Rumours have swirled for months now that Nintendo was planning to release new Switch hardware in 2019, but exactly what that might be is a mystery.

Would Nintendo release a slightly more powerful ‘pro’ variant so early in the console’s lifespan? Or would it go the other route, and release a smaller, more budget-conscious (and kid-friendly) variant to soak up everyone still playing their 2/3DS consoles instead?

According to credible new reports from Japan’s Nikkei (via Engadget) the latter is true, with Nintendo eyeing off the customers who consider the Switch too bulky to be truly portable.

A streamlined Switch would be cheaper to produce, especially one that doesn’t include the current system’s dock, allowing Nintendo to deliver a more appealing price point at the checkout.

Not only might the dock disappear, but the detachable joycons too, making the system even simpler and cheaper to produce. And while some games require handheld joycons for certain features, there’s no reason separate controllers couldn’t be connected if need be.

Even better, a Switch with built-in controllers could safely bring back the brilliant d-pad that Nintendo practically invented all those decades back.

nintendo switch d pad
Plenty of fighting and platform gamers would much rather a dedicated d-pad.

While some people are keen for a better screen – slightly bigger, higher contrast, and less-glossy – the new reports detail a smaller and most likely cheaper screen, placing this Switch squarely in the budget camp like the 2DS.

These are still just reports at this stage, but the story is certainly firming up from more and more business-minded sources who are regularly privy to insider info before the company spills the beans.

And while the Switch dominated its competition over the Christmas period, its sales aren’t quite covering off the gap being left by the wilting sales of the aging 2/3DS.

Watch this space.

Read: The big improvements Nintendo could make to the next Switch

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