We have heard reports of an improved “Nintendo Switch Pro“, Which is supposed to display games in 4K resolution, among other things. On Tuesday morning, Nintendo surprised everyone with it finally unveil their next Nintendo Switch model, and although there are indeed improvements, aren’t quite what the internet was hoping for. There are no increased memory or a new CPU. But it’s worth asking: does the Switch really need a powerful 4K version right now?
Well, the existence of the OLED switch does not preclude the announcement of a future, more powerful switch. Historically at least, Nintendo tends to release different versions of its portable hardware, which makes it likely that in due course we’ll see something beyond a bigger screen and improved audio.
But if you look at the same proven product strategy, it reveals a fundamental truth: Nintendo can absolutely only sell a larger version of a handheld and do it well. Check out the Nintendo 3DS, a successful system that has sold a million copies. Yes, there was the New Nintendo 3DS, which was more powerful than the base 3DS, but there was Likewise a Nintendo 3DS XL, together with a New 3DS XL. At first glance, “this is a 3DS, but this time the screen is bigger” sounds silly, but guess what? I have a. In fact, a New 3DS XL is exactly what I play these games on when I feel the itch to pull it out again.
Before that, there was the first Nintendo DS, the best-selling handheld of all time. That too had an XL version that reportedly sold a few million. So while the OLED switch is imminent compared to what has been claimed in previous reports, it might not come as a surprise. Nintendo has a playbook, and it largely sticks to it.
And really, what exactly would the Switch use 4K anyway? to the? Sure, the specs sound good on paper, but the reality is that for the most part Nintendo doesn’t produce high-fidelity games that require that kind of resolution. This is not a dig; Nintendo simply tends to create stylized games that don’t require intense graphic output. Yes, some games are reaching the limits of what the Switch can do, especially when it comes to ports. A more powerful system would definitely have been nice. Most times? The switch works the way it is now.
Nintendo has little incentive to play around with the formula until there is a risk of falling sales, which doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. Plus, your average gamer is unlikely to be hooked on their Ultra HD TV – they’ll likely enjoy the game on the go, as that’s the Switch’s biggest draw right now. Although I have an OG Switch that can output at 1080p, these days I mainly play my Lite which can only output at 720p. When I have the opportunity, I like to take the less powerful one, simply because it’s more convenient. Nintendo knows its users aren’t looking for performance or graphics: if that’s what you want, play on the Xbox or PS5 instead. When people are in the market for their first switch or considering an upgrade, just a “bigger screen” may be all they need to hear. It certainly worked for the cell phone industry.
Even so, I’m still stunned that we’re not even getting better battery life or improved Joy-Cons. Without fear of the constant Joy-Con drift, the price alone would have been worth it. But hey, at least Metroid horror will apparently sound good?