The Nintendo Switch OLED is now out in the wild and, simply put, its reception has been underwhelming in many quarters, with a series of missing features leaving many commentators cold to the new handheld console.
Yes, sure, Nintendo Switch OLED pre-orders are being waiting on already by a fair few gamers and I'm sure that there will be decent sales numbers recorded when it finally does launch in October, however for me at least, the Switch OLED showing has very firmly left the door open for Nintendo's rivals. And here's why.
Despite the new Switch delivering an upgraded, larger OLED screen, as well as a few small design improvements (such as a larger, more stable kickstand), there's just so many features and performance that the console has left on the table.
Putting it bluntly, to me there's a massive lack of ambition from the Switch OLED and, if Sony can show a little ambition of its own, I feel that it can really slip the knife in to the BigN's handheld plans with the much rumored PSP 5G.
After all, the Nintendo Switch OLED doesn't offer the following things:
1. There is no sort of core performance upgrade over the original Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. According to its released specs it has the same CPU, GPU, and battery as the Switch and, therefore, it looks like it will be offering the exact same core performance.
2. There is no improved resolution screen. Yes, the Switch OLED screen is larger than the original Switch's and is an OLED panel not an LCD one, but its resolution remains only HD (1280x720). We're not even at Full HD 1080p territory, let alone QHD or even 4K.
3. There's no 5G mobile connection. Considering the rise in cloud gaming on both Xbox and PlayStation, and the coming of age of 5G data networks, the fact that the new Switch offers no cloud gaming potential feels distinctly last gen.
4. There's no Bluetooth support for headphones. Come on guys, this is just a ludicrous oversight. Gamers want to use the Switch on the go, and most people today have wireless headphones. So the fact that wireless headphones can't be paired to Nintendo's next-gen console seems ludicrous.
5. There's no HDR support on the Nintendo Switch OLED. Considering the BigN seems to be putting all of its eggs in the OLED screen basket with this new Switch, it seems really disappointing that it hasn't made the console's screen HDR capable. OLED and HDR would of been a great combination.
6. A faster charging battery. As we noted above, the Switch OLED battery has stayed exactly the same size in capacity, but it would of been nice if Nintendo had improved the speed which it charged. The Switch only charges at 18W maximum, while USB-C is capable of much higher throughput. Nintendo's own AC charger is even rated for 39W, so it really feels disappointing that we will still be waiting the same time for the Switch OLED to charge.
7. So far there has been no confirmation that Netflix and other streaming services are going to be available on the Nintendo Switch OLED. With a brand new larger screen most gamers would love the ability to watch shows and movies on the go, but so far it seems the Switch OLED will not be offering this functionality.
8. There's no re-designed Joy-Con controllers. The drift issues of Nintendo's Joy-Con controllers are very well documented, and most gamers were very much expecting a redesigned Joy-Con for the Switch OLED. This hasn't happened, though, which is worrying.
So, with all those points considered, can't you see how I could think that the Switch OLED lacks ambition? I understand the idea that if it isn't broke don't try to fix it, but there is so much that the Switch OLED doesn't offer that that a Sony PSP 5G could.
Just imagine a digital/streaming-focussed new PlayStation Portable that comes with a Full HD, HDR screen, a built-in 5G modem, Bluetooth support for wireless headphones, controllers that don't suffer drift issues, a bigger and faster charging battery, as well as support for all the major streaming apps, and suddenly you're staring at a Switch OLED killer. And especially so if the PSP 5G was designed to simply offer access to pre-existing games on the PlayStation store and didn't have its own proprietary titles, as well as undercut the Nintendo Switch OLED on cost.
And, the scary thing is that I don't think any of that is impossible. The PSP 5G described there is basically tech that is in every modern smartphone sold today (even basic and mid-tier handsets), so providing Sony can get over the failure of the PlayStation Vita and re-enter the handheld gaming market, I really do feel that Nintendo's plans running into this new generation are there for serious disruption.
Being candid, too, I think it is long overdue that the Switch family of consoles got some sort of competition, as it has been basically unopposed in the market since its launch. And now gamers are in a situation where the best next-gen handheld offering they can buy is a console that is powered by technology that is going on half a decade old. I'm sorry, but nobody can tell me that is being well served as a gamer.
As such I feel a Sony PSP 5G, especially if it is launched over the next year to year and a half, could be the next-gen console a lot of gamers have been waiting for. As right now, looking at Nintendo's new console and what information has been released about it, the Switch OLED isn't it.
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