The Nintendo Switch Pro is still on the stuff of speculation at the moment. Rumors had been circulating for quite some time until they hit a fever pitch just before Nintendo’s E3 2021 showcase. While there was no Switch Pro with the specs that had been circulating, we did see the very first glimpse of the Switch OLED – an updated model with a bigger display.
With the Switch now surpassing the success of the Wii in sales figures and the console being in the middle of its life cycle, another updated model isn’t entirely out of the question. We may still see another version of Switch. It’s certainly easy to imagine how well a Switch Pro would sell. While we wait to see what the future holds and if we do ever get official confirmation, we’ve gathered together everything we know so far about the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro.
What is the Nintendo Switch Pro?
The Nintendo Switch Pro was the name being used to describe the rumored mid-lifecycle console refresh for the Nintendo Switch. While we now know the Switch OLED seems to have filled that slot, there were rumors initially pointing towards a Nintendo Switch Pro with different specs:
- 4K Dock
- Larger, full 1080p Switch display
- Increased battery life
What Nintendo Switch Pro rumors have there been?
Rumors started circulating about the Nintendo Switch Pro back in early 2019. The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) reported on the matter citing “parts suppliers and software developers for Nintendo” in March 2019, saying that the company was working on two new Switch models. The first was a “cheaper option for casual gamers”, which sounds very much like the Switch Lite we saw that same year, but the other outlined a more powerful, full HD Switch model aimed at the more hardcore market. And the gossip hasn’t stopped since.
Recent rumors included a Wcctech report (opens in new tab) where a dataminer found signs of this in the Switch’s firmware code. “The tablet itself definitely has an upgraded display,” dataminer SciresM mentions, adding that the new hardware is codenamed Aula. “I don’t know if it’s 4K. Aula has firmware support, some Realtek chip that advertises itself as a ‘4K UHD multimedia SoC’ too, hence my belief it’s 4K.”
As the dataminer clarifies afterward, it’s unsure whether this is related to the console’s chip or the dock itself. It would make more sense to see this in the dock itself, such as how the Switch currently supports resolutions higher than its native 720p HD display when docked compared to handheld mode, but there’s no certainty for the time being.
Back in August 2020, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) claimed that Nintendo was investigating a new Switch model that has not only 4K “high-definition graphics” but also more computing power. But it was in October when a report from Economic Daily News (opens in new tab) hinted that the Nintendo Switch Pro could feature Mini-LED technology, manufactured by Innolux Corporation. As well as reflecting the push towards higher resolutions, it could also lead to increased battery life, as well as improvements in the screen’s brightness and contrast, compared to the current LCD display.
In March 2021, Bloomberg (opens in new tab)reported that we could see a new 4K Switch with an OLED screen sometime before the holidays. Apparently, Nintendo called on the Samsung Display Co. to produce seven-inch, 720p-resolution OLED panels in preparation for a Christmas launch. With four years since the launch of the original, the timing feels right for an upgrade.
In May of 2021, a listing for “New Nintendo Switch Pro” reportedly popped up on Amazon Mexico, but we’ve seen retailers jump the gun with placeholder listings before. More exciting is the news from earlier this month, via the vast rumor mills of Twitter, that we will see the new Nintendo Switch Pro at E3, and we’ll be able to pre-order it too. Of course, this then turned out to be the Nintendo Switch OLED model.
What has Nintendo said about a Switch Pro?
So far, there haven’t been any official indications that Nintendo is ready to go next-gen, or indeed launch any kind of Nintendo Switch Pro just yet.
However, in a Polygon interview (opens in new tab) back in December, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser talked about how the company is always looking at technology, how it evolves and changes over time, from which upon they can start asking themselves how they can enhance and improve the gameplay experience. “And whether that’s on a current platform,” Bowser adds, “or whether that’s on a future platform, we’re always looking at that.” But he also calls the momentum on the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite fourth year “strong”, and mentions that they will “continue, for the foreseeable future, to really lean into both of those platforms and the content that comes with it.”
If the Nintendo 2DS and Nintendo 3DS have shown anything in the past, we can expect to see even more iterations of Nintendo’s hybrid console.