There have been months of rumours surrounding Nintendo Switch and whether a new Switch Pro model will be released this year. Now supply chain links have crystallised this speculation. So what can we expect?
Nintendo Switch – the rumours
Nintendo hasn’t officially confirmed anything yet. However, the industry has been talking about the possibility of a new Switch Pro model since last summer.
The Switch Lite launched in 2019, and it seemed unlikely that anything new would be released in the product cycle so shortly after.
This Lite model offers a wider range of price point for Nintendo gamers, with a smaller 5.5″ screen size. Nintendo removed the kickstand and created the Lite specifically for handheld play. The console comes in 0.61lbs as compared to the 0.88lb weight of the original with the controllers attached.
The Lite controllers are built-in rather than having the detachable Joy-Con controllers as in the Nintendo Switch.
So now Nintendo Switch has released a smaller, lighter, Lite model, the industry has been waiting for the upgrade – a Switch Pro.
I reported in Aug 2019: “Nintendo has ideas for further updates to the Switch lineup after those two models to make the platform’s lifecycle long”
DigiTimes on Jan 6: “Nintendo is reportedly planning to release in mid-2020 a new model of Switch”https://t.co/giypufcW4A
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) January 6, 2020
Digitimes reports that Nintendo is ‘planning to launch a new Switch model in mid-2020, with volume production for the new device beginning in first-quarter of this year‘.
This information comes from the ‘related upstream supply chain’. This lends credibility to the speculation.
When Nintendo released a newer version of the flagship Switch last year with a larger battery, this dampened hopes of a Pro model. The newer version can accommodate up to nine hours of battery life. This compares to six and a half hours on the original model.
The capacity was achieved with an improved NVIDIA custom Tegra X1 processor. The battery remains the same 4,310mAh as before.
What to expect
We’re working on rumours and analysts’ guesses as to when the next model in the product cycle will be released.
However, looking at innovations in competing consoles and new game releases is as good a way as any to anticipate what we might see from a Switch Pro.
We would assume that a Switch Pro will be the opposite of the Switch Lite, and be created with a more powerful screen. It has been reported that Sharp ‘will be supplying IGZO display panels’ to Nintendo’s new machines. We don’t know which machines this refers to, but it could well be for the Switch Pro.
The Sharp tech would produce a much higher image resolution, that serious gamers would be looking for from a Pro console.
Currently, the Switch has a comparatively low resolution, with 1280 x 720 res when in handheld mode. This compares to the 8K supported by PS5 and Xbox Scarlett so whilst it would be quite a leap in the specification, Nintendo has a lot of scope here to introduce some significant upgrades.
Other possibilities are to introduce a new, much more powerful processing chip to replace the NVIDIA Tegra X1. This would mean the Pro could run a lot longer, faster or at cooler temperatures for an improved gaming experience.
One thing is for sure – the console wars are raging on. If Nintendo wants to step up to the plate with a Switch Pro, it will need to be something special.