All fingers are starting to point to a Nintendo Switch Pro reveal coming before E3 – as soon as today, even! – with Big N then expected to release their upgraded handheld console this autumn.
So, with Nintendo expected to host an E3 edition of their Nintendo Direct, right around the of all the other livestreams during the E3 2021 window from 12-15th June, why would they go early with a new game console reveal? The understanding is that Nintendo might be toward the back of the livestream queue, with an early console announcement then freeing third parties to discuss and show their games for the upgraded hardware.
It would also mean that Nintendo can focus on their upcoming games at E3, instead of spending a lot of time talking about what a Nintendo Switch Pro would offer. Whether it’s Breath of the Wild 2, the rebooted development of Metroid Prime 4 or deeper dives into Splatoon 3 and new announcements, Nintendo are likely to have plenty to talk about next month.
Bloomberg states that the Nintendo Switch Pro will be released in September or October, with the original Switch model being phased out over time, and the Switch Lite continuing on as a lower-priced option.
Though Nintendo has been on an incredible hot streak with console sales over the last year, 2020 being the console’s best year yet, they have also noted difficulty in meeting demand through the same chip shortages that are affecting almost all consumer good right now. This could potentially limit the availability of the new console.
Recent reports (again from Bloomberg) suggest that the Switch Pro will feature a larger 7″ screen, switching from LCD to OLED panel technology, but retaining the 720p screen resolution. That might feel low, but in tandem with improved chipset in the console it would allow for more ambitious games to be played at 720p with 30fps with reasonable battery life, before ramping things up when the console is docked. Rumours also suggest that Nintendo are to use Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling technology to better accommodate 4K TV screens.
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!