Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Why a Joy-Con-less Switch model is a terrible idea

With rumors of a Switch revision floating around for next year, one idea many have suggested, was a small, cheap, handheld only model that has no detachable Joy-Con, or dock, and was just a generic handheld device. Anytime this idea is suggested, I have to facepalm in disappointment. In truth, such a device is not only a bad idea, but would also completely defeat the point of the Switch. As the Joy-Con actually make it a better system. Here's why.

Software compatibility - Problem #1 with this concept is that you automatically kill support for any game that relies on them to work. Sure, a lot of Switch games offer button based controls as alternatives. But then you have games like 1-2 Switch, Just Dance, Nintendo Labo, Super Mario Party, etc. that forgo handheld mode support, so that the game can be designed completely around the Joy-Con. So now this handheld only Switch isn't guaranteed to play all Switch games.

Discourages use of the Joy-Con - Another issue is that just the mere existence of such a device will automatically scare developers away from doing anything cool with these controllers. Now they have to consider not everyone has these controllers to play, so they have to dumb the game down just to function on buttons. While some people may like that, it kills a ton of creativity that could be had on Switch, and can even make several games worse to play as a result. This isn't like 3D where it was explicitly mandated to be optional, Nintendo allows developers to design games exclusively around the Joy-Con, so making a handheld only Switch tosses all of that out the window for no reason.

It makes the Switch more generic - The biggest problem I have with the proposal of this idea, is that it demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of why the Switch is so successful. It's easy to say the Switch is selling well because it's a Nintendo handheld. And while it's true portability is a big part of it's success, it's far from the only reason. I think the bigger reason why the Switch is a success is because it's a way more original concept than "Just another great Nintendo handheld". In a day and age where conventional handhelds are dead due to the ubiquity of smartphones, the Switch offers features and play-styles that instantly distinguish itself from your typical mobile device. It's a home console, you can play on the TV as well. You can also play with a friend by sharing a Joy-Con, pop up the kick-stand and play motion control games anywhere. Have Jean Sebastian Joust Nonsense with 1-2 Switch at a coffee shop, build cardboard toys out of it with Nintendo Labo, turn dual screen gaming on its head with Super Mario Party. And a host of other ways to play. A large part of the Switch's appeal, lies in the seemingly endless play-styles you can mine from it, and that's thanks almost entirely to the Joy-Con. There's a reason they're the Switch's logo, because the focus isn't the console or its play-styles, rather it's the controllers that help enable those play-styles. The Joy-Con help give the Switch something to stand on its own with. Take them away, you take away everything that makes the Switch interesting, and turn it into the very thing it was designed NOT to be. Just another generic, run-of-the-mill gaming handheld, in a day and age where those devices are practically extinct.

This is why I believe Nintendo shouldn't entertain the thought of such a device. It's an unnecessary product that would have no real market and would defeat the entire point of the Switch. Besides, whatever problem it could solve, can already be addressed by time and a dock-less bundle. A Switch bundle without a dock honestly, does a much better job at appealing to the more price conscious side of the mobile market, while still retaining the core concept of the Switch.



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I agree overall. I wouldn't go as far as saying it has no real market - it would, but I think that a lot of the sales would come from consumers who want a cheaper Switch and force themselves to go through the trade off of not having detachable joycons, rather than wanting that trade off.

The smaller and bigger Switch are just going to have to come up with ways of keeping the concept intact. Also, I kind of think that Nintendo may want to make all Switch models compatible with the dock, even though they'd have to adjust the charge ports to make this idea work.



Historically, handheld gamers don't need local multiplayer (same system) or motion controls (full movement not tilt).

The $300 pricetag is a bargain for those people who are open to buying a Nintendo home console and handheld.
It's reasonable for those who want a home console with solid gimmick however it's still expensive for the traditional HH gamer.
So long as a joycon-less Switch is still compatible with a dock and joycons, it isn't an issue. They rightfully get a HH-only Switch for a lower price but can still get the full experience if they buy dock/joycons.



Nov 2016 - NES outsells PS1 (JP)

Don't Play Stationary 4 ever. Switch!

Pyro as Bill said:
Historically, handheld gamers don't need local multiplayer (same system) or motion controls (full movement not tilt).

The $300 pricetag is a bargain for those people who are open to buying a Nintendo home console and handheld.
It's reasonable for those who want a home console with solid gimmick however it's still expensive for the traditional HH gamer.
So long as a joycon-less Switch is still compatible with a dock and joycons, it isn't an issue. They rightfully get a HH-only Switch for a lower price but can still get the full experience if they buy dock/joycons.

Thing is, a Switch bundle without the dock would do a way better job at serving that role. It'd be a great way to sell a second Switch to families who already have one, as well as consumers who want a purely portable experience, while still retaining the core concept of the Switch itself, that way even those who only play undocked are still guaranteed to have all the playstyles needed ready. 



TheMisterManGuy said:
Pyro as Bill said:
Historically, handheld gamers don't need local multiplayer (same system) or motion controls (full movement not tilt).

The $300 pricetag is a bargain for those people who are open to buying a Nintendo home console and handheld.
It's reasonable for those who want a home console with solid gimmick however it's still expensive for the traditional HH gamer.
So long as a joycon-less Switch is still compatible with a dock and joycons, it isn't an issue. They rightfully get a HH-only Switch for a lower price but can still get the full experience if they buy dock/joycons.

Thing is, a Switch bundle without the dock would do a way better job at serving that role. It'd be a great way to sell a second Switch to families who already have one, as well as consumers who want a purely portable experience, while still retaining the core concept of the Switch itself, that way even those who only play undocked are still guaranteed to have all the playstyles needed ready. 

Japan's already doing it. It isn't doing a better job than the HH-Switch is going to do.



Nov 2016 - NES outsells PS1 (JP)

Don't Play Stationary 4 ever. Switch!

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I think this is the very first pro waggle comment I've seen on VGChartz, if such a Switch was to launch though.... it would obviously need to keep its connectivity antenna's internally, it would be insane to launch a Switch without the ability to connect to Wifi and removal of wireless controllers in the firmware would just be counter-intuitive to making money. Just saying if someone was to buy a Switch with the controls not removable, what would stop them from later on buying a pair of joycons for use with the system in tabletop mode? Also don't forget that some games you mentioned like Just Dance can also be played with the mobile phone app... or no controller at all and you can just dance for exercise yourself to the games.



Fancy hearing me on an amateur podcast with friends gushing over one of my favourite games? https://youtu.be/1I7JfMMxhf8

Pyro as Bill said:
TheMisterManGuy said:

Thing is, a Switch bundle without the dock would do a way better job at serving that role. It'd be a great way to sell a second Switch to families who already have one, as well as consumers who want a purely portable experience, while still retaining the core concept of the Switch itself, that way even those who only play undocked are still guaranteed to have all the playstyles needed ready. 

Japan's already doing it. It isn't doing a better job than the HH-Switch is going to do.

It's exclusive to Nintendo's online store in Japan at the moment, so it is a bit niche. But if this was expanded into a full WW retail release, I gaurentee you it'll be a hit. 



Yeah, a Switch-less Switch never sounded like a great idea.



TheMisterManGuy said:
Pyro as Bill said:

Japan's already doing it. It isn't doing a better job than the HH-Switch is going to do.

It's exclusive to Nintendo's online store in Japan at the moment, so it is a bit niche. But if this was expanded into a full WW retail release, I gaurentee you it'll be a hit. 

You're talking the fastest selling system in some regions of all times.... if you sold a version of it which included pre installed small pox it would still sell.



Fancy hearing me on an amateur podcast with friends gushing over one of my favourite games? https://youtu.be/1I7JfMMxhf8

I too believe that a Switch without being Switch (joy-cons, for one) would be a shot in the foot.
The concept has been more than embraced by people… what's the point of selling less? So you can have market confusion when you aproach and try to sell both versions that don't play the game the same way (visuals and input)?

Switch works. Let's keep it at that. If anything, improve it.