At a recent investor meeting, Nintendo reiterated that they have no plans to announce a new variant of the Nintendo Switch hardware anytime soon. While there are some limited-edition tie-in consoles coming soon, like the all-red Mario Switch and the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise Switch, there are apparently no plans for a hardware refresh.
Many fans have speculated for months that a “Switch Pro” would come along around midway through the Switch’s life cycle. However, the console is now nearly four years old, and, entering its fifth year, showing no signs of slowing.
While the aging console remains popular, some industry insiders speculate that sales will dip as Microsoft and Sony’s new consoles sort out their stock issues.
A Switch Pro?
The Nintendo Switch is, admittedly, doing a lot with pretty outdated hardware. Even when it launched, the system was far from state of the art.
The LCD screen would be considered low-end for a dedicated tablet. It only displays 720p images in handheld mode, and struggles to make 1060p images run at 60 frames per second. The Tegra chipset in the tablet is far from cutting-edge, and, while flexible, is not terribly powerful.
All of this has contributed to fan hopes that a stronger, more modern Switch would be on the way at this point in the console’s life. If Nintendo plans to support the system for the average length of time for a console generation, then this is nearly the exact midpoint in its shelf life.
So, is there any evidence that Nintendo could be cooking up a beefier Switch?
Nintendo Loves Handheld Console Iterations
Nintendo has always loved doing mid-generation refreshes with their handheld systems. The GameBoy got the Color upgrade in the late 90s, nearly a decade after the original GameBoy dropped. The GameBoy Advance got the much-improved SP update, introducing the cellphone-like recharging battery and the now-standard backlight.
The DS got the DS Lite and then the DSi, both of which greatly improved upon the original’s form factor.
The 3DS got a slew of hardware spin-offs, including the poorly-named “New 3DS,” which had more powerful hardware under the hood. Even the Switch has already received a revision: the Switch Lite, a smaller, handheld-only system that retails for $100 less than the big version of the system.
As such, it’s not outlandish to imagine Nintendo has something with a bit more oomph in store for their extremely popular new system.
In 2020, Nintendo confirmed they had no plans to announce a new system that year. Recently, their exact words were that they didn’t plan to announce new hardware “any time soon”.
Many have read into this to mean that the company could be planning to announce the system for holiday 2021, intending to pair it with the hotly-anticipated Breath of the Wild 2.
However, this is all just speculation. There is a real possibility that the Switch’s entire life cycle comes and goes without any hardware upgrades. If that were the case, though, I’d be surprised.
No upgrades at all would be bizarre, considering the company’s history of rolling out revisions for their systems. Time will tell what they have in store for the future of the popular hybrid console.