Citigroup predicts a smaller Nintendo Switch will arrive sooner than you may think
Will Nintendo drop the 3DS to make a more portable Switch? I'm guessing, No. A smaller Switch is not a 3DS replacement option!
I was glad to see support continue for the 3DS as Nintendo's Switch came closer to market. I'm sure Nintendo is carefully watching the gray-area between the 3DS and Switch's ability to satisfy the gamer-on-the-go. While I see the benefit of the Switch's portability, it lags in a few areas as a replacement to the 3DS.
Battery life is a big issue to me and the Switch doesn't compare favorably with the 3DS. The dual screens, with touch-screen ability, is another factor I like very much about the 3DS. And most of all I'm addicted to StreetPass which is not a Switch feature.
So, Citigroup comes along with the prediction of a "mini" Nintendo Switch in Nintendo's next fiscal year (between April 2018 and March 2019). A smaller version of the Switch. Their primary assertion is the Switch, in it's current iteration, is too big to be a viable portable solution. I've seen no mention of what Citigroup believes will become of the 3DS. They simply say the Switch is too big.
While I love the games Nintendo has put forth across their long line of portable gaming consoles (GameBoy through 3DS), I've felt those screens were too small. The Switch offers a great resolution to that issue and lets you play the same titles on your large living room TV. Seems like a win-win! The notion that a "portable" game console must fit in my pocket has never been part of my definition. I'm actually a 2DS owner and take it with me almost everywhere I go via my backpack.
The utility of a Switch Mini doesn't seem comparable to current 3DS functionality.
Can The Switch Be Reduced?
Obviously some of the Switch's dimensions are tied together. The height of the tablet is tied to the width of the Joy-Con. Many find the Joy-Con to be quite small - certainly when compared to most controllers. Would Joy-Cons be reduced in Citigroup's prediction - or permanently attached? If a mini version was Joy-Con compatible, it may appeal to some gamers, but adding a set of controllers would bring the price right up to the current offering.
The ability to detach them seems a vital part of the portable experience. Reducing the Switch's size doesn't bode well for using Joy-Cons out in the wild. I'm all for the pro controller for the living room, but minimizing the footprint for portability, seems to remove some of the tablet's agility and simplicity.
I'm not entirely clear about Citigroup's prediction, but it may involve a different sort of Switch - more of a 3DS replacement. It would likely not use the current dock to connect to a TV, potentially bringing down the price. Naturally, this is all supposition, but there are a number of things to consider in such a device. I'm curious why Citigroup thinks it will come so soon in the Switch lifecycle.
As for my own two cents...
I like the curent size of the Switch. My concerns going forward are largely around how the Switch's evolution may effect the 2/3DS and the need for a portable gaming console. The trend in larger smartphone screens is catching on. What was once mockingly referred to as a "Phablet" has become more of a standard. Reducing the Switch's screen size doesn't sit well with me.
Mobile gaming is about combining gaming with the devices we all seem to carry around at all times - Smartphones. The ability to play Nintendo games far from the living room TV should not be married to the notion of tiny screens, as seen on today's phones. I like the switch's current size. Reducing it to make it conform to smaller objects we like to cram in our pockets, defeats a large part of what makes Nintendo games awesome!