Last week we heard from the same analyst who successfully predicted the Nintendo Switch Lite that there is “absolutely no doubt” that Nintendo will release a 4K Nintendo Switch Pro in 2020, probably before the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launch. The Nintendo Switch Pro will allegedly launch with a number of new features, including 4K support, with better hardware and a price that’s double what you’d currently pay for the base model. We heard similar rumours last year, but those seemed to be about the new longer battery life model of the Switch. While it’s an interesting concept, one that has one potentially massive flaw in it, I can’t help but wonder why we need a 4K Nintendo Switch Pro.
The biggest question that comes to my mind when talking about a 4K Nintendo Switch is whether or not that’s 4K while docked, or 4K in handheld mode. If the 4K visuals are only available while in docked mode, there’s very little point in them other than for Nintendo Switch exclusives like Zelda. Games on the Switch that could be 4K, like DOOM and Skyrim, are already available in 4K on other systems, and they’ll look much better there because those systems don’t have scaled down visuals to make them fit on a Switch cartridge.
A games console that’s portable and has 4K visuals really would be something. I could see this bringing quite a few new people over to the Switch finally, particularly if this new Switch launches with a system selling game, just like we’re told it probably will. The game would most likely be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, but that would most likely mean that this device is getting announced at E3 2020, and released just a few months later. That’s a tall order for a console.
The Next Generation Is Just Around The Corner
This Christmas will see the launch of the PlayStation 5 and the Xox Series X, two new consoles that will mark the beginning of the next console generation. With these behemoths on the way, why would Nintendo launch another more powerful Switch to try to compete alongside them? This brings my point back to the reason behind 4K visuals in handheld mode, it makes no sense for the majority of games that are 4K elsewhere.
These rumours make the Nintendo Switch Pro sound like a new home console from Nintendo, not a new version of the Switch that’s capable of 4K visuals. I can’t see the point of the new console if it doesn’t have 4K visuals in handheld mode, and only then if it upgrades all the big Nintendo exclusives, not just the big third-party games. We definitely need to wait and see if this rumour turns out to be true. A big part of me wants it to be real, because it would be insane to see a 4K Zelda game, but at the same time I want Nintendo to continue to invest in the portability of the Nintendo Switch, doubling down on the handheld market and filling the gap left by Sony’s lack of a competing console.