Nintendo is planning to officially release Version 2 of its primary Switch console in a couple of weeks, but it's available in a lot of places now. Unfortunately, you wouldn't know that by searching for it online or even walking into most stores. The new console is almost assuredly at your favorite store already, sitting on the shelf, but it's not immediately clear its there. That's going to cause some frustration for people eager to upgrade sooner rather than later.
But here are a few tips for getting one for yourself, no matter where you shop.
How to tell it's a new Nintendo Switch with a bigger battery
Nintendo isn't planning on releasing this updated Switch as a new model. This isn't the fabled "Switch Pro" you may have heard of in rumors. It's going to replace the existing Nintendo Switch you see on the shelves today. We know it has a bigger battery and a new IGZO display made by Sharp. However, if you see this Switch on a display case with the original, you're unlikely to be able to point out the new version.
The easiest way to tell you're getting the new Switch is in the packaging. The original version of the Nintendo Switch shows off the Red and Blue Joy-Cons in the controller dock with the Switch in its dock against a white background. The new packaging shows the Red Joy-Con sitting slightly outside of the controller doc with the Switch in its dock against a red background. It's a subtle difference but fairly clear when you see them on a shelf.
There's a more significant difference on the back of the packaging. The red background on the new version extends to the back, where you'll see a pair of Joy-Cons in their button grips held by different hands. Previously, the packaging showed the controllers attached to the console itself with a white background. This is obviously a lot less subtle, but it's unlikely you'll see the back of the packaging glancing at the shelf.
If you see the Switch packaging with the red background, that's the one you want.
Ordering the new Nintendo Switch online is where things get tricky
We know its the new packaging, so it should be as easy as looking for the red background when ordering online, right? For the moment, that is not correct. Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop: not one of these retail outlets have listed the "New" Nintendo Switch, and all of their current listings still have the old packaging. However, if I walk into a GameStop or a Best Buy and ask for a Switch, the red packaging is what I'm going to get. When I asked the folks at my local GameStop, they told me they didn't even have any of the old packages anymore. The stores all had the new packaging with the new Switch in it now.
If you work at GameStop, and you look up the Nintendo Switch, you'll see a pair of listings for the Red and Blue model. The original listing and a new "V2" listing in the GameStop system. The same goes for Best Buy, according to our sources, but that "V2" marking isn't currently reflecting online. If I order a Nintendo Switch from the GameStop website and I select the Red and Blue JoyCon model, when I go to pick it up, it will be the new Red and Blue model with the red background packaging. This has yet to be confirmed for Amazon, but at the moment it's pretty safe to assume it's the same policy.
And there lies the problem. If an online retailer has both versions of the Switch in stock, it's not immediately clear which you're going to get. That is until they ship out all the older models. If you're specifically looking to order an updated Nintendo Switch, buying online right now is kind of a dice roll. Likely, this confusion won't last terribly long. We'll eventually see the new packaging appear on the sites to reflect this, but for now, it's essential to be careful when ordering your Nintendo Switch online. And if you get the older model, don't be afraid to return it.
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