The news that most gamers definitely didn't want to hear from Nintendo was finally officially addressed this week, with the BigN confirming on Twitter that, aside from the incoming Switch OLED console, it has "no plans for launching any other model at this time".
So, that would be a big fat no then to the long-rumored and, for many gamers, much wanted "Nintendo Switch Pro" console, which now appears to be officially dead. You can almost hear the nails being banged into the Switch Pro coffin right with that Nintendo statement... "no" [BANG] "plans" [BANG] "for launching any" [BANG] "other model" [BANG] "at this time" [BANG].
The dream of an updated Nintendo Switch and a follow-up system to the Nintendo Switch Lite seems to actually now be a nightmare, with gamers facing up to a further 3-5 years of Switch gaming on a console that, OLED screen aside, is powered by half-a-decade-old hardware. And this is while other gamers are now enjoying jaw-dropping next-gen gaming experiences on PS5 and Xbox Series X, too.
But, in my opinion, I don't think gamers should be giving up hope of a Nintendo Switch Pro so quickly at all. And here's why.
We also want to clarify that we just announced that Nintendo Switch(OLED Model) will launch in October, 2021, and have no plans for launching any other model at this time. (2/2)July 19, 2021
Nintendo is a business and it has just announced a brand new product, which is the Nintendo Switch OLED. This new handheld console comes out in October this year, which is the start of the winter holiday shopping season. It is launching it then as it is its major hardware play this winter holiday season (obviously) and will be putting all its weight behind it as a driver to maintain the momentum of Switch software sales.
So, with that considered, why on Earth would Nintendo come out and say, "hey guys, you know that new console that is coming out this year, well, we're going to be shortly launching another one, too, and this one will be an even better system". Exactly, it wouldn't. It would be commercial suicide for the Nintendo Switch OLED. Gamers would, very rightly, say to themselves, "well, if a Switch Pro is coming then I'll just hang on to my existing Switch a little longer and then upgrade to the better console".
Also, note how the official Nintendo communication on this is that it says it has "no plans for launching any other model at this time". The "at this time" is the crucial three words here, and actually they make a statement that sounds very definitive far less so. Nintendo is absolutely not discounting launching another console, it just isn't going to be doing it "at this time".
And, if you were to ask me if this is all par for the course for Nintendo, as a chap who has reported on the firm's output over a couple of decades, I'd say absolutely. Nintendo is a very conservative firm that keeps its cards very close to its chest at all times, and it likes to rebuff questions, leaks and rumors about its future output with definitive sounding stonewall comments.
The BigN likes to have "no plans" to do things and "no comment" on things continuously and, despite a build up of leaks, will continue to do so until the very last minute. Just look at how just a week before it announced the Nintendo Switch OLED the Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa was stonewalling questions with statements like this (opens in new tab):
"We are constantly developing hardware, software, dedicated peripherals, etc., but we refrain from making comments on specific products still in development."
One week later the Nintendo Switch OLED was announced.
As such, I don't believe for one second that Nintendo won't release another Nintendo Switch console after the OLED in the future. It just won't be this year and Nintendo won't comment on it until its launch is basically upon us.
How I see the Switch OLED is that it is a simple refresh of the BigN's standard Switch offering, replacing it directly going forward. And, considering the Switch Lite exists and ticks the child-friendly young gamer market already really well, that just then leaves a gap for a more pro-grade system. A "Nintendo Switch Pro" console that gives more mature enthusiast Switch gamers a reason to stick with the platform and not turn traitor to Sony or Microsoft's next-gen consoles.
I don't see a juggernaut new Switch laden with 4K, 5G and a radical new design, but I definitely can see a Switch with upgraded core hardware (CPU, RAM, GPU) and the same OLED screen that can run the same Nintendo Switch games but at higher framerates.
And, with products like the recently announced Steam Deck handheld console, which offers markedly more powerful hardware than the Switch OLED, a Nintendo Switch Pro console would be the ideal solution for the BigN.
So, yeah, in my opinion gamers absolutely shouldn't count the Nintendo Switch Pro dead and buried just yet.
- Nintendo Switch OLED pre-orders: where to buy the new Nintendo Switch