS. Yes, Nintendo has said that support would continue until the Switch becomes a one-per-person type of platform, but this is their first step in making that happen. Granted, if the bundle makes it out of Japan at all, the estimated retail price would still be a bit too high before it hits a more mainstream or kid-friendly price. However, this bundle is certainly closer to a one-per-person price point, and a price drop or two could get it where it needs to be to succeed as a portable-only device.
On the site, Nintendo is targeting this bundle towards players that already own a Switch. To me, this makes a lot of sense. I already have a base Switch with the dock, but in a world where my wife might want her own Switch, we can save money by buying this bundle and sharing the one dock we already have. The instances where both of us would need a dock at the same time is slim, so this could be the better way for us to go.
Maybe this is the final straw for the 3DS and the Switch becomes the one Nintendo platform to rule them all. Maybe portable-only play becomes the primary method of consumption for Switch gamers the world over. Or maybe this bundle never leaves Japan and it never amounts to anything significant internationally. Nonetheless, this is an interesting pivot point for the future of the Switch and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.