The end of 2019 signals the beginning of a new decade. Maybe it’s being on that precipice that prompted our nostalgic pick for favorite tech gadget of the year.
The Nintendo Switch Lite, which debuted in September, is a throwback to a simpler time when you could play games on the go from a dedicated handheld device. In a world of increasingly powerful smartphones that pull our attention in numerous directions at once, it’s nice to have a device built solely for gaming fun.
It recalls Nintendo’s iconic Game Boy devices, which dominated the ’90s and made gaming popular among even the most casual players.
Game Boys eventually were featured in a variety of bright colors to appeal to gamers of all sensibilities. In a similar move, the Switch Lite comes in three colors: gray, turquoise and yellow.
It’s strictly a handheld device, unlike its predecessor the Nintendo Switch, which can be played standalone or docked to use with a TV.
The Lite is also smaller, lighter and cheaper. It costs $200 whereas the Switch costs $300. The Lite can play most Switch games, as long as they’re handheld compatible.
The Switch Lite should bolster the already-successful Switch family of devices.
The Switch was the best-selling video-game hardware platform of 2019 in the United States and the only platform showing year-over-year growth, according to Mat Piscatella, executive director of games at research firm NPD Group.
“Nintendo Switch Lite has certainly helped with this performance since launching in September,” said Piscatella. “It’s a perfect Pokemon machine, and with the record setting launch of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield in November, Switch is almost certain to finish the year as the best-selling video game hardware of the holiday season.”
Piscatella said the affordability of the Lite version makes it easier for multiple people in a household to own one. The other factor helping Nintendo is that Sony and Microsoft aren’t set to launch their next generation of hardware until late 2020.
Over Thanksgiving week, the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite sold a combined total of more than 830,000 units in the United States, according to Bill Trinen, Nintendo of America’s senior director or product marketing. It was the single best week of US sales in the history of the Nintendo Switch, which launched in 2017.