It has long been speculated that Nintendo would bring a more powerful version of its Switch hybrid console to market. As the rumors persisted last year we kept hearing that two new versions were in the works: a more powerful one (dubbed the Switch Pro by the speculators) and a handheld-only iteration (dubbed the Switch Mini at the time). As we all know by now, the Switch Mini morphed into a real product with the September 20, 2019 release of the Switch Lite.
The prior month Nintendo quietly upgraded its existing Switch console with slightly lower power consuming chips, which gave the machine a longer battery charge. Some thought that maybe wires were crossed and that this machine was what was actually in the works and that a more powerful “Pro” console was never being developed. Others stood by their insider information insisting that Nintendo would still release a more powerful Switch in the near future. In fact, just recently Dr. Serkan Toto predicted:
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Nintendo will launch a “Switch Pro” in 2020, my guess is at $399. More specifically, I predict 4K support, bigger cartridge sizes, and of course beefed-up components. I also think the device will launch after the summer holidays to counter the roll-out of the PS5 and next-gen Xbox later in the year – along with a first-party, system-seller game.
Flash-forward to today and now DigiTimes is reporting that Nintendo’s new Switch will enter mass production at the end of this quarter (around March, 2020). In fact, they claim Nintendo will release the new version of the Switch sometime this summer and that it will feature several upgrades. The CPU will apparently be more powerful and the actual body of the system will be made out of magnesium alloy instead of plastic. They claim that sources from the supply chain have confirmed these details and the timeline.
It should be noted that DigiTimes has a spotty track record when it comes to Nintendo leaks. That doesn’t mean this one isn’t true, and indeed some insiders still insist the Switch Pro (or whatever it will be called) is on track for release this year. This logically makes sense, as Nintendo might want to have a more powerful system on store shelves in time for the arrival of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, both scheduled to arrive during Holiday 2020. One can only imagine that third party developers already creating software for the more powerful machines may have increasing difficulties in porting games to the Switch going forward. However, if Nintendo is able to release a machine that is more capable then perhaps they won’t be left lacking ports from the next generation of consoles.
Nintendo is no stranger to upgrading their machines mid-cycle. We saw it happen with the DSi, which added a more powerful processor and the ability to purchase games from an online shop. Later Nintendo upgraded the 3DS to the New 3DS – again with a more powerful CPU and games that only ran on the new iteration. However, in both of those examples the upgrades were very modest and only a few games required the upgrade to play. Heck, we even had something similar way back on the Nintendo 64 with the Expansion Pak, which added some much needed RAM for higher resolution textures. The question might not be if Nintendo is going to release a more powerful Switch, but whether or not the upgrade will be substantial like those seen with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
No matter what, 2020 will be infused with new hardware and it’s an exciting time to be a gamer! Here’s hoping the Switch Pro is real and delivers a big upgrade to the performance of the platform. When it comes to Nintendo, you never quite know what to expect.
To further add on this (article requires a subscription):
Digitimes claims the new Switch will come with a magnesium alloy body (instead of plastic).
Another claim is that the device will come with a better CPU.
Note that Digitimes has a mixed track record WRT Nintendo. https://t.co/XLclA70wDI
— Dr. Serkan Toto / Kantan Games Inc. (@serkantoto) January 6, 2020