Update July 6: Nintendo has announced the Nintendo Switch OLED, which is coming October 8 for $349. A Nintendo Switch Pro is not happening, at least for now.
The Nintendo Switch Pro exists in a strange state of limbo whereby a slew of unconfirmed leaks and rumors make it seem very real, but then Nintendo has kept extremely tight-lipped about any hardware it's working on. Until now.
In a recent shareholder Q&A one of the company's investors managed to get a little more from Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa where a curt “no comment” about the Switch Pro just won’t cut it.
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“It was widely reported that a new version of the Nintendo Switch would be announced this June at E3, but no new model was announced at the Nintendo Direct E3 2021,” the investor said, reported to Kotaku. “What are your thoughts regarding the news of new models such as this?”
Unfortunately, even a question as direct as this is easy to dodge for an experienced executive, and Furukawa batted it away like a pro. “Our company uses Nintendo Direct to inform our customers about individual products at the appropriate time,” he responded.
“To achieve that, we are constantly developing hardware, software, dedicated peripherals, etc., but we refrain from making comments on specific products still in development.”
Reading between the lines?
If you were feeling generous, you could say that “constantly developing hardware” is a tacit acknowledgement that much-rumored Nintendo Switch Pro is in the works. It’s not a “no” after all, but really the phrasing is vague enough to refer to anything.
After all, the history books are littered with possible Nintendo products that never saw the light of day, from the Nintendo PlayStation to the original plan for the Wiimote as a Gamecube accessory, so the company really is “constantly developing hardware."
That said, there are plenty of reasons to believe both that a Switch Pro is real, and that it’ll be here relatively soon. Not only has it been spotted in a retailer listing, but “people familiar” with Nintendo’s plans say that a new version is coming, complete with a 7-inch OLED screen with 4K output when connected to a TV.
Should it raise alarm bells that such a product wasn’t announced at E3 2021? Not really. Nintendo hasn’t had a dedicated presence at E3 since 2013, preferring to make announcements via its own Nintendo Direct recordings. And because the company can do these whenever it pleases, there is no real reason that the Switch Pro should have appeared at this year's E3.
Of course, even if the rumors are correct and a Switch Pro is in development, there’s no guarantee it will arrive this year, even if that is the company’s plan. The ongoing chip shortages make any such guarantees a real hostage to fortune, which could be another reason why Nintendo has been reluctant to make any plans in the hardware space official, as much as eager gamers might want it to.