Fresh reports of the Nintendo Switch Pro have emerged that give us some hints as to what the upgraded console will look like and its enhanced capabilities. Per Bloomberg, the Nintendo Switch Pro will feature a new Samsung-built 7 inch OLED display, with production of the display to start as early as June, suggesting a Switch Pro release date in Fall 2021 once they’ve built up supply of several million units.
The downside to all of this is that the new Samsung display will come with the same 720p resolution as the current Nintendo Switch at 6.2″ and Nintendo Switch Lite at 5.5″. However, it will help to keep prices down with a cheaper “rigid” OLED panel that’s closer in design to the panels found in TVs than in ultra-thin smartphones. The OLED display could also help keep down the draw on the device’s battery.
While 720p might feel like a low resolution, there is method to the madness. High-end games for the original Nintendo Switch typically struggle to maintain a 720p resolution and steady 30fps frame rate, and so even with a more powerful chipset built into the Nintendo Switch Pro, the focus in handheld mode could be to steady performance at that level for more ambitious titles. It would also mean that games can look at their best rendering at native resolution instead of upscaling to 900p or 1080p.
However, it is expected that the Nintendo Switch Pro will be able to output natively at 4K when docked, with the Switch Pro having a higher power mode similar to the original Nintendo Switch. Currently the Nintendo Switch outputs at 1080p, but with ever-increasing shipments of 4K TVs, it is expected that the Switch Pro could offer games the ability to run at higher resolutions and then combine this with Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling technology to reach 4K.
The Nintendo Switch just celebrated the fourth anniversary of its 3rd March 2017 release, with the console proving to be a huge success for Nintendo after the high-profile failure of the Nintendo Wii U. The console has sold at a rapid pace, with the more recent milestone seeing it pass 79.87 million units, and that pace is likely to carry on through 2021. Even an average Q4 for the Switch would see it surpass the Game Boy Advance, which has 81.51 million sales, and there’s a string of major new and upcoming game releases, including Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Bravely Default II, and Monster Hunter Rise.
A higher-powered Nintendo Switch has long been rumoured. Speculation was initially that Nintendo would release both the Switch Lite and a Switch Pro in 2019, though in the end they only released one new model (and revised the internals of the original Switch design for better battery life). Naturally, analysts then shifted their expectations to 2020 and speculated that Nintendo would boost their hardware power to counter the launch of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. However, Nintendo completely ruled out a Nintendo Switch Pro release in 2020.
Compared to the statement that they would not make an announcement “anytime soon” from a financials report in February, Nintendo has left the door wide open for a Nintendo Switch Pro reveal and release in 2021. Watch this space!