Nintendo Switch Pro: Analysts Conflicted on a 2021 Release – IGN
The Nintendo Switch is approaching its fourth year in production, but rumors of multiple Switch upgrades have dogged Nintendo since at least 2019 when multiple reports claimed Nintendo is working on new, upgraded Switch models beyond the base unit and the Switch Lite.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 that Nintendo had plans for further Switch updates to keep the life cycle of the system long, and supply chains have suggested there are plans for “improved” models with better features and screens
This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a “Switch Pro” – after all, Nintendo has already released an updated Switch SKU with longer battery life, but similar components and features as the base model.
When analysts speculate on what features a Switch Pro will, or should, include, it is typically centered on processing power and the capability to play high-resolution, or even 4K games. Analysts and observers have stressed that when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launch, Nintendo will need a more powerful device to maintain parity with third-party games and developers.
There are also additional factors that weren’t present in 2019 that should be factored into Nintendo’s future hardware plans, namely the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Both analysts and console producers at Sony and Microsoft have said the pandemic could result in hardware delays for the foreseeable future, and new software slated for 2021 is already being pushed back or delayed.
One should also take into account the tremendous success Nintendo is seeing with the current Nintendo Switch. Sales for the consoles have consistently beat expectations, and the Switch has been the best-selling console for two years straight. With this kind of momentum, some analysts don’t see a pressing need to introduce a “Pro” model.
Update 2/26: Following the Pokemon Presents in February where a new open-world Pokemon spinoff titled Pokemon Legends: Arceus was revealed, the conversations around a possible Switch Pro started trending on social media. The trailer for Pokemon Legends showcased what looks like the first truly open-world Pokemon game from GameFreak.
But commenters noted there appear to be some noticeable frame rate drops. Keep in mind the footage revealed today was labeled as in-development and is subject to change and improvement by the time Pokemon Legends is released in 2022.With that said, here are what top analysts think about the possibility of a Switch Pro in 2021.
Serkan Toto; Kantan Games – ‘I think a Switch Pro will come in the second half of 2021’
Toto, a Tokyo-based industry consultant, has been an avid proponent of a Switch Pro for years and feels that 2021 is the right time for a Switch Pro as a way to piggyback off the financial success of the current Switch model, but also to sustain sales going forward.
In 2020, the Nintendo president himself shot down the possibility of a Pro launch that year. That was in January, so Covid did not have an influence
I believe the momentum was so big already that Nintendo didn’t need a Pro model to sustain sales.
Fast forward to today, and the momentum is still there, but I think that four years after the launch of the original model, it is now indeed time for a refresh.
Nintendo doesn’t compete directly with Sony or Microsoft, but they do need third-party support and need to make sure the technological gap between the Switch and the next-gen consoles doesn’t make it too hard to create ports for the Switch.
It is also a crucial factor in prolonging the life cycle of the device: according to the Nintendo president himself, the Switch is in the middle of its life cycle now, so a new model coming soon would make sense from that perspective.
I think a Switch Pro will come in the second half of 2021, and just like the Lite was launched with a new Zelda, the Pro is likely to debut together with a blockbuster title.
One key differentiator will be 4K support: I know, nobody needs to see Pikachu in 4K, but Zelda and a bunch of other games would look so much better in higher resolution.
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