A new Nintendo Switch OLED model was announced from out of nowhere this week but the news has had mixed reactions to say the least. Our own Rob Jones is pretty livid that this isn't the fabled Switch Pro, and he's not the only one. A swathe of the Nintendo fanbase seems irate over something that was only every rumored, and never confirmed by the company itself – and is likely still on the way.
In fact, just before Nintendo dropped the bombshell, company president, Shuntaro Furukawa, was asked about the Switch Pro in an annual shareholder meeting. As reported by Kotaku, an investor piped up to ask where the "widely reported...new version of the Nintendo Switch" was after it failed to materialise at E3 2021.
After pointing out that Nintendo Directs are used "to inform... customers about individual products at the appropriate time," Furukawa added that the company is "constantly developing hardware, software, dedicated peripherals, etc," but that it "refrain[s] from making comments on specific products still in development."
And then BAM! Less than a week later, we were presented with a brand new console. The Nintendo Switch OLED's main draw is the new screen, with a few small improvements elsewhere. Under the hood, it's just the same as the original Nintendo Switch, which is what has left many fans disappointed. But the existence of the Switch OLED doesn't mean that you should throw out your hopes of a more powerful Nintendo console.
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After launching the PS4 in 2013, Sony followed up with not one, but two new models just three years later. Both the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro were announced in tandem in September 2016, and released in September and November respectively. The PS4 Slim sports the same innards as the OG PS4, but in a more streamline form factor. The PS4 Pro on the other hand boasts a 30% CPU and 100% GPU bump as well as 1GB extra RAM.
It's not entirely out of the realms of possibility for Nintendo to do the same, and release an upgraded version of its handheld-home console hybrid, and follow up with a beefier piece of hardware for gamers wanting a more powerful experience.
Nintendo Switch Pro 2022 rumors
Rumors of a Nintendo console with improved performance and 4K output have been swirling for a while now. A 2022 Switch Pro launch date has been bandied about with industry insiders saying that's when we'd see the bolstered hardware. Just because the Switch OLED is here, it doesn't preclude the release of a Pro model, or a more powerful Nintendo console next year.
The company's console cycles tend to run around five years, so 2022 puts us firmly in that territory. The specs we've been hearing about could well be for the next generation of home entertainment system, and not a Switch 2 or Switch Pro. But regardless of its name, not everyone has given up hope of seeing a new piece of kit next year.
Games journalist Jeff Grubb is still on board the Switch Pro train along with many fans who haven't allowed the debut of the Switch OLED to dampen their spirits. When asked on Twitter whether the OLED model is actually the Pro variant that's been rumored, Grubb said:
"I still have only ever personally heard 2022 for a Switch Pro. And if that still happens, I'll continue to speculate that will have 4K output with a significantly more efficient chip with DLSS.
"Anyone think this is the last Switch from the company that released 6 3DS models?"
Ultimately, it's doesn't make much sense to assume that the Switch OLED is actually the mythical Pro model, or that its release is going to stop Nintendo from launching another new console next year.
The company is known for its iterative hardware, as well as a pretty dependable console lifecycle. We've already had three Nintendo Switch models since 2017, so there's really no need to start panicking about the newest one being the end of the line.
Obviously, we shouldn't put too much stock in rumors generally speaking, but for now, nothing has really changed on that front; we could still see a Nintendo Switch Pro next year, so I'll keep my seat on the hype train for now.