There've been whisperings that Nintendo has been working on a more powerful version of the Switch. Nintendo hasn't confirmed the existence of such a console; however, they didn't confirm the existence of the Nintendo Switch Lite or the new Nintendo Switch model for a long time either. Fortunately, there's plenty of information out there to make us think it is indeed coming.
What's new with the Nintendo Switch Pro?
Update January 31, 2020: Nintendo states it doesn't have plans to launch new console in 2020.
In a financial report that Nintendo released in late January, the gaming company stated that it has no plans to launch a new console in 2020.
Update January 6, 2020: New Nintendo Switch console might release mid-2020
According to Taiwanese electronics newspaper, DigiTimes, an updated Nintendo Switch model will be releasing sometime in 2020. This information should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, but it's possible this could be the fabled Nintendo Switch Pro.
What is the Switch Pro?
Way back in 2018, The Wall Street Journal released an article regarding future Nintendo Switch versions. The article stated that Nintendo was working on two new Switch devices. The internet has speculated that one of these devices could be a more powerful version of the Switch and dubbed it the "Switch Pro." Since then, Nintendo has revealed the new Switch model and the Switch Lite. Given Nintendo's past practices, we still think the gaming company is planning on creating more Switch versions.
If a Switch Pro is in the making, it would likely have a more powerful screen and potentially some upgraded performance abilities from the original Switch. This would make it primarily intended for hardcore gamers who are willing to spend more for an intense gaming experience.
Nintendo Switch Pro specs
According to The Wall Street Journal, Sharp will be supplying IGZO display panels to Nintendo's "new videogame machines." The thing to note about these displays is that they will offer high resolution in a thin form and consume a lot less energy, which means that the Switch battery will be able to last longer. Additionally, IGZO screens have better resolution and input than many other touch screens out there, which will enhance the gaming experience on Switch.
However, neither Nintendo nor Sharp specified which Switch models would be getting the IGZO screens. It's possible that they could be used for the fabled Switch Pro or another Switch model altogether. If it is for the Switch Pro, it wouldn't be surprising to see improved resolution abilities using Sharp's technology.
Sharp's IGZO displays will provide higher resolution and consume less energy.
The original hybrid's display only handles 1280 x 720p when in handheld mode and up to 1080p when docked while Nintendo's competitors, both PS5 and Xbox Series X, will both support 8K. It wouldn't take too much to make a new Switch model more powerful than the original. Though, it would be a significant jump to make it match up with the competition. With Sharp's technology, we could see the screen being able to reach much higher resolution. However, we likely won't get ray tracing or 8K graphics on Nintendo Switch Pro. It really all depends on what Nintendo plans on doing.
The original Nintendo Switch uses a Nvidia Tegra X1 chip that was already outdated at the hybrid console's release. It looks as though Nvidia is currently upgrading this processor, presumably for the Switch Pro or another Switch model. These upgrades could make the Switch last longer, run cooler, or even perform faster. There's also the possibility that these upgrades are mostly taking place to make it harder to hack the Switch as Nintendo has done before. We'll just have to wait and see.
That's about all we know for Switch Pro specs at the moment. Once we come upon more concrete information, we'll add it in.
Release date for the Nintendo Switch Pro
As we've said before, Nintendo hasn't officially confirmed that they even have plans for a Switch Pro model. But, if it is in the works, it would likely come out in 2021 or later. Back in January, DigiTimes reported that Nintendo will start producing a new Nintendo Switch unit in the beginning of 2020 and will release it mid-year. DigiTimes has been known to provide helpful information, but they have also been known to report falsehoods. You'll want to take this information with piles of sodium.
This is especially true since during a financial report in January Nintendo itself stated that it wouldn't be releasing a new console this year.
"Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020."
This, along with the pandemic which has caused Switch production issues makes it very likely that if a Pro Switch is in the works that it likely won't release until 2021 or later.
How will the Switch Pro fair in the console wars?
With the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X releasing this year, the rumored Switch Pro could have some serious competition during the next two holiday seasons. Obviously, Microsoft and Sony's consoles will be more powerful graphically as they can handle 4K to 8K resolution and will have incredible processing power.
The Switch's portability and lower price give it an edge.
Fortunately, the Nintendo Switch hasn't focused on graphics but rather the portable gaming experience, which is why it has done so well. This focus also helps keep the Switch the most affordable gaming system, which gives Nintendo an edge against PlayStation and Xbox. Unless Sony or Microsoft launches a super successful handheld with seriously improved graphics and frame rates over the Switch (which is highly unlikely), Nintendo should do well for itself this year.
Plus, the Switch is already the best couch co-op and multiplayer console out there given that its exclusive games can often host up to four players and sometimes up to eight. This makes it the system of choice for game nights and family activities. Plus, the ability to easily slip from single-player to multiplayer makes it a great option for families with more than one child.
Another thing the Switch has going for it is that there are plenty of highly anticipated exclusives coming to the Nintendo Switch in the near future, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, Bayonetta 3, and Metroid Prime 4. These games are sure to keep people's interest in the Switch for quite a while.
Pricing for the Nintendo Switch Pro
Given the current pricing of the various Nintendo Switch models, it's safe to assume that a Pro model would be more than $300. Our educated guess puts it somewhere between $350 and $400. To be worth it, this would need to include much higher resolution and faster loading capabilities.
What we want to see in the Switch Pro
We're huge fans of the Nintendo Switch, but even so, there are things about the console that could seriously use some improvement. Here are some of the things we're hoping to see in a Switch Pro.
No more drift: It's really quite ridiculous how many people have experienced joystick drift on their Switch or Switch Lite. Now that Nintendo has acknowledged the issue, they need to work on redesigning the Joy-Cons for future consoles so they don't have this problem anymore.
Decent battery life: Considering that both the Switch Lite and the new Switch model have significantly improved battery life, we would expect the same from a Switch Pro. It would need to at least last around 5 hours or more on average for us to be happy.
Bluetooth capabilities: Instead of requiring people to purchase an adapter in order to use Bluetooth headphones like the current Switch consoles do, I'd hope that the Switch Pro would include Bluetooth and simply allow people to listen, wire free.
Faster load times: All in all, the Switch isn't super slow with its load and download times. However, considering how fast the next generation of Xbox and Playstation consoles are going to be, avid gamers are going to want something that's somewhat comparable.
Better resolution: Considering how other gaming consoles will feature higher resolution up to 8K, you'd hope that a more intense version of the Switch would be somewhat comparable. It would be nice if it could at least support 4K resolution. Of course, the Nintendo games themselves have been formatted for lower resolution, so this might not always yield a better visual experience.
More Joy-Con colors: The bright neon colors of the current Joy-Con offerings are fun and all, but I'd really like to see more Joy-Cons of the same color. Preferably something neutral like a navy blue or deep red. If there is a Switch Pro in the works and it is intended for more serious gamers, we're assuming many of them would like the option of having a less kiddie-looking design.
Should I wait for this Switch?
The Switch Pro still hasn't been confirmed by Nintendo so we have no idea when or if it will actually be released. However, we've spent hundreds of hours playing the Nintendo Switch and would highly recommend it to any gamers.
Play handheld or on TV
With this console you can play wherever you go. There are thousands of Switch games currently available and the ability to "switch" between playing in handheld mode or on your TV makes it so you can play whichever way is more convenient.
Updated January 21, 2020: Added section about the console wars.
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