It’s always fascinating to get a look at the early development stages of hardware and software. Having recently seen a prototype Game Boy Advance and early build cartridges for F-Zero X and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a Switch development unit has now surfaced from Hong Kong.
This announcement comes from Forest Of Illusion, who you may recall released previously unseen E3 2006 footage last week. Having obtained this development unit through Akfamilyhome, it has revealed that it dates back to April 2016, almost a year before Switch’s retail launch. As such, it’s the earliest model we’ve seen yet.
There’s not much we can tell from these photos – though the Switch’s codename “NX” is clearly visible on screen – but the unit does feature some cosmetic differences, including changed volume buttons and different screws. Forest Of Illusion also notes its referred to as DPRD, though any meaning behind that is unclear.
As the Switch is an active console, Forest Of Illusion confirms they can’t release the factory test files online, sending this development unit elsewhere for safekeeping. Whether we’ll get further discoveries here is unknown, but it’s an interesting find regardless.