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Nintendo Switch 2: what we want to see from a Nintendo Switch Pro

Nintendo Switch Pro (Nintendo Switch 2)
(Image credit: TechRadar)

It’s long been rumored that Nintendo is working on a Nintendo Switch 2, or a Nintendo Switch Pro, or a New Nintendo Switch. But, even if there are plans for a follow-up to the original Switch, we know it won’t be coming in 2020 as it's been confirmed no new consoles will launch this year. 

2021, however, is looking more likely if recent reports prove to be accurate. After Nintendo released the streamlined and more affordable Nintendo Switch Lite in 2019, rumors of a premium Switch console—a Nintendo Switch Pro, if you will— offering upgraded hardware with improved graphics and processing power, began to look more credible and they're not going away. 

Nintendo says it isn’t worried about the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X which herald the start of a competitive new console generation. However, Microsoft’s foray into flexibility with mobile cloud gaming on Game Pass could potentially step on Nintendo’s toes and the development of digital-only devices like the Xbox One S All-Digital and the disc-free PS5, might prompt Nintendo to signal that it's got something new and future-focused in the works. 

Despite a lack of official confirmations, rumors persist so while we wait for more definitive answers from Nintendo, we’re going to run through the likely (and unlikely) possibilities for a Nintendo Switch 2 below.

Nintendo Switch 2 release date

Nintendo Switch Lite

Image credit: Nintendo

In 2019, Nintendo released two new Switch devices: the Switch Lite and the Nintendo Switch with improved battery life. However, we're still expecting the House of Mario to have yet another new Nintendo Switch up its sleeve.

A Wall Street Journal report has suggested that - in addition to these new devices - there's also a premium Nintendo Switch console on the way: potentially a Nintendo Switch Pro or Nintendo Switch 2. While we're taking these rumors with the requisite pinch of salt, the report did correctly predict the release of the Switch Lite, adding more weight to this speculation. But when could we see this new Switch?

Several reports claimed that we would be seeing a new Switch in 2020, however Nintendo has officially shut down these rumors. Nintendo's CEO Shuntaro Furukawa has said that there are "no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020" which is a fairly clear cut statement. 

That means we're pretty much in the dark about when a Nintendo Switch 2 might arrive but we're hoping for a release date sometime next year.

Nintendo Switch 2 price

Nintendo Switch

Image credit: Nintendo

Obviously redesigns cost money, and redesigns with improved hardware doubly so. We're fully expecting the Nintendo Switch 2 (or Switch Pro), with its updated hardware, to cost more than the current Switch's £279/ $299/AU$469 pricing. 

In addition, the Switch Lite isn't exactly cheap. The handheld Switch costs $199.99/£199.99/AU$329.95, which isn't too far off the original's price - and that's with fewer features than the original.

Dr Toto suggested a price tag of $399, which seems a good estimate. After all, the PS4 Pro is $100 more than the PS4. The price mark up takes into account the improved hardware without being prohibitive. However, this is Nintendo we're talking about, and we wouldn't be surprised to see a Nintendo Switch Pro or Nintendo Switch 2 cost a tad more than that.

  • Switch Pro: developers tell us what they want from the rumored Switch upgrade

Nintendo Switch 2 news and rumors

Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Nintendo may not have officially announced a Nintendo Switch Pro or Nintendo Switch 2, but we've gathered all the biggest news and rumors surrounding the new Nintendo Switch right here for your perusal.

Rumors of a mini-LED display

Something slightly different from the 4K rumors we've been used to when it comes to the Nintendo Switch Pro; we may see a mini-LED display replace the current LCD screen. According to a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News,  the still-rumored Switch Pro model could sport mini-LED screens supplied by Innolux, a well-known manufacturer in the field.

The current Switch and Switch Lite consoles use an HD (720p) LCD screen. If a new Switch console did have 4K capability, we imagine it'd be in docked mode, with handheld mode offering a slightly-boosted Full HD (1080p) display. Upgrading to a mini-LED display would make all of those pixels look better than before as mini-LED displays use thousands of tiny individually-controlled backlights in the glass substrate of the panel to offer a wider contrast ratio, better brightness control, deeper blacks and richer colors. It could even mean thinner and lighter product designs. There are rumors that 2021 will bring an iPad Pro 12.9 which utilises mini-LED technology, too, so it could be a technology that's on the rise. 

Devs reportedly being told to get 4K-ready

A recent report by Bloomberg has alleged that Nintendo is asking developers to make their Nintendo Switch games 4K-ready, adding weight to previous rumors that Nintendo has a resolution upgrade up its sleeve with a 4K-ready upgraded Switch console. 

Bloomberg's report most notably corresponds with a recent reports from the Economic Daily News which cited various hardware manufacturers responsible for the Switch’s Flash storage and Joy-Con controllers and claimed that a more powerful Nintendo Switch console with upgraded interactivity and improved display quality could go into production in 2021.

Reports of a new console in 2021

If a reports from the Economic Daily News  is to be believed, a more powerful Nintendo Switch console with upgraded interactivity and improved display quality could be coming next year.

The report cites various hardware manufacturers responsible for the Switch’s Flash storage and Joy-Con controllers, and says that the console could go into production by the end of 2021.

This has been backed up by a second report from  Bloomberg, which cites sources familiar with the upgraded Switch console. The report notes that the new Nintendo Switch's specs haven't been finalized yet, though it notes that Nintendo has apparently been investigating 4K visuals and more power for the new unit. 

Bloomberg's report also suggests that Nintendo is planning a bunch of new games alongside the console, which the report says is why this year has been relatively fallow for Switch releases. A new, more powerful console could certainly be good way to show off Breath of the Wild 2.

Utilizing Nintendo Switch features
In the 80th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (via VideoGamer), Nintendo stated that future consoles will harness the the Switch's unique elements and experience.

"Our current generation game system, Nintendo Switch, has entered its fourth year since launch, but its momentum is increasing," Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said. "We believe there are two factors behind this. First is the existence of two hardware configurations with different characteristics, in Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. The second factor is that Nintendo’s development resources are concentrated on developing content for a single platform, Nintendo Switch. We want to extend the life cycle of Nintendo Switch while maximising such advantages.

"From the perspective of playing with the image displayed on a TV, we believe that because consumers can play Nintendo Switch on a TV or the game console screen itself, it has greatly increased the opportunities for gameplay in various scenes in their lives, compared to previous consoles," Furukawa continued. "Through Nintendo Switch, we’ve made many discoveries about where a dedicated video game platform can fit into a consumer’s daily life. We see scenes on social media of children and their families sitting around a game console to play, which gives us a renewed sense of the value of our dedicated video game platform. We will utilise these experiences in carefully considering the form our future game consoles will take."

Dataminers have been coursing through Nintendo's firmware version 10.0.0 for information on new Switch consoles and have apparently identified codenames for the upcoming devices.

According to JershJopstin on Resetera, there are five identified codenames for Nintendo Switch models: Icosa, Copper, Hoag, Iowa, and Calcio. Here's a breakdown of what we know about their codenames so far (thanks TweakTown):

  • Icosa - Switch released at launch - nx-abca2 - 20nm Tegra X1 - 
  • Iowa - revised Switch -  nx-abca2  - 16nm Tegra X1 and 'Mariko' chip
  • Hoag - the Switch Lite - nx-abcc - 16nm Tegra X1 and Mariko chip
  • Copper - unconfirmed- nx-abcb
  • Calcio - unconfirmed - nx-abcb - 16nm Tegra X1 and Mariko chip

While Iow, Hoag and Icosa have already released, Copper and Calcio have not been confirmed to be in development. 

According to JershJopstin, Copper appears to be a non-mobile device due to its lack of battery and charging services, and the HDMI services it appears to have which would typically be handled by a Switch docking station.

Meanwhile, according to another rumor, Calcio will apparently be a docked-only, more traditional console.

In addition, JershJopstin has suggested that this Calcio console could be digital-only due to its apparent lack of support for game cards and new naming form factor.

However these rumors should be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism until we get confirmation from Nintendo.

Possible dual-screen
A dataminer has dug into the new Nintendo Switch version 10.00 firmware and found hints that it adds preliminary support for a new Switch model - nx-abcd  - one with a secondary display, possibly a dual-screen like the Nintendo DS. This is the same dataminer who previously uncovered that Nintendo was working on a revised - what turned out to be longer battery-life Switch - from firmware version 9.0.0. However, this should still be treated with skepticism.

This is a different form factor from the Switch codenames we've seen before, with Resetera user suggesting we may see a different type of Switch device altogether - not handheld or docked.

Nintendo isn't worried about the next console generation
2020 isn't the year of a new Nintendo Switch console, but it is the year that Sony and Microsoft launch the next generation of consoles: the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Nintendo, however, isn't worried about catching up. Talking to investors during a Japanese Q&A (via VGC), Nintendo's president Shuntaro Furukawa said that while the gaming landscape will change, the company doesn't think the release of these next-gen consoles will have a big impact on its own fortunes.

“We do not believe that the business trends of other companies will have a significant impact on our business,” Furukawa told investors, explaining that the reason Nintendo is so confident that the PS5 and Xbox Series X won't pose huge competition is because the Nintendo Switch targets a different audience.

While this doesn't tell us a whole lot about any specific new console plans Nintendo has, it does suggest that the company isn't feeling any great hurry or pressure from its supposed competitors to release, or even announce, a Nintendo Switch Pro in the immediate future. 

No 4K or performance upgrades? - Debunked
On Korean site Clién's community forums (via Wccftech), a poster named Cathedral Knight claimed that the Switch Pro will launch in Q4 2020 but will not boast 4K and upgraded performance as expected.

Instead of moving to an upgraded version of Tegrax1 +GPU, the post claims Nintendo will work with Nvidia to create a custom processor based on Volta. In other words, not much will actually improve with the Switch Pro, it may just be a little faster.

However, Nintendo has since shut down rumors that a new Switch will release in 2020 - meaning we can probably assume the claims about performance are also untrue.

Production rumored to start as soon as April - Debunked
A report by Taiwan newspaper DigiTimes claimed that mass production on a new Switch will start "at the end of first-quarter 2020"- with the console itself releasing in mid-2020. However, as we've pointed out, Nintendo has ruled out a 2020 release date.

No Switch Pro in 2019
At a press briefing for the announcement of the Switch Lite, Nintendo president Doug Bowser revealed that we wouldn't be seeing another new Switch model in 2019, according to CNET.

"[The Nintendo Switch Lite will] be the only new Nintendo Switch hardware this holiday, as Bowser says the larger Switch won't get an upgrade right now," CNET wrote.

However, Bowser's comments suggested an upgraded Switch model is on the way, perhaps a Switch Pro?

Nintendo Switch Lite

Image credit: Nintendo (Image credit: Nintendo)

Two new Nintendo Switch devices
A Wall Street Journal report suggests that Nintendo is working on two individual Switch variants that, rather than making the current Nintendo Switch obsolete, would put it in the middle of a range growing to suit all budgets.

According the publication's sources, the first of these new devices will be aimed at budget gamers, and will see the Switch presented in a more traditional handheld-first format. It'll replace removable Joy-Cons with fixed ones, and ditch their HD Rumble feature in order to bring costs down. This was confirmed with the announcement of the Nintendo Switch Lite.

The second new version of the Nintendo Switch, going by the rumor, is a little harder to pin down, but would be a premium version of the console with "enhanced features targeted at avid videogamers." That's not to suggest it would be aiming for 4K or HDR visuals, but would more likely have features and services baked in that would accommodate the modern obsession with streaming to platforms like Twitch. 

The confirmation of the Switch Lite adds some weight to this report and could mean we will see another new premium Switch console at a future date.

The 5.0 firmware dig
Though the Nintendo Switch’s 5.0 firmware update wasn’t up to much on the surface, hackers on Switchbrew dug into the upgrade in 2019 and found evidence which suggests a hardware refresh is in the works. 

Switchbrew discovered references to a new T214 chip (which would be a small improvement on the current T210) as well as an updated printed circuit board and 8GB of RAM instead of the current 4GB. This T214 is likely what was used in the Switch Lite and improved battery Switch, but we're expecting a Switch Pro to have even further hardware improvements that will push the devices overall performance.

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite (Image credit: Nintendo) (Image credit: Nintendo)

AR and VR support
VR and AR support for the Switch never looked likely, with the MD of Nintendo France citing a lack of mainstream appeal for the technology back in 2018, but the Labo VR Kit shows Nintendo has changed its mind about the viability of VR.

The Switch doesn't have the high resolution of most VR gaming rigs, so we could see an advanced model with 2K or 4K resolution to improve those close-up VR experiences. However, given the VR Kit is still focused mainly on children, we'd be surprised to see a visual overhaul simply for this one peripheral.

What about 3D?
Another Nintendo patent came to light in early 2019: this time for a 3D sensor array that sits above your television, and creates a stereoscopic image in a similar way to the 3DS, meaning you wouldn't even need glasses.

3D visuals felt like a passing gimmick even with Nintendo's handheld consoles – and the defunct Microsoft Kinect camera will no doubt keep it wary of unnecessary TV peripherals. But getting convincing 3D imaging on standard 2D TVs may the step needed to bring 3D gaming mainstream.

Could it support 4K?
While Sony and Microsoft push at the 4K market, there isn’t really any big reason for Nintendo, the company that staunchly sets itself apart from other hardware producers, to follow suit. 

In the same interview where he dismissed VR, Nintendo France General Manager Philippe Lavoué also brushed off 4K saying that the technology has “not been adopted by the majority” and it would, therefore, be too early for Nintendo to jump in. 

Nintendo didn’t enter the HD console market until 2012 when it released the Wii U. This was around four years after Sony and Microsoft and at the point when more than 75% of US households actually had HD displays in their home. 

Miyamoto however has said he wished Nintendo had done the jump to HD sooner than this, saying that the display technology became popular around three years before Nintendo expected it to. It's expected that by 2020, 50% of US households will have adopted 4K technology and it might be at this point that Nintendo decides to join the 4K fray, rather than waiting until the 75% market saturation of before.