Nintendo Switch Pro rumours have swirled for some time now, but now we’re hearing the opposite. Digital Foundry‘s John Linneman has revealed his belief that Nintendo had once made plans for a mid-generation hardware revision, but these have since been abandoned.
Way back in May 2021, Bloomberg reported that the hardware revision did exist and would enter production as early as July before it hit retailer shelves “in September or October.” More than a year has passed since that window and the model has not surfaced – which was believed to have a 7-inch OLED display from Samsung and faster graphics silicon from Nvidia capable of 4K output when docked to a TV.
“I think at one point, internally, from what I can understand from talking to different developers, is that there was some sort of mid-generation [Nintendo] Switch update planned at one point,” Linneman shared in the latest DF Direct Weekly episode.
“That seems to no longer be happening. And thus, it’s pretty clear that whatever they do next is going to be the actual next-generation hardware. I don’t think it’s going to be 2023. And I think Nintendo itself is likely very nervous about this transition, because, let’s face it, their last few transitions have not gone well. GameCube was a flop and then they had the Wii which was a huge success. But then they tried to do the Wii U and it was a miserable failure, and now they have a success again.
“How do you make that transition while keeping that audience happy and make it exciting again? Like, there’s a risk that if they just do more Switch – an enhanced Switch – it won’t necessarily get that same buzz. But if they go too far from the concept, they could alienate their fans again. I think they need to ensure that Switch games work on whatever comes next. It has to have backward compatibility, that’s not even a given at this point but I would hope so.
“There are so many decisions to make, including something as simple as the name – what the heck do you call it? There’s just a lot of problems to solve there, and I think they’re pretty nervous about doing it and this is the first launch since all the new leadership’s been in place in Nintendo so we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Back in May 2022, at the company’s financial results briefing, Nintendo was asked about how it would ensure a smooth transition to whatever its next-generation console would be.
In response, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa explained: “We have already announced some software titles that will be released through next spring. Unlike in the past, even though Nintendo Switch has gone through five years since its launch, there is still a rich lineup of new titles to be released. The biggest reason for this is that, thanks to the smooth launch of Nintendo Switch itself, we have been able to concentrate our development resources on one platform.
“On the other hand, looking back on past experiences of generational change such as the change from the Wii and Nintendo DS eras, we recognize that one of our tasks is ensuring the transition to future generations of hardware is as smooth as possible. To that end, we are focusing on building long-term relationships with our consumers (through Nintendo Accounts). While continuing to release new Nintendo Switch software for consumers to enjoy, we aim to maintain relationships across hardware generations through services that utilize Nintendo Accounts and by providing opportunities for them to experience our IP through other non-gaming channels.”