The Nintendo Switch proved that portability and iconic franchises can carry a console just as far as state-of-the-art graphics. Since its release in March 2017, the hybrid console has sold more than 41 million units, has spawned a handheld-only version, and rescued Nintendo from the dark days of the Wii U. Now, a long-rumored follow-up console could be just around the corner.
Sources from Nintendo’s supply chain told the Taiwanese site Digitimes a new Switch model is about to go into production. The report says the system will launch in mid-2020, but doesn’t mention how it will differ from the current versions of the console. But this isn’t the first we’ve heard about a rumored successor to the Switch.
Nintendo upgraded the console’s battery life and CPU performance in August 2019. But the unit’s barebones specs have remained exactly the same for almost three years now. That could all change in 2020.
Months of reports from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Japanese newspaper Nikkei have all suggested Nintendo is working on an upgraded Switch, which improves upon the original’s specs. The reports have sometimes contradicted one another, sometimes describing a so-called Switch Pro as a “modest upgrade” and some describing a more “premium console.” But Monday’s Digitimes news could be the through line that connects all of these previous information.
Back in April, Nikkei reported a “next-generation” Switch had been postponed. That same month, WSJ reporter Takashi Mochizuki stated that Nintendo intends to drop an additional console to join its lineup.
Could the game system that Nintendo is supposedly now producing be the next-gen Switch that Nikkei and Mochizuki were referring to?
What is the Nintendo Switch Pro release date?
Nintendo has yet to confirm its plans for a Switch Pro, but Digitimes reported the updated console will arrive mid-2020. Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser intimated to CNET that a sequel to the Switch is on the table.
Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said the company intends to sell the console “for as long as possible” during a November Q&A session. It’s unclear if he meant the original model, or other iterations of the console, but the company could release an upgrade to compete against Sony and Microsoft’s upcoming next-gen consoles.
Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will launch late in 2020. Nintendo could also get in on the action to give its biggest competitors a run for their money. That said, the company 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.
How much will the Nintendo Switch Pro cost?
The handheld only Switch Lite is $100 cheaper than the current $300 model. It’s not clear whether Switch Pro is a replacement for the original, or a premium version that will be sold alongside it.
If it replaces the 2017 Switch, it could adopt the $300 price tag the console carries now. But 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: Premium price of $400, or could take the first-gen’s place at $300.
Nintendo Switch Pro expected features and specs
Little is known about what features could be included with the reported Switch Pro. An alleged leak posted on sketchy online forum 4chan in October rattled off a suspiciously detailed list of specs, even though a full rundown of this magnitude typically isn’t available until the hardware is finalized.
At any rate, main takeaways from the leak are 4K support, double the internal storage than the original, and four USB ports compared to one on the first Switch. This means Nintendo games will look more realistic than ever. Users would also be able to download more software without worrying about a lack of storage space.
Here’s the complete list of specs the leaker claims to have revealed:
- Dimensions: 121mm x 202mm x 50.6mm
- Weight: 398g
- Connectors: 2 USB Type A ports (3.0), 2 USB Type-C ports, 2 HDMI ports, power supply socket
- CPU/GPU: NVIDIA Tegra Xavier processor (custom)
- System Memory: 64 GB solid-state drive
- Connectivity: Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 5.1
- Video Output: Standard 1920 x 1080 resolution, FullHD [60 fps], maximum Ultra HD and 4K resolution
- Audio output: Linear PCM 5.1 stereo support, and 7.1 surround
- Speakers: Stereo
- USB Ports: Type A (3.0), and Type-C
- Audio Socket: Stereo output
- Game Card Slot: Only for Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch 2 game cards
- Power Supply: AC 100 - 240 V, 50/60 HZ
If this information holds any weight, Nintendo could be trying to make up for the power the original Switch would lack compared to the PS5 and Xbox Series X. That means Nintendo fans might soon be playing iconic games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey at crisp 4K resolution.