Nintendo Switch Pro: leaks, rumours, and everything we know so far

How will Nintendo follow up on its smash hit success?

Nintendo Switch

It looks like a second-generation, upgraded Nintendo Switch is on the way, even if Nintendo hasn't made if official yet – the Nintendo Switch has been such a smash hit that there's no way it isn't going to be given a sequel when the time is right.

From the rumours we've heard so far, it looks as though a Nintendo Switch Pro upgrade is going to show up before we get a genuine sequel to the original handheld in the form of the Nintendo Switch 2. But when will the Nintendo Switch Pro launch? And how will it be different?

We've been carefully gathering all the news, rumours and speculation about the Nintendo Switch Pro, and we've presented it all here for your perusal. Get the latest on the follow-up to the best portable gaming machine of our generation.

Nintendo Switch Pro: release date

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

The original Nintendo Switch

This is the big question, so we can all get saving up: when will the Nintendo Switch Pro launch? We're well into 2021 now, and there's still not much sign of Nintendo unveiling its next bit of gaming hardware.

Cast your mind back to March 2017, because that's when the Nintendo Switch first went on sale, having been announced the previous October. That means the Switch launched five years after the Wii U appeared on the scene – so is another five-year gap looking likely?

Well, we'd say five years at the least. Nintendo has specifically stated that it wants the console's life-cycle to stretch beyond the usual five-year window. As such, it could be a good few years before we see a reimagined Nintendo Switch.

We have of course already seen the Switch Lite, which is cheaper, lighter and more compact. As well as being unable to detach the controllers from the side of the device, the Nintendo Switch Lite has a slightly smaller screen than the standard switch-able Switch – 5.5-inches versus the 6.2-inch touchscreen on the original.

If the next move is a Nintendo Switch Pro, it could happen before that five-year cycle we mentioned earlier – according to Bloomberg, the upgraded handheld console is going to make an appearance in the second half of 2021.

Nintendo Switch Pro: price

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

The first Nintendo Switch

Part of the appeal of the Nintendo Switch is its affordable price – way below what you'd pay for a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X – and Nintendo will want to continue that trend in the future.

While we haven't heard any specific rumours in this regard, the clever money seems to be on a price point of around £379 / $399, which is a £100 / $100 mark-up on what the current Switch will cost you.

Nintendo Switch Pro: design

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

The Nintendo Switch, with dock

Nintendo has hit upon a design that works well, so it's likely that you'll be seeing Switch-style consoles from the company for the foreseeable future. Portable gaming when needed, with the option to dock the console and play games on a bigger screen at home.

While leaks of the Nintendo Switch Pro design are thin on the ground, we have seen some concept renderings, with a larger screen, expanded storage options, and redesigned Joy-Con controllers. Whether or not these concepts are anywhere close to the mark though remains to be seen.

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

A possible Nintendo Switch Pro design

(Image credit: Computer Bild)

If the next-generation Switch is more of a mid-generation bump – the path Sony and Microsoft have followed lately – then the design will almost definitely stay unchanged. There might be a few refinements here and there though, especially with accessories. Some bugs might get ironed out and Nintendo might take steps to lock out Switch hackers.

Broadly speaking though, we'd expect the second Switch to look (and work) much like the first. Slim and svelte looks aren't so important for the device, as it's that chunky feel in the hand, and that tablet-sized screen, that help make the console work as well as it does. The Nintendo Switch Pro, if it's real, would presumably be the same size as the current Switch device.

Nintendo Switch Pro: specs

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

The 2017 Nintendo Switch

You don't need to be an expert to know that hardware components are getting faster and smaller all the time, so there's no doubt the Switch Pro will be more powerful than the first. There's been lots of talk that the upgraded handheld will be able to output a 4K resolution when docked.

We've also heard mention of a Mini LED display, which should mean a substantially better-looking screen in terms of colours and contrast when the new console breaks cover. We already know from users digging into the Switch code that Nintendo is laying the groundwork for improved hardware, and more memory and a faster internal processor will definitely on the cards.

A 1080p touchscreen is one of the rumours we've heard floating around, and the Tegra X1 processor inside the current Switch is another component that a potential Pro upgrade might improve upon – that would help to drive the 4K resolutions that the Nintendo Switch Pro is said to be capable of.

According to one insider, the Switch Pro will be about as powerful as the PS4, and is going to come with a 1440p native resolution screen. Nvidia's DLSS 2.0 rendering technology is also going to be on board, based on this source's information.

Nintendo Switch Pro: games

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

The original Nintendo Switch

Games could've been one of the weaknesses of the Switch, but it's become one of the console's strengths – all kicked off by Breath of the Wild, of course. Now the console is a hit, independent developers are rushing to get their titles out on the Switch hardware.

And the success of the Switch should mean some top-notch games for the Switch Pro – including a Breath of the Wild sequel. With Zelda's 35th anniversary this year, BotW 2 is very much on the cards according to leaks.

One tidbit we have heard is that Nintendo Switch 2 multiplayer games might come with cross-platform compatibility, so you can share the experiences with your friends on the Sony PS5 and the next-gen Xbox consoles.

We've already seen some Switch games upscaled to 4K courtesy of a bit of AI trickery, and if games end up looking this good on the Nintendo Switch Pro, then we'll be very satisfied indeed.

Nintendo Switch Pro: other rumours

Nintendo Switch Pro leaks and rumours

Gaming on the Nintendo Switch

As we mentioned, Nintendo hasn't said a Switch 2 is definitely on the way yet – it has confirmed it's busy working on new hardware of some kind, but that's hardly a surprising revelation.

With the Switch 1.0 proving a big success, Nintendo will want to ride the wave with games and accessories for as long as possible, which is why a mid-cycle Pro upgrade makes a lot of sense. Nintendo has certainly been dropping some hints in that direction.

We'll keep you posted with every Nintendo Switch Pro leak and rumour that appears, so watch this space. 

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.