There’s good news and bad news about the Nintendo Switch Pro. The good news is that Nintendo seems to have just confirmed its existence. The bad news is that all we got were vague teases about a Nintendo Switch successor.
This news came from Nintendo’s investor results call (via David Gibson (opens in new tab)). Specifically a question from an investor about which areas are getting increased R&D spending. And Nintendo confirmed that it was currently investing in “the next platform."
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A: Investing in online as well. Although mid way through Switch cycle it is necessary to invest in the next platform, where hardware and software integrated will continue.May 6, 2021
So Nintendo is definitely working on a follow-up console to the Nintendo Switch, whether it's called the Switch Pro or Switch 2. However, that’s about all Nintendo has confirmed at this time. Rumors and leaks have been telling us this for quite some time, so this is nothing new, but it is nice to get official confirmation that a new console is on the way.
The current Nintendo Switch has proven to be immensely popular with gamers, which is reflected in its sales figures. Back in February (opens in new tab) Nintendo confirmed 79.87 million consoles had shipped worldwide, along with 532.34 million games.
That makes the Switch (and Switch Lite) the fifth highest-selling Nintendo device so far. Ahead of it is the Nintendo DS (154 million), Game Boy (118.7 million), Wii (101.6 million), and Game Boy Advance (81.5 million). But only the DS and Wii have outsold the Switch on games, selling 948.72 million and 921.85 million games, respectively.
The only question is whether this “new hardware” Nintendo refers to is a brand new console, or a hardware revision of some sort. After all, the Nintendo Switch Pro is only supposed to be a small upgrade.
Rumor is that the Switch Pro will allow games to be played in 4K HDR on a TV, though handheld mode will also get a small boost thanks to a new OLED display panel. Sadly, that panel is expected to be just 720p resolution, so you wouldn't be playing even full HD games on the move.
Where is the Nintendo Switch Pro?
At least based on this translation of the original Japanese, this will be a brand new Switch console. Nintendo refers to the Switch being “mid-way” through its life cycle, and that’s why next-gen R&D is necessary. That suggests that the console Nintendo is referring to is still a few years off.
If the Switch was only getting a relatively minor upgrade, as is the case with the Switch Pro specs we’ve seen rumored, there’s no reason why we would have to wait as long as was implied.
Assuming this is the case, and there really is a proper Nintendo Switch 2 on the way, when are we going to get the Switch Pro? The ongoing global chip shortage may be a factor. Not only is it causing Xbox Series X and PS5 restock shortages, Nintendo is preparing for the issue to affect levels of Switch stock.
Given the difficulties picking up a next-gen console, and the shortage of Switch consoles at the start of the pandemic, now is not the right time to launch a new console. Even one as iterative as we’re expecting the Switch Pro to be.
We’re just going to have to be patient, and hope this whole mess eases up. Or that Nintendo is making sure it has an ample supply of stock, in order to avoid the same restock disasters faced by prospective Xbox Series X and PS5 gamers.