Nintendo fans have high hopes for the anticipated Switch Pro, but it’s unclear if this next-gen console is actually real. Rumors about it keep mounting, and it seems likelier by the day that Nintendo is working on a new Switch model meant to compete with the powerful PS5 and Xbox Series X. Fans have already spent lots of time debating about how a new Switch can compete with these consoles, and a few possibilities are clear. Fans want more processing power, of course, so that the Switch Pro can handle more taxing games than the vanilla Switch, but fans would also like to see some graphical enhancements out of a new console. A new development at Samsung may have unexpectedly pointed in that direction.
Last January, tech giant Samsung announced new branding for its OLED products. In that announcement, Samsung also talked about some types of devices it wants to start using its OLEDs in, and included video game consoles in that list. At a glance, that seems odd, since most game consoles don’t have screens that would benefit from OLEDs—but the Switch does. It’s plausible that Samsung is subtly telling Nintendo fans that Samsung OLEDs will be used in the Switch Pro, which lines up with some recent rumors that Samsung is supplying Nintendo with OLED screens for the highly anticipated hybrid console.
OLEDs would be a pretty big plus for the Nintendo Switch Pro, because in OLED screens, organic molecules in each pixel can emit a wide range of light depending on the amount of current that’s supplied to each pixel. The flexibility of OLED pixels results in a huge contrast between the super-dark black and bright white that they can emit, which means really sharp image quality. The biggest downside to OLEDs is the risk of burn-in, where images remaining on screen too long temporarily or permanently burn into the screen, leaving shadowy afterimages. However, in video games, players are constantly going into menus, traveling across diverse landscapes, and so on. The constant changing of screens means OLEDs are great for video games.
Of course, not every video game lover can invest in an OLED TV just to use it with a new game console. That’s why it’s great that the Switch has its own screen built in. If these rumors are true, then the Switch Pro will allow fans to enjoy OLED quality without looking for a second device to pair the console with. Of course, players won’t get anything out of the OLEDs while the Switch is docked, but the Switch Pro can make up for that in rendering power. If the Switch Pro runs in 4K resolution while docked, as many fans hope it will, it’ll handily make up for OLEDs being a handheld-only feature.
Samsung’s announcement pairs well with new rumors emerging from publications like Bloomberg, who claim to have heard from Nintendo insiders that Nintendo has struck a deal with Samsung to supply OLED screens for a new model of the Switch. If those rumors are to be believed, then Samsung’s new OLED branding and trademark protection filings in Japan probably indicate that it really is collaborating on the Switch Pro.
If that’s the case, fans have learned quite a bit about the Switch Pro thanks to Samsung. For one thing, Nintendo seems determined to make improvements specific to the Switch’s handheld mode, including a focus on graphics. For another, it seems like the Switch Pro actually will be usable in handheld mode. Fans have been speculating for some time that it’d be console only in order to have the processing power it needs to compete with the PS5 and Xbox Series X. However, it’s something of a relief to know that the Switch might not be abandoning the unique design that made it famous. As leaks and theories like these become increasingly common, hopefully Nintendo comes forward with a proper Switch Pro announcement soon.