A group who has dedicated itself to preserving Nintendo's history has managed to acquire an early development prototype of the Nintendo Switch.
The developer console, which is from 2016, pre-dates the release of the retail Nintendo Switch by almost one year. Sharing the news on Twitter, Forest of Illusion said that it had obtained the devkit from a seller in Hong Kong.
With the help of @Akfamilyhome we have secured a development Nintendo Switch system (EDEV) from a seller in Hong Kong. The unit is from around April 2016, making it the earliest Switch to be found so far, predating the retail release by almost a whole year. pic.twitter.com/rPdy7Hr4CfFebruary 15, 2021
As you can see in the images above, the Switch has no home menu, nor the Joy-Cons we're all used to. This is because this unit would be solely used for running tests and development tools. Interestingly, on the console's firmware screen you can see that it is called "NX", which means that this was the codename for the Switch before it was given its official name.
Forest of Illusion said that it only managed to get ahold of this version thanks to another Nintendo historian group, known on Twitter as @Akfamilyhome.
With this acquisition, Forest of Illusions has confirmed that this is the earliest version of the Nintendo Switch model to be found so far, dating all the way back to April 2016. To put that date into perspective, Nintendo officially released its Switch console on March 3, 2017.
Forest mentioned on Twitter that it wouldn't be publicly releasing any of the data found on the console, tweeting "the data (factory test files) cannot be released since it's too recent, but all of the files have been backed up safely and the system has been sent to someone for safekeeping. Some other things of note are the different screws, volume buttons, and it being referred to as DPRD".
In terms of any significant discoveries, there wasn't all too much to be discerned from this early prototype. Thankfully, it seems like Forest of Illusion is being incredibly responsible with this developer Switch; considering it's probably something Nintendo doesn't exactly want people getting their hands on.
They'd probably struggle to run on this prototype, but here are some of the best Nintendo Switch games.