Nintendo Switch Pro: Release Date, Price, Features, for an Evolved Switch

What's next in Nintendo's masterplan?

nintendo switch video game console

Though it improves upon the original Switch in some respects like battery life, the Nintendo Switch Lite announced Wednesday in a surprise video announcement isn’t necessarily an upgrade. It won’t connect to the TV, for one.

Because it jettisons some Switch features, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser intimated to CNET during a Wednesday interview the Lite isn’t meant to be a second generation Switch, indicating instead that the two devices will “complement” and co-exist with one another.

Nintendo Switch

Bowser also walked back some expectations that another Switch besides the Lite was already in development.

That’s interesting, because months of reports from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Japanese newspaper Nikkei have all report on an upgraded Switch which improves upon the original’s specs. Nikkei’s leak record is a bit spotty, and reporters at from WSJ and Bloomberg sometimes contradict one another, sometimes describing a so-called Switch Pro as a “modest upgrade” and some describing a more “premium console.”

The details are murky, but digging into the known facts after the Lite reveal may provide some insights into what Nintendo has planned next year.

Nintendo Switch Pro: Release Date

Nintendo has yet to officially confirm that a Nintendo Switch Pro could see the light of day. Bowser’s interview suggests that it would be announced in 2020 at the earliest.

A June 12 WSJ report cited sources said that not one but two devices have already entered production, the Lite and a second. But that conflicts with an earlier, translated version of a April 16 Nikkei report stating that the Switch upgrade had been “postponed.” Bowser’s comment throws another wrench into an already confusing timeline. A late 2020 debut is still possible, though unlikely.

Both Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Project Scarlett consoles are expected to launch in the fall of 2020. Nintendo could also join the next-generation console cycle to give its biggest competitors a run for their money. But Nintendo has a track record of diverging from the industry in launch timing.

The original Switch launched on March 2017, months after the PS4 Pro launch and Xbox One S were released in mid-to-late 2016. So it’s possible that Nintendo will follow its own timeline with the Switch Pro as well.

nintendo switch lite
What could be next?

Nintendo Switch Pro: Price

The Switch Lite is $100 cheaper than the current $300 model. Depending on whether the Switch Pro turns out to be a replacement for the original or a premium version that will be sold alongside it remains to be seen.

If it replaces the 2017 Switch, it could adopt the $300 price tag the console carries now. But it’s possible that it could be priced anywhere from $50 to $100 more to account for improved specs and features.

The lineup could end up looking something like:

  • The Switch Lite: $200
  • The First-Gen Switch: Currently priced at $300. This could see a discount, remain the same price, or be discontinued depending on Nintendo’s plan for the Pro.
  • The Switch Pro: No less than $300, which could the first-gen’s place at $300 or replace it.
nintendo switch

Nintendo Switch Pro: Expected Features and Specs

Little is known about what features could be included with the reported Switch Pro. But a handful of leaks regarding the potential internals of the new Switch has provided some hints.

Currently, the Switch uses an Nvidia Tegra processor system-on-chip, which bundles its CPU, graphics processor, and memory on one board. The Verge, Eurogamer, and internet sleuths have gathered evidence about an upgraded version of the Nvidia Tegra that could power a future Switch model.

These upgrades will be enough to support some notable improvements. Expect double the random access memory (RAM) to reduce load times, improved battery life, and boosted graphics performance, if the reports are true. Nintendo would also be wise to boost its graphics, a notable shortcoming for the original console.

nintendo switch

The Switch can output up to 1080p resolution through a connected dock, but this drops to just 720p when undocked and you are playing on-the-go using the 6.2-inch touchscreen. Its portability is a key selling point versus the PS4 and Xbox One, but the screen’s low pixel density of 237 dots per inch pales in comparison to what smartphones and tablets can offer, which start at around double that density.

It’s still early to say for sure what an upgrade Switch could bring with it. But information about a Switch device that clearly isn’t the Lite has leaked enough to suggest it’s in development. If that’s the case, past history suggests it will launch the spring after the rest of the consoles drop in fall 2020.