A video game journalist has recently made the claimed that Nintendo cancelled plans for a Nintendo Switch Pro, focusing their efforts on a new console instead.
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The claim was made by John Linneman, Senior Staff Writer and Video Producer for Digital Foundry, during a recent episode of their weekly podcast, wherein him and his co-hosts discussed a fan question which theorized a “Nintendo Switch 2” would launch in 2023 — based on Nintendo’s prior release schedule — and its hypothetical specs.
Initially Linneman only hinted “I don’t believe we’ll get this in 2023, I’ll just say that much.” Technology Editor Richard Leadbetter admitted the Nintendo Switch was heading towards the end of its life-cycle, and that NVidia’s Jetson Nano featured a processor “that really looks like next-generation [Nintendo] Switches.”
The claim the leaked NVIDIA Tegra T239 is for a next-generation Nintendo Switch was also mentioned later on.
Leadbetter relented that Nintendo isn’t interested in higher-end graphical features such as ray tracing, preferring to focus on longer battery life and the “skills of their developers to work with whatever hardware they’re given.”
He then passed to Linneman, who speculated, “I think at one point, internally from what I can understand from talking to different developers, is that there was some sort of mid-generation Switch update planned at one point, and that seems to be no longer happening — and thus, it’s pretty clear that whatever they do next is going to be the actual next-generation hardware.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be 2023, and I think Nintendo itself is probably, likely very nervous about this transition,” Linneman proposed. “Because let’s face it, their last transitions have not gone well.” Linneman then cites the Nintendo Gamecube’s “flop” and the Wii U being a “miserable failure,” interspersed with the successes of the Wii and Switch.
Linneman mused how Nintendo could keep the current Switch audience happy while generating excitement for a new console. “There’s a risk if they just do ‘more Switch’ — like ‘enhanced Switch’ — it won’t necessarily get that same buzz. But if they go too far from the concept, they could alienate their fans again.”
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Backwards compatibility with the Nintendo Switch was a must for gamers in Linneman’s opinion, yet there would be many decisions to make, with new heads in leadership roles at Nintendo since the Switch’s launch in 2017.
Even the name could be tricky, as Linneman suggests names such as “Super Switch” may make consumers believe it’s a mere upgrade (as the Wii U suffered). “We just don’t know yet, what’s gonna happen,” Linneman surrenders. He also argued in favor of the next Nintendo console being capable of running PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S games, as developers grow tired of developing “bespoke” versions.
Leadbetter countered, arguing Nintendo were “all in” on the Nintendo Switch, and that being a hybrid portable console was its advantage.
While rumors of a more powerful Nintendo Switch console began around 2018 — along with denials from Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa to investors — the claims of a “Nintendo Switch Pro” began in earnest around August 2020. GamesIndustry.biz and Bloomberg reported the alleged console would launch in 2021, supporting 4K graphics alongside new titles.
Bloomberg later added the console would use new NVidia chips to support its graphics, along with Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). They later reported via their sources that the Nintendo Switch Pro would be announced before E3 2021, and launch October 2021 — claims that Eurogamer would later corroborate.
June 4th 2021 was another date thrown around by leakers, supposedly when the listings for the console would go live on online stores.
Despite patents for rail-less Joy-Cons and multiple online retailers who listed the Nintendo Switch Pro for a brief time, no announcement came, let alone a launch. The rumors themselves came at a time most technology companies were suffering from a semiconductor shortage, prompting supply issues for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, along with graphics cards.
Further, the Nintendo Switch itself continued to sell gangbusters — 85 million units in 2021, and 114 million units as of Digital Foundry’s podcast from last week. These factors likely contributed to the doubts many had, finally solidified as Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch OLED Model on July 6th of 2021; launching early in October of that same year.
While it came with a better screen and other enhancements, Nintendo emphasized the OLED model had the same CPU / GPU as the original.
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It could be that leakers mistook information about the OLED model as being a more graphically powerful model. YouTuber Nintendo Prime noted that, curiously, the dock for the OLED model is capable of outputting 4k graphics and 60fps. He proposed this may be Nintendo future-proofing the Nintendo Switch.
Stranger still, Bloomberg reported in September 2021 that 11 developers had been sent a 4K Nintendo Switch development kit. This prompted a public response from Nintendo’s investor relation’s Twitter. They claimed Bloomberg’s report was false, and emphasized no new Nintendo Switch models were planned.
Thanks to the new information, it may be that Nintendo did in fact plan to release a 4K supporting Nintendo Switch mid-generation, but may have been held back due to the semiconductor shortage. Then again, it may be the idea of a more graphically powerful Switch was shot down far earlier in development for myriad reasons — the OLED model then taking its place.
Why do you think Nintendo abandoned plans for a Nintendo Switch Pro- if they ever had any? Are you interested in what Nintendo will do in the next console generation?
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