- Nintendo Switch’s early UI design was more colorful and lively, resembling the Wii U and 3DS menus.
- Even many of the console’s fans have previously described its home menu as bland and going against Nintendo’s playful brand of software.
An early version of the Nintendo Switch user interface has leaked online. The images that are currently making the rounds on social media suggest that the Nintendo Switch was once planned to have a much livelier menu than what ended up shipping to consumers.
Seven years following its release, Nintendo’s hybrid console boasts the title of one of the most successful gaming systems ever made, with the latest official figures placing Switch sales north of 132 million as of late 2023. And while countless gamers hold the handheld dear, its popularity has little to do with its UI design. On the contrary, plenty of fans have frequently voiced criticism of the console’s home menu, describing it as everything from bland to going against Nintendo’s historically playful and colorful products.
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Early Switch UI Was Seemingly Inspired by Wii U and 3DS
But as suggested by a newly surfaced screenshot batch said to depict the console’s prototype UI, it would appear that Nintendo was once planning to deliver a much more lively interface. The four leaked images, shared by Twitter user PaulFelixKelly, reveal an incredibly colorful Switch UI that is clearly reminiscent of the final product, while still taking a lot of inspiration from the vibrant menus utilized by the Wii U and 3DS.
Aside from a more picturesque color palette, the leaked UI also features a reshuffled layout of the final Switch menu: the news, eShop, and gallery buttons are still on the bottom, but larger and mixed with the user’s recently played games. The battery, Wi-Fi, and time icons also once occupied the bottom-right corner of the screen, right next to what appears to be a row of recently online friends. Meanwhile, the settings button used to be much smaller, while the majority of the screen real estate was dedicated to visualizing the currently selected item, making the interface seem more responsive.
This is far from the first occasion on which some pre-release Switch software found its way to the web. This very same source also dug up a prototype Nintendo Switch boot animation back in 2022, revealing a simple animated visual utilizing the console’s NX codename that was clearly never supposed to see the light of day.
Whether the Switch is a mere aberration in Nintendo’s UX track record or the start of a minimalist UI era for the Japanese company is still unclear. But the answer to that question is likely to arrive sooner rather than later, not least because of the mounting pile of evidence suggesting Nintendo will launch the Switch 2 in the second half of 2024.
Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo’s newest system features a vibrant 7-inch OLED screen, a wide adjustable stand, a dock with a wired LAN port, 64 GB of internal storage, and enhanced audio. Improvements to visuals, audio, and connectivity make a strong impact on highly detailed gameplay and setup is extremely easy.
- 2.9 x 6.5 x 7.9 in
- 1 lb
- NVIDIA Tegra