This week Chinese online retailer Honson started listing cases, screen protectors, and other accessories for a system called the “Nintendo Switch
Mini,” presumably the long-rumored smaller Switch variant that has yet to be officially announced.
It turns out that while these products may eventually be real and purchasable, the Switch Mini product shots shown on the Honson site are almost certainly not. In fact, these listings seem to be based on Honson’s own speculation, according to an email Honson sent to IGN.
A representative of Honson described the Switch Mini as “a long-awaited machine,” to IGN over email after we inquired about the products, but made it clear that the retailer “can’t represent Nintendo and tell all [sic] when their new machines will release to market.”
“HONSON is also [the] same as the majority of players, we expect new and better consoles will be available soon!” Honson explained. While the email we were sent seemed to have translation errors in a few places that obfuscated the meaning somewhat, statements like this made it more clear that these listings are likely speculative, not some leak that should taken as fact.
That said, while Honson explained that products like this are based on its R&D and Design teams “tracking the latest developments in the game industry,” it also told us that “HONSON has its own unique insights.” That could mean Honson has heard its own information within the industry about a new Switch coming – or it could just mean it is saying it brings something unique to the table with its designs, as is the trouble with rough translations.
One thing we can safely say based on this email is that these listings shouldn’t be taken as actual confirmation of a Switch Mini, and definitely aren’t indicative of the final design if it is real. The product image used in most of the items listed is nearly identical to a fan-made Nintendo Switch Mini design posted to NeoGAF in 2017, and the only one that showed an alternate angle is clearly of a different system design altogether – the plastic case product that used that image has since been removed from the Honson site.
Additionally, while all of these products are listed for purchase, they are all “out of stock” with no real information or details about features, weight, and size, further indicating they are essentially placeholders. As for when they’d be available, Honson told us it “will officially release our peripheral products after the console is listed,” meaning this certainly wasn’t an accidental ‘leak’ like we sometimes see happen with new phones.
So, ultimately, these Honson listings shouldn’t be taken as anything more than what we already know: a smaller Switch has been rumored for a long time, lots of people in different parts of the industry seem to believe pretty firmly that it will happen eventually, and we won’t really know for sure until Nintendo tells us firsthand.
IGN reached out to Nintendo for comment on the Honson accessories, and they simply said “we have nothing to announce on this topic.” We’ll be sure to keep you posted if that changes.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.