Rumors and leaks about a new, more powerful Nintendo Switch model are growing. We have gathered all the information about the features in this file.
Nintendo has been working for several years on a new Switch model, more powerful and more high-end. Like a PS4 Pro or an Xbox One X, or to stay with Nintendo, a New 3DS, this new console would allow Switch games to run with better performance and more comfort, in particular. Over time, very credible sources have come to materialize this project, which has yet to be formalized by the brand. We have gathered and analyzed all the information concerning this “Nintendo Switch Pro” which should land in 2021.
A very specific exit context
Before delving into the console itself, it’s important to put this launch into context. First that of Nintendo. After the failure of the Wii U, the Japanese giant has returned to success and not only a little, the Nintendo Switch has chained sales records since its launch, to the point of being in the running to become the most popular console. all time. For now, Nintendo has already launched a portable-only Switch Lite model, and a revision of the classic model with more battery life.
It should also be remembered that Microsoft and Sony changed generation of consoles in 2020 with the launch of the Xbox Series and the PS5. This means that the raw power gap has grown considerably with the Nintendo Switch, and new home consoles can take advantage of very modern technologies: a high-performance processor, a high-end graphics chip, fast storage, and technologies like ray tracing.
And if we widen the context further, there is the very serious shortage that affects the entire tech industry, from cars to consoles, including PCs and smartphones. With the Switch and the Switch Lite, Nintendo benefits from a more robust and proven production line, and for the moment manages to keep up with demand. By adding a more modern model to its catalog, the brand must be careful not to fall victim to the shortage, and at the same time to prevent this new model, which may be out of stock, from swallowing up the sales of other models well in stock.
Can we say that the Nintendo Switch Pro really exists?
As we said, the rumor of a new more powerful Nintendo Switch console has been hanging around for several years. So why can we now consider that Nintendo is targeting a release by the end of 2021 on this possible model? We owe it in particular to Bloomberg sources on two aspects. First Nintendo would have already started to ask external developers to prepare their games to be “4K Ready”, a definition completely inaccessible on Switch models that exist today. If Nintendo talks about it to outsiders, it means that the project is rather well advanced.
Moreover, still according to Bloomberg, this new Nintendo Switch would begin its mass production from June 2021. This corresponds to Sony’s schedule in 2020 for the launch of its PS5: mass production from the beginning of the summer and commercial launch in November.
It is these two elements put together that suggest that Nintendo should launch at the end of the year 2021. The health situation and the shortage could however still have an impact on these plans.
The screen switches to OLED
One of the first big changes to this new model would be the use of a 7-inch OLED display made by Samsung. This is a significant change, as the classic Nintendo Switch uses a 6.2 inch LCD screen and the Switch Lite uses a 5.5 inch LCD. The display should therefore be larger, benefit from much deeper blacks and much more vivid colors. On the other hand, the definition of 1280 x 720 pixels would always be the same, which means that the pixel density would be lower. This is an important question, because OLED displays in general need better density than LCD, due to their Pentile matrix.
This choice is most likely explained by a desire on the part of Nintendo to keep the same definition of rendering and display in portable mode on all its Switch consoles. This makes life easier for developers, and a rise in definition would probably have meant more resource-intensive games, assuming that the rendering definition of games would increase as well.
Nothing is known today about the design of this new Nintendo Switch. It can be estimated that the 7-inch screen could fit into a frame of the same size as the current classic model by trimming at the edges. It is in any case more than likely that this new model will keep broadly the same design, to ensure compatibility with the joy-cons of the Switch.
On this point we can mention a patent published by Nintendo in 2019 and which describes a new design unused until now for the Switch. We see a console with an almost borderless screen, as well as joy-con controllers with a new design, the upper part of which can be tilted to improve ergonomics.
To work, these new joy-cons would integrate a hinge system that would allow to choose between the classic position and the tilted position.
Another patent, released this time in March 2021, features a different design for joy-cons. The biggest change for gamers is a return of Nintendo’s traditional D-pad, and the replacement of the analog stick with a flat stick that looks similar to what Nintendo 3DS could offer.
We can therefore imagine a Switch that would keep compatibility with existing accessories, while offering a new design for the controllers supplied with the console.
Power: 4K thanks to Nvidia DLSS
One of the primary interests of this new Nintendo Switch would be its increasing power. The classic model that we know today uses an Nvidia Tegra X1 chip whose technology, whether at the level of the Cortex A57 CPU or the Maxwell graphics chip, dates from 2014, the era of a Galaxy S5 from Samsung. At Nvidia, this is the equivalent of launching the GTX 970/980 in desktop PCs, in terms of age. In other words, a whole different time.
According to Bloomberg sources, this new Nintendo Switch would benefit from a brand new chip from Nvidia that would integrate the DLSS function to display games in 4K. This would be very smart on Nintendo’s part, because DLSS technology makes it possible to go from a game rendering in HD 720p or 1080p, to 4K rendering thanks to AI. It is activated by dedicated Tensore Cores on the chip, independent of the Shader Cores which are used for 3D rendering of games.
In other words, Nintendo could activate DLSS at will when the console is in its dock with power, and deactivate it in portable mode to save battery. A scenario that would be a winner and winner for Nintendo, but also for Nvidia. The brand should indeed see a DLSS competitor land on AMD’s side soon, and the latter benefits from the integration of its technologies into Xbox Series and PS5 consoles to potentially quickly convince game developers to use its solution.
By signing with Nintendo, Nvidia could find a strong argument for these developers, in addition to its lead in the gaming PC market.
Still, it seems surprising on the part of Nintendo to adopt a technology as recent as DLSS. The Kyoto firm is rather adept in the use of proven technology, and mature. We will have to wait for the presentation of the brand to find out exactly how this translates to gamers on the one hand, and video game studios on the other.
Exclusive Switch Pro games
Talking about the characteristics or the design of a console is good, but it is obviously the video game that is at the center of the equation. Tech makers often forget it a bit quickly, but in a game console, there is “game”. The content is decisive in this industry, and in particular the question of exclusives.
With their mid-generation consoles, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, Sony and Microsoft have chosen to ban exclusives for new consoles. All games that have been released on Xbox One X have also been released on Xbox One or Xbox One S, and PS4 Pro games are PS4 compatible.
The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X did not have exclusives
This is not the choice that Nintendo would have made for its new console. The new Switch should benefit from exclusive titles that would not be released on the Switch and the Switch Lite, right from its launch. A decision that would be very ambitious for Nintendo, but which could be explained by the heavy technical debt of previous models. The idea is undoubtedly to motivate developers who would like to bring PS5 or Xbox Series games to Switch, but who would be resistant to the idea of going back technologically to the first Switch.
As a reminder, this is not the first time that Nintendo has made this kind of choice. On a portable console, the New 3DS had the right to exclusive games that the 3DS did not have. On a home console, we can think of the games that required the Wii Motion Plus or the Rampack on Nintendo 64, although these were simple accessories.
We do not yet know the list of the first games developed for this console. One can imagine that the highly anticipated sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could accompany the launch, although this title should not be exclusive to the Switch 4K.
Can we expect other novelties from this Nintendo Switch Pro? The rumors do not evoke anything more for the moment, but we would have some wishes to make. First of all, we would obviously like Nintendo to finally manage to correct the Joy-Con Drift problem that affects current models.
Another wish that we would have, especially if we start talking about games in 4K, would be an expansion of the internal storage of the console. The Nintendo Switch now offers 32 GB of internal storage. We could hope for at least 64 or 128 GB of storage on this new model. We would also like the storage to be faster, to reduce the particularly long loading time of switch games, especially compared to the ultra-fast loading solutions of the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
If we had to dream a little more, without really believing it, we would like the new Switch Pro to be compatible with Bluetooth audio, which no game console offers to date, in particular because of the latency induced by Bluetooth. . It would still be very practical to be able to use the Bluetooth audio headset that you have for your smartphone, with your Switch.
What price for the Nintendo Switch Pro?
If we can imagine a kind of Switch Pro at the end of 2021, its price remains for the moment a complete unknown. It will be necessary to wait for the presentation of the console to be fixed.
According to several analysts, Nintendo could launch its console at 400 euros. The classic version of the Switch is currently marketed at 300 or 330 euros in France depending on the merchants, and the Switch Lite is around 299 euros. With a price of 400 euros, Nintendo could create a real effect of range, while remaining cheaper than the Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5, both at 500 euros.
This would still make it one of the most expensive Nintendo consoles in its history, ahead of the Wii U premium pack at 349 euros when it was launched.
The whole stake for Nintendo would then be to keep a clear and coherent range for the general public, and to manage the production and the stock of three models in parallel.