Nintendo only released the Switch Lite less than two weeks ago, but the company is already working on a new model of the handheld console.
According to new documents the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday, Nintendo has a new version of the Switch Lite on the way, though it may not be meant for consumers yet. The new model has been given the FCC identification number BKEHDH002 – the earlier model was submitted with the ID number BKEHDH001.
The FCC filing comes just days after Switch Lite owners joined a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo over the ongoing Joy-Con drift problem. Players say the joysticks on the Switch Lite register movement even when they’re not being touched, an issue that many experienced with the original Nintendo Switch. One player said that their Joy-Cons began to drift after just 20 hours of playing time.
The console was released on September 20, and these filings come 10 days later, an unusually fast turnaround time for a new model. A teardown of the existing Switch Lite by YouTuber Spawn Wave found that the Switch Lite’s analog sticks are remarkably similar to the ones used in traditional Joy-Cons – which means the drifting issue is likely still a problem.
After this story was initially published, eagle-eyed readers spotted a revealing line deep in the documentation: the system is “intended to be use for software development or events.”
That said, FCC documents don’t give us the whole story on a new model – especially if there’s no major internal changes. If the company made a change to the external material or reinforces the Joy-Con on the Switch Lite, it likely wouldn’t appear in the FCC filings, which largely deals with the wireless aspects and radiation output of the console. The company could also be using a new model to test changes to a future version of the Switch Lite.
We’ve reached out to Nintendo of America to see if it could shed some light on the new filing, but the company declined to comment and in a statement said it had “nothing to announce on this topic.”
Nintendo’s approach to Joy-Con drift has shifted over the past few months – after initially charging people to repair the problem, the company has begun to fix them for free and provide refunds to customers who have already paid for repairs. There’s a difference with the Switch Lite, however: since the console is all one piece, sending your Switch Lite to Nintendo means depriving yourself of your brand-new console instead of just one controller.
If Joy-Con drift is a widespread problem on the Switch Lite, it makes sense for Nintendo to address it early – hopefully that’s being done with this new model.
Update 10/01: Added additional notes from the FCC documents.
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