Nintendo is planning to inject new life into the Switch to ensure the runaway sales success of its hybrid home console and handheld remains a runaway success. The updated Switch console could hit store shelves as early as Summer 2019.
The report comes via the Wall Street Journal, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the plans including suppliers. WSJ spoke to several insiders who shared that Nintendo is considering upgrades to both software and hardware. Crucially, however, these upgrades won’t prevent any kind of compatibility issues for existing games.
And before you call Nintendo crazy for upgrading the console this soon, count up the number of 3DS systems they released.
We may be looking at an upgrade to the Switch display which, as great as the system is, trails behind most modern tablets and smartphones with its lower-end LCD screen. It does boast the full sRGB gamut and exhibits decent black levels, though.
Nintendo has the option of outfitting a new Switch model with an OLED display, which has multiple benefits. Thought the report indicates that Nintendo won’t be using the same OLED panels as the iPhone X is built with, I think the option should be on the table.
From a visual standpoint, an OLED display has pixels that can turn off individually resulting in true blacks. From a manufacturing point of view an OLED display would also make the Switch itself thinner, and that’s an attractive upgrade for a handheld gaming device. Beyond that, an OLED display is more energy efficient which means longer battery life.
That would, of course, make the console more expensive. But better picture quality, longer battery life and a thinner design are very strong selling points. Is there room for a modestly upgraded Switch, followed by a “Switch Pro” similar to what Sony did with its PlayStation 4?
I’m not hearing any chatter surrounding a speed bump or improved specs for the system’s Nvidia Tegra processor, but that’s inevitable at some point during the Switch lifecycle.
The WSJ report also says Nintendo could launch the revised Switch as soon as Summer 2019, which would be roughly 2.5 years into the console’s lifecycle. With console lifespans averaging 5 to 6 years, that makes it perfect time for a mid-cycle refresh. Sony and Microsoft have both executed this strategy successfully without compromising compatibility of existing game libraries, so it’s a sensible move for Nintendo.
What else could Nintendo deliver to encourage a fresh burst of console sales and mindshare? I’ll bet money that the internal Switch storage gets doubled to 64GB. That gives Nintendo wiggle room to bump the price up by an additional $50.
It’s all speculation right now, but hearing that multiple sources in the supply chain are confirming an upgrade of some sort is encouraging.
I wonder if some people may be inspired to purchase the revised Switch and install RetroArch on their old one. . .
What’s on your wishlist for an upgraded Nintendo Switch? Let me know by reaching out on Twitter.