As the Nintendo Switch moves closer to being four years old, the rumors and interest around a new enhanced console continue to grow. After a report this week claiming that an upgraded version of the hybrid machine is in development for 2021, new rumors are suggesting that the Switch Pro, as it being referred to, will potentially be far more powerful than the original Switch.
The story from Bloomberg reporter Takashi Mochizuki claims that Nintendo has been looking into 4K resolution for the Switch Pro, and into the increased computing power that would be needed to support the increased pixel count. However, the report also states that the specifications for the Switch Pro are yet to be finalized, despite recent reports claiming it will start production in early 2021. The rumors come from people reported to have been briefed on Nintendo’s strategy, but who have asked to remain anonymous due to the secretive nature of the information.
The leakers involved also claimed that Nintendo will be supporting the Switch Pro with a wide range of first party and third party games, aimed at a large breadth of players. The leaked report also speculates that the company’s focus on the new machine could be behind the quieter than expected Switch line-up in 2020. In particular, it would be surprising if The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild 2 was not planned for the console. While the report is currently just rumor, Bloomberg’s Takashi Mochizuki has correctly leaked information about Nintendo products in the past.
With the upcoming launch of the next generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X machines, Nintendo is going to face increasing competition for new sales, especially with more hardcore gamers. Aside from the cheaper Xbox Series S, the new machines are specifically aimed at 4K resolution, and the increase in computing power will make it harder for third party developers to make new titles work on the aging Switch hardware. The Switch is powered by the Tegra X1 system on a chip from Nvidia, which launched way back in mid 2015.
The potential for a more powerful version of the Nintendo Switch has been discussed by gamers since before the hybrid system even launched, but given the system’s success, it made sense for Nintendo to avoid complicating the market. However now feels like the right time for the company to bring more powerful hardware to the table. Nvidia is working on the latest iteration of its Tegra hardware, reportedly a 12 core setup based on the Ampere architecture which is used in the upcoming GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards. This would make for a very powerful portable machine, but is perhaps unlikely given Nintendo’s history of using well-established hardware to avoid expensive pricing and hardware cooling.
That said, the existing Switch is still selling so well that Nintendo keeps increasing orders for it. Which creates a strong argument that there has never been a better time for Nintendo to focus a new machine on cutting-edge portable specifications, while using the older machine to target the lower-priced end of the market.