Spoiler alert: it's going to have OLED but no 4K gameplay in sight ...the Nintendo Switch OLED is finally official, costing $349 and landing this October.
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It’s so close we can almost taste it – if licking Nintendo consoles is your thing, that is. The Nintendo Switch Pro, the expected mid-gen successor to the world-beating Nintendo Switch, has been churning around the rumor mill for more than a year now, and it finally seems as if it may see the light of day.
Whispers had suggested that it may have been revealed by Nintendo as early as last week, but it never materialized. But with the big E3 2021 games show and Summer Games Fest about to take place, and third-party game developers likely keen to show off their new-and-improved Nintendo titles, it’s surely only a matter of time before Nintendo lifts the covers off its new hardware.
As you’ll know having read our Nintendo Switch Pro news and rumors hub, there’s lots that seems set in stone for Nintendo’s new machine. But there are a few burning questions we’d love to have answered. This is what we’re dying to know about the Nintendo Switch Pro.
Is 4K gaming possible on the Nintendo Switch Pro?
This is an important one. The original Nintendo Switch was already looking a little ropey when it came to max resolution support, given that the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X were offering 4K support soon after the Nintendo Switch’s reveal. Now, with the PS5 and Xbox Series X making 4K resolution the standard, the Nintendo Switch is looking positively decrepit.
Could improved internals, or a smarter dock, let the Nintendo Switch Pro target a 4K resolution? Here’s hoping – Nvidia, which makes the Nintendo Switch’s existing internal graphics wizardry, has made great strides with AI upscaling of lower-resolution games using its DLSS technology. Were it to be employed in the Nintendo Switch Pro, we could see the console hit high resolutions without the performance hit that native resolution output causes – which would be great for the lower-powered handheld mode.
Will the Nintendo Switch Pro have an OLED screen?
And while we’re on the subject of visual fidelity, how about an update to that handheld Nintendo Switch screen? Now, to be clear, we’re less concerned with getting a resolution bump in handheld mode – nice as it would be – as it’d likely require significant battery and internal spec boosts in order to reliably achieve it. When added cost is factored in, it might not be worth the trade.
But a richer, more colorful and contrasty OLED screen, more capable of avoiding sunlight glare and with improved viewing angles, would be the sort of upgrade to make us sit up and pay attention – especially if Nintendo introduces a Switch Lite Pro, too.
Will Bluetooth wireless headphones work natively on Nintendo Switch Pro?
It’s one of the key gripes with the existing Nintendo Switch; hooking up wireless headphones to the console, whether docked or in handheld mode, is a pain. There’s the 3.5mm jack for on-the-go play, but if you want to go wireless while out and about or when playing with the docked mode activated, you’re limited to a few select wireless headsets or forking out for a Bluetooth receiver to add to the Switch.
We’re hoping the Nintendo Switch Pro will introduce native Bluetooth headset support to the console, letting us pair some of the best true wireless earbuds and Bluetooth earphones up to Nintendo’s new play thing.
Are new Nintendo games going to be exclusive to Nintendo Switch Pro?
A new Nintendo Switch Pro will certainly bring with it exclusive features to games made for it, be they improved visuals, faster loading times or some other advancement that new hardware allows for. We’d also expect the console to be backwards compatible with the excellent existing Switch library of games. But will it cause a rift, a split, in what existing Nintendo Switch players can play on their machines?
If Nintendo’s new hardware is super powerful, for instance, we may see some developers target the capabilities of the new console, and drop support for the older Nintendo Switch models. Could Breath of the Wild 2 become a Nintendo Switch Pro exclusive?
It’s unlikely, given the huge number of existing customers that developers would be missing out on. But Nintendo does have history here – when the New Nintendo 3DS launched, games like Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and Fire Emblem Warriors would only run on that specific version of the handheld hardware.
It’s time Nintendo improved Nintendo Switch Online. Will it?
Nintendo Switch Online is the weakest of all the major game subscription offerings. There’s no built-in chat functionality, adding friends to your list of gaming pals requires dusty old friend codes and its list of bundled in games leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, Tetris 99 is a banger, and there’s some good SNES games to be had, but there are some classics missing, and Nintendo hasn’t really rivaled what PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass has to offer.
A new console with improved networking capabilities would go a long way to getting fans hooked on a monthly subscription, perhaps with the odd free title thrown in. And could it finally see the likes of Game Boy Advance, N64 and GameCube games added to the vault? We can but dream.
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