A long-awaited hardware upgrade to the Nintendo Switch could be less than a year away.
The hybrid console is living proof that portability, affordability, and classic franchises can go just as far as cutting-edge graphics. The Switch has taken the world by storm, selling more than 61 million units since its March 2017 release. It has become so popular that there’s currently an ongoing Switch shortage, and Nintendo even released a handheld-only version of the console in 2019.
Now, chatter about a souped-up Switch has re-emerged, and it could be exactly what gamers have long been hoping for.
While Nintendo has yet to say a word about its plans for the gaming system, fans have been calling this rumored upgrade the “Nintendo Switch Pro” ever since initial reports about the alleged console update were first published in 2019.
Months of reporting from legacy papers, like The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, as well as international trade publications like Nikkei and Digitimes have given gamers an idea when the Switch Pro might arrive and what improvements it’ll come with.
Most recently, a flurry of reporters and Nintendo insiders have come forward with a new swatch of alleged Switch Pro details.
Here’s everything we know about the Nintendo’s next big hardware drop:
When is the Nintendo Switch Pro release date?
The Switch Pro hasn't even been officially announced, so there's no release date yet. But Bloomberg's Takashi Mochizuki published a report on August 24, 2020 that shed some light on Nintendo's possible targeted release date window.
According to Mochizuki's anonymous sources, Nintendo plans on releasing an upgraded Switch model "next year along with a lineup of new games." That timeline would see Nintendo bow out of the holiday 2020 competition against Sony and Microsoft's next-generation console competiion, which would be in line with the company's previous Switch release.
Nintendo released the Switch on March 3, 2017 in a bit of a scramble after the abysmal reception of its previous Wii U console. That gamble paid off when the Switch became one of the company's best-selling systems and it has effectively give the company more freedom of when it can afford to release a Switch Pro.
The company could launch it on the anniversary of the Switch's release on March 3, 2021 but the original console has been selling so well that it wouldn't be surprising if the company held off on the upgrade for later in the year.
How much will the Nintendo Switch Pro cost?
The handheld only Switch Lite is $100 cheaper than the current $299 model. It’s not clear whether Switch Pro is a replacement for the original or a premium version that will be sold alongside it. Games journalist Jeff Grubb tweeted speculation on August 25, 2020 that the Switch has become so popular that the company could begin incrementally upgrading it, like Apple's iPhone, instead of wiping out the console for a brand-new design like it did moving from the Wii to the Wii U.
If it replaces the 2017 Switch, this new console could adopt the $300 price tag the console carries now, also leading to a reduction in the cost of the regular Switch. But the upgraded console 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: $199.99
- The First-Gen Switch: Currently priced at $299.99. 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 $399.99, or could take the first-gen’s place at $299.99.
Nintendo Switch Pro expected features and specs
There have been plenty of rumors claiming to reveal what Nintendo has in store for the Switch Pro, and Mochizuki's August 24 report has shed light on the two most likely improvements: 4K-docked resolution and juiced-up computing power.
An unverified 4chan posted in October 2019 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. A portion of the features mentioned were included in Mochizuki's report, so there might be something to the anonymous 4chan post.
The main takeaways from the alleged 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.
The Nintendo Switch Pro is reportedly being planned for release in 2021.