Nintendo says it has no plans to launch a brand new mannequin of its hybrid house/handheld Switch system this yr. But president Shuntaro Furukawa stated one thing related in an interview in January 2019, after which firm launched the Switch Lite in September. But even when the subsequent Switch revision isn’t coming this vacation, the corporate most likely has one other Switch within the works.

Switch is promoting effectively for Nintendo. It’s on the identical tempo as PlayStation four when it comes to consoles offered. But Nintendo will wish to maintain that momentum, and the way in which it does that’s by releasing revisions. It launched the Nintendo DS, DS Lite, and the DSi. For the 3DS, it launched 3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS XL, New 3DS, and New 2DS. So even with Switch promoting effectively on the energy of video games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a brand new mannequin appears inevitable.

And if Nintendo is designing a Switch Pro-like system, then it shouldn’t waste a cent making an attempt so as to add assist for 4K. Not when so many different potential {hardware} options would make an even bigger distinction.

Let’s get into why 4K is a waste and why Nintendo could be significantly better off focusing a Switch Pro round different enhancements.


This story is the primary entry in GamesBeat’s What’s Next, Next Gen collection, which explores what actually issues in upcoming gaming {hardware}. 

Nintendo Switch Pro doesn’t need 4K — it needs HDR, 120Hz, and an SSD


4K isn’t definitely worth the efficiency hit

I like gaming in 4K, however I prefer it on my PC in my workplace, the place I sit about 2 toes away from my monitor. At that distance, my 32-inch monitor seems unbelievable at 4K. But I even have a PC plugged right into a 4K TV in my lounge, however I set that pc to run at 1080p as an alternative. This is as a result of I can’t see the distinction between 4K and 1080p on a 55-inch show from 10 toes away. On high of that, my TV has HDMI 2.0b and may run at 120Hz (or 120 frames per second) at 1080p. And I’ll take these frames over the decision even when I may inform the distinction in decision.

And truthfully, even my essential, powerhouse PC can barely run 4K video games at 60 frames per second. If sure video games begin to chug, decision is the primary change I make. The fact is that even leaning right into a 4K monitor, the distinction between 1440p and 4K isn’t price an enormous hit on efficiency.

Now, even a Switch Pro wouldn’t run in 4K in handheld mode. The display screen is simply too small for that to make a distinction, and it could require manner an excessive amount of energy to make sense for the battery. But even plugged right into a TV, I don’t wish to surrender framerate for decision. It’s not price it.

What a Switch Pro wants as an alternative of 4K

If Switch Pro doesn’t have 4K, then why would Nintendo even make it? I do know that 4K remains to be a buzzword in gaming and for televisions, however it’s low on the listing of adjustments that will make for a greater console. I’ve put collectively just a few upgrades that can make video games look and carry out higher.

Let’s begin with the belief {that a} Switch Pro would get a extra highly effective processor from Nvidia. The Tegra X1 that’s within the Switch is a stable cell chip, however Nvidia may simply enhance on it. And a greater chip could be essential to get the a lot of the hypothetical Switch Pro’s new show.

Support for 120Hz and HDR

While I don’t assume a Switch Pro must assist 4K, it ought to nonetheless assist upgraded show tech like a 120Hz refresh fee and high-dynamic vary (HDR). And Switch Pro ought to assist each on TV, however it also needs to have a 120Hz HDR show.

While 4K is tough to note on a small display screen, a excessive refresh fee shouldn’t be. And 120Hz would make Nintendo video games look smoother than ever. Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are going to assist 120Hz televisions as effectively, so it’s possible that we’ll get some indie video games that shoot for over 100 frames per second. And it could be nice if we may get the good thing about that on the Switch as effectively.

HDR is one other function that may drastically enhance picture high quality. It expands the colour gamut and distinction over conventional LCD shows. This makes photorealistic scenes look extra pure, and it will possibly make lights and shadows pop off the display screen.

There are already smartphones that assist each excessive framerate and HDR just like the Razer Phone 2. And, coincidentally, the Razer Phone 2 and up to date Switch fashions each use IGZO LCD shows. So Nintendo is already dabbling in the suitable know-how to make these strikes.

Oh, and as for decision, keep on with 1080p on TV and 720p for handheld. Those are each greater than adequate.

SSD

But the most important enchancment Nintendo must make to the Switch is to the storage. The present Switch techniques use eMMC flash reminiscence in addition to a slot for expandable SD storage. Now, eMMC is basically a form of inside SD card, and whereas eMMC and SD playing cards are low-cost, they’re additionally gradual in comparison with an SSD.

If Nintendo desires to set a Switch Pro mannequin aside, it ought to make the leap to together with a big quantity of inside SSD storage. While eMMC tops out at a switch fee of about 400MB per second, an NVME SSD (like the sort in Apple’s iPhone) is able to transfering knowledge at 3,500MB per second. This may drastically enhance load instances and make the Switch Pro really feel like an total snappier system.

SSD costs are coming down, and they need to drop even additional as Microsoft and Sony start buying them at scale for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. And positive, eMMC remains to be cheaper, and Nintendo ought to positively maintain utilizing it in its extra reasonably priced Switch Lite. But Nintendo may set the Switch Pro above the Lite and authentic mannequin (and at the next value) by promising to mitigate loading in most video games.

Why a Nintendo Switch Pro is sensible

I don’t understand how possible it’s that we’ll get a Nintendo Switch Pro with these options. We could not get a Switch Pro in any respect. But I feel {that a} extra highly effective processor looks like a given. The firm has already labored with Nvidia to place a revised chip into the Switch. But as an alternative of utilizing that for efficiency, Nintendo dialed every part again to get extra battery life. But the Switch now has a battery life of seven hours-to-9 hours. That’s greater than every other handheld gaming system because the Game Boy.

The subsequent time Nvidia has a revision for the Tegra chip, it received’t make sense to amp up battery life once more. Instead, the additional juice ought to go towards bettering efficiency. And that’s going to offer Nintendo a possibility to promote a brand new system at the next value level. The next refreshrate display screen can benefit from that energy. And HDR and an SSD may assist justify promoting the Switch Pro at $300 and even $400 — particularly if PS5 and Xbox Series X are available at $500 or $600.