Nintendo has finally announced a new, premium version of the Switch. Rumored for years now, this new model, titled Nintendo Switch OLED, will have upgrades over the original hardware and will be the most expensive version of the hybrid console on the market when it releases this October.
It will feature a new, wider, 7-inch OLED screen. This will allow the Switch to produce more vivid-looking colors and better contrasts. It also replaces the flimsy kickstand with a far wider and sturdier-looking stand for when you want to play in tabletop mode.
It also includes a LAN port for wired online play while in docked mode, and double the amount of innate storage, up to 64GB. Finally, it also includes improved audio while in handheld and tabletop mode.
It’s objectively an upgrade over the original, and will now be the premiere version of the Switch going forward. It’ll be tough to recommend the original Switch after this since if you were on a budget the Switch Lite is a far more attractive option.
However, it doesn’t quite resemble the rumored “pro” version. Bloomberg released multiple reports, first in August 2020, and again this past March, claiming that a new more powerful Switch model was on the way. Here’s what Bloomberg was speculating back in March:
“The release of a more premium version of Nintendo’s Switch console with an OLED display and support for 4K graphics for the holiday 2021 selling season could drive the company’s sales above consensus for the fiscal year ending March 2022 and extend the life cycle of the Switch platform for many more years.”– Matthew Kanterman and Nathan Naidu, analysts via Bloomberg
That sounds wonderful, right? The argument laid out by Bloomberg there is perfectly logical from Nintendo’s standpoint and they likely felt pretty confident that it was going to happen based on the information they received otherwise they wouldn’t have mentioned anything like this.
However, unless Nintendo has another Switch model planned in the near future, it looks like some of the information turned out to be incorrect.
This new Switch OLED will not feature support for 4K. Players that were also hoping for more powerful hardware will also be disappointed. It’s essentially the same Switch, except with a wider OLED screen, an improved kickstand, and better audio when not docked.
I can only speak for myself but none of that is enticing me to spend $350 to upgrade over my current Day 1 Switch which is still holding up just fine (minus a few L Joy-Con replacements).
With the PS5 and Xbox Series X now on shelves and fully operational many Nintendo fans were hoping for something that would push the hardware further and give it a bit more longevity; effectively doing as Bloomberg suggested above – extend the life cycle.
This new model does not extend anything. It will probably make Nintendo some extra money from new customers looking to buy the best Switch model available, and it may encourage some well-off or hardcore Nintendo fans to upgrade over the current Switch, but I can’t imagine the average Switch owner is hyped about this OLED model.
Sure, playing the latest games on an OLED screen is nice and all, but it’s nothing PS Vita owners haven’t been able to do for nearly a decade. The new kickstand and improved audio are not even close to being system sellers, it’s just a needed improvement over the original model’s negatives.
If the console’s hardware isn’t any more powerful, players shouldn’t expect any games that wouldn’t have normally been ported to the Switch to now make it over.
I guess if you’re a hardcore Super Smash Bros. player or into any other major online game the LAN port could be worth it, but that isn’t going to apply to the wide Switch audience.
But the fact remains, Nintendo had an opportunity to put a serious mid-gen Switch upgrade onto the market and either couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.
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