The Nintendo Switch has offered much of what fans have come to expect from the Japanese console company, Nintendo Co. The unique means of play, brought from outside-the-box thinking, has long been a hallmark of Nintendo, even if that comes at admittedly less power than its console brethren. However, that may be about to change with the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro, according to industry insiders.
The Nintendo Switch has had a profitable shelf-life thus far. Switching immediately from handheld mode to television via a docking station, allows users to experience the fantastical worlds of Nintendo IP ranging from Super Mario Odyssey to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild no matter where they are in the world. This untethering comes with a few caveats, however: 720p resolution (that some titles struggle to maintain) at occasionally iffy framerates turns the unique console into one avoided by the more demanding gamers. Yet the new version of the Nintendo Switch, unofficially dubbed the Nintendo Switch Pro, could be changing this.
Industry insiders have stated that the upcoming new Nintendo Switch model will hold Nvidia tech, allowing it to use DLSS to offer upscaled resolutions. The console will be able to reproduce 4K resolution when plugged into the docking station. The technology adoption also brings a stronger chipset and further memory, yet there is a caveat that Nintendo is eyeing when making the upgrade. The new technology means that the platform is fundamentally changing; titles released prior to the console will not be able to take advantage of the new tech unless patched by developers.
This implies that many titles will maintain a 720p resolution, even on the advanced console, unless developers are willing to update the title specifically for the new iteration of the console. This could coincide with the sudden dearth of titles in the latter half of 2021, displayed on Nintendo’s website. It is plausible that developers are awaiting the newer console, rumored to release in holiday 2021, to limit the number of patches necessary. DLSS remains an Nvidia-exclusive feature, using AI to upscale renders beyond what would be possible. This change, rumored to arrive with a seven-inch screen for the Nintendo Switch, could show a fundamental shift in how Nintendo is looking at its console production.
Where Nintendo has consistently looked at its consoles as a means to bring about unique ways of play, it’s difficult to deny that the console is consistently underpowered in comparison to other consoles of the same generation. Yet it seems implausible that Nintendo is willing to forgo the same mentality that brought Nintendo Labo and the Wii nunchucks. Perhaps, Nintendo is looking at having its cake and eating it too, with creative means of play being offered in modern resolutions and framerates. Fans will need to wait for the company to make an official announcement regarding the specs of the hardware, however.