Nintendo Co plans to begin assembly of its new Switch as soon as July and release the upgraded replacement for its four-year-old game console in September or October, people familiar with the matter said.
The new console, likely to be priced higher than the US$299 original, might be announced ahead of the E3 conference starting on June 12 to allow publishers to showcase their full range of Switch games at the global event, the people said, asking not to be named because the plans are not yet public.
It would be sold alongside the US$199 Switch Lite, with the standard Switch phased out over time.
Assemblers would start shipping the new model — whose commercial name is known only to a handful of people within the Kyoto-based company — as early as July, with production expected to ramp up to a peak in the October-December quarter.
This is despite widespread semiconductor shortages that have affected the supply of everything from automobiles to TVs, headphones and games consoles, including the Switch itself.
Suppliers are confident they can fulfill Nintendo’s orders, despite the ongoing chip shortages. Its production lines are better prepared for the potential component shakeup and the parts Nintendo is using are subject to less competition than those in its rivals’ more powerful consoles.
Still, the company’s ability to meet consumer demand would not be guaranteed, as a dearth of display driver ICs and Bluetooth chips have led to production of the incumbent Switch stopping and starting several times, the people said.
Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said at its earnings conference earlier this month that demand for the Switch remains high and the company was not able to produce as many units as it wanted.
Pricier components and rising labor costs in China are likely to push up the new Switch’s price from the US$299 that the console has been at since its launch in March 2017.
Although the final retail price is not yet known, suppliers expect their per-unit revenue from business with Nintendo to increase.
A Nintendo spokesman declined to comment.
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