Switch Pro, how should the new Nintendo console be?

Switch Pro, how should the new Nintendo console be?

Switch Pro

With four years on its shoulders, Nintendo Switch should feel the weight of age. The sales, however, prove anything but, in fact the console is depopulating all over the world, far exceeding the other competitors. A particular situation therefore for Nintendo, which on the one hand sees the most demanding players request a revision of the Switch, while many other new buyers would like their console to be supported for several more years. So what will happen in this 2021, the year in which the much acclaimed "Switch Pro" should be released? Just as the competition did during the last generation of Playstation and Xbox, we expect an enhanced console from Nintendo as well. This would certainly not be new for the Japanese company, which in the past had accustomed us to various revisions such as the Nintendo 3DS. Today we will go to see why Nintendo is delaying so much before announcing the mid-gen wait and what features and what the Switch Pro will have to be like to be truly palatable to the public.

Switch in 2021

Nintendo's hybrid console reached around 80 million units sold at the end of 2020. A truly impressive figure for the Switch, which is literally dominating the global console market in terms of sales. Several announced video games have yet to hit shelves, so the Nintendo Switch lifecycle appears to be far from over. In short, the console is enjoying excellent health and Nintendo undoubtedly wants to ride the wave as long as it continues to register this interest and these mind-boggling numbers.

In this highly successful context, there is undoubtedly a more demanding segment of the public who, seeing the next generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony, along with important updates for the PC hardware market, has begun to feel a heavy aging of their Switch. Let's be clear, Nintendo never wanted to compete with Playstation and Xbox, in fact its hybrid console was already much less powerful than its competitors at launch. We cannot deny, however, that in these four years since the announcement of Nintendo Switch, several rather concrete needs related to a hardware update of the console have not appeared. There is room for improvement and it would be possible to bring an improved hybrid console to the market, without overly distorting the nature of the device. Gamers do not require hardware that can compete with Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, well aware that this will not be possible in the short term.

What you need is a machine with a few key improved features, such as an OLED screen with 1080p resolution, a more compact and lightweight design, improved battery life and a dock station capable of supporting video output in 4K. All wrapped up in a package at the same launch price as the first Nintendo Switch, with the consequent price drop of the current version. We can say that they would be quite reasonable technical specifications for 2021. The Nintendo Switch screen was already criticized at launch for its abundant bezels, a resolution of 720p and certainly deserves an update in 2021. Even the design of the console, while loved for its hybrid nature, is rather bulky and there is room for improvement from this point of view. The same battery could be improved to ensure greater autonomy even in the most complex titles. Finally, the 4K video output from the dock station is now necessary given the widespread use of TVs with this resolution.

Is the game not worth the candle?

Nintendo is perfectly aware of these needs of its users and is certainly already planning something for the future. In the same way, with the approach of the 100 million units sold worldwide, it certainly cannot abandon this user overnight. The added power of a hypothetical Switch Pro could really bring some fresh air and improve performance in many titles, but the same games should also support the less powerful console released four years ago. Just as happened with Playstation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, when developers found themselves in difficulty having to readjust their creations for two machines with different computing power. The risk is therefore not to see notable improvements with the Pro version of Switch, but rather slight tweaks in performance such as resolution and in-game frame rate.

If on the one hand both a slice of the public and the developers would like more computing power to be able to have more complex video games on the Switch, on the other hand there is the need to also support the old hardware by now widely spread all over the world. This will likely prevent the arrival of new cross-gen ports like the recent Doom Eternal, or a general improvement in quality in complex titles like the follow-up to The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. Switch Pro will therefore become a console dedicated to a more demanding audience, who will want to play, for example, Monster Hunter Rise with a higher resolution and frame-rate. However, it cannot be excluded that most Nintendo Switch owners are not part of this category of gamers, so the company does not yet see the need to bring this console to the public. There is therefore the risk of having to design and produce a console that may not sell as much as hoped or certainly less than the current version already available on the market. It would probably be an interesting addition for the most passionate gamers, but perhaps as they say "the game is not worth the candle".

Alternative solutions

There would then be alternative solutions to which it could think Nintendo. Both have already appeared in some patents recently filed by the company, even if this is not enough to confirm their arrival on the market. These solutions would solve the Nintendo Switch computing power problem, each using a different method. For the first we talk about the use of streaming, then with the console connected to servers in order to receive the video signal of the game at a higher resolution. When you connect the console to your TV where you need 4K video output, you typically also have an internet connection. Thanks to the latter, the console could neglect the computing power of its processor and rely completely on servers dedicated to cloud gaming.

Another possible solution instead would be to sell exclusively a dock station equipped with a processor graphic capable of upscaling video in 4K. Being Nintendo in close relationships with Nvidia, they could jointly create a custom processor that can work exclusively for this, taking advantage of Nvidia's popular proprietary DLSS technology in particular. In this way the most demanding gamers could buy this dock station to increase the performance of their console when connected to a TV. The price of a similar accessory could be around € 100-150 and would probably be quite successful even if it is not a completely new console.


It is not easy to predict what will happen with Nintendo Switch in the near future. We know that the Japanese company at the moment does not feel any pressure to have to launch a "Pro" version of Switch on the market, given the really important numbers. There is therefore still time to produce excellent video games and squeeze the current hybrid console to the last bit of power. In the future, other possible solutions will probably emerge to make a console of this type more performing, such as the arrival of 5G which could act as an important link for cloud gaming. Even Nvidia and its recent acquisition of ARM will undoubtedly have new hardware solutions for the future of portable devices. In the same way, once all the video games promised for this generation of consoles have been released, Nintendo could directly opt to launch a Switch 2, thus making a significant leap forward in terms of power to give more freedom to developers and start a new cycle of sales, hoping to achieve the same success as the current Nintendo Switch.

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