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Nintendo Switch Pro could still happen — here's why

Nintendo Switch (OLED model)
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo finally unveiled its much rumored Nintendo Switch OLED model in a surprise announcement, offering improved features including a sizeable 7-inch OLED display panel and enhanced audio. 

But where's the 4K capabilities? Where is the dramatic performance upgrade thanks to new silicon? They are nowhere to be seen, which has driven some disappointed reactions.

Originally, the Nintendo Switch OLED wasn't just generating hype about a better screen, but the company was also looking to use an upgraded Nvidia chip to boost graphics and performance, and to deliver 4K resolution when docked. 

That's not what the new OLED model delivers. In fact, as Nintendo’s manager of product marketing JC Rodrigo will tell you on Twitter (via TechRadar), it's better to stick with the original Switch if you're not "digging the screen." 

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We do, however, get a new wide adjustable stand that is completely adjustable for its Tabletop mode, a new dock with a wired LAN port for better internet connectivity, 64 GB of internal storage, and enhanced audio. Oh, and a swanky white color variant akin to Sony's PS5.

While the OLED Switch may not run Monster Hunter Rise or the hugely anticipated Breath of the Wild 2 any better than the previous models, including the Nintendo Switch Lite, gamers who often play Switch games in handheld or tabletop mode will certainly see visual improvements. At a $349.99 price point — $50 more than the original Switch — sale numbers will decide whether Nintendo was right to think the OLED handheld would spike Switch sales in 2021.

(Image credit: Nintendo)

That said, the Nintendo Switch OLED model seems likely to fly off shelves once it's available on October 8, especially for fans of handheld gaming devices like the truly ahead of its time PlayStation Vita. With pre-orders now live at various retailers, the updated console could even go through shortages thanks to the ongoing global semiconductor crisis.

For those who normally play their Switch in TV mode? There's hardly any reason to ditch their current Switch and upgrade to the OLED version. The previously rumored 4K Switch Pro made waves because of the power that was promised. 

However, just because the OLED model has been unveiled, doesn't rule out a true Switch Pro successor. 

Nintendo Switch Pro possibilities 

Nintendo's history of handheld devices doesn't just stop at the Game Boy or Nintendo DS. The company's Game Boy family consists of the upgraded Game Boy Color, then the Game Boy Advance, and even the Game Boy Advance SP. All of these virtually came out two years apart.

We first got the Nintendo DS back in 2004, and eventually upgraded Nintendo 3DS in 2010 (and the even greater Nintendo 3DS XL in 2012). 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo has a habit of upgrading and releasing different variants of its hugely popular portable gaming devices, and for good reason. To prolong the life cycle of the Switch, as the company has done with its previous devices, Nintendo releases other models.

With games such as Metroid Prime 4 still in the works and Breath of the Wild 2 set to be released in 2022, there's reason to believe there will be yet another Switch model in the works — making way for the Switch Pro.

Plus, whatever happened to the rumored Nvidia chip? According to sources talking to Bloomberg, the Nintendo Switch Pro would get Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). Using artificial intelligence, DLSS can upscale lower-resolution images to a higher resolution, meaning the new Switch would have some very pretty-looking games displayed in 4K.

The global chip crisis could have played a major factor in this. Nintendo may not have had enough supplies to deliver the Switch Pro many were expecting. Sony and Microsoft still struggle with their next-gen consoles, and leading tech companies claim the chip shortage will last a few more years. With Nintendo using the current Nvidia Tegra chip used in the original Switch console, it doesn't have to encounter these shortages.

Nintendo may be playing the long game, waiting for an opportune time to drop a Switch Pro with 4K capabilities. Considering the first Switch came out in 2017, the Switch Lite in 2019, and the Switch OLED in 2021, we may only have to wait another couple of years to find out.

For those interested to get their orders in, pre-orders for the Nintendo Switch OLED model are available at GAME and Smyths in the UK, with pages now popping up at Best Buy in the US.