Is there anything worse than buying something only to see the company release a new and improved version just a few weeks later? Nintendo feels your pain, and if you purchased a Switch, the original version, after July 17, the company will let you swap it for the newer version, as long as you pay for return shipping.
We’ve reached out to Nintendo for official confirmation by email and its phone line appears to be getting overwhelmed by inquiries at the moment.
The unofficial offer was discovered by a Reddit user who reached out to Nintendo in hopes of swapping the Switch they bought on launch day with the recently updated version (not the smaller Switch Lite) that includes better battery life, an improved processor (according to the Nintendo rep this Redditor spoke to) and even minor screen improvements, as some have discovered. The Nintendo rep told them that unfortunately only Switch owners who purchased the console after July 17 this year and that while Nintendo will pay to ship the replacement, customers need to cover the costs of shipping the old units back. One YouTuber even uploaded a recording of their call with a Nintendo rep who is heard confirming the ability to upgrade the freshly purchased Switch.
Other Reddit users have shared stories of similar success when reaching out to Nintendo support, in both the US and Canada, although many have been told that they must include proof of purchase and that older units will simply be returned if the criteria aren’t properly met. Nintendo also told customers that any save game data will be permanently lost for those doing the exchange. That’s an unfortunate downside given some eligible gamers have been potentially enjoying their Switches for almost a month from the specified cutoff date, but a free upgrade is still hard to argue with, and getting to replay The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild from the beginning isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Update, August 18, 2019, 8:44 p.m. EST/EDT: Nintendo of America provided us with the following statement regarding the Switch exchanges: “We do not have a Nintendo Switch exchange program. We always want players to enjoy their Nintendo Switch systems, and if anything ever gets in the way of that, we encourage them to visit http://support.nintendo.com for support, or to contact our consumer support team.”
So while it’s not an official program, it sounds like Nintendo is taking the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” approach and doing these swaps for whoever reaches out to the company’s support channels.