New report suggests that a Nintendo Switch Pro could release later this year

A new version of the Switch could be coming sooner than many thought.

Photo via Elvis Untot CC BY-SA 4.0

There have been rumors about a more powerful version of the Nintendo Switch being in development for years now, but a new report suggests that those predictions might be coming true later this year. 

Nintendo could release a new model of the hybrid console by as soon as mid-2020, with production set to begin at the end of Q1 or right around March, according to a report from Taiwanese media publication Digitimes.

The report says that this information came from sources in the “upstream supply chain,” which simply means that some information regarding the new models was probably leaked after some of the new components for the “Switch Pro” were decided upon. Digitimes has been hit or miss when it comes to predicting new hardware, but there’s too much smoke from other sources to not believe that there’s at least a small fire happening in Nintendo’s production meetings. 

As early as August 2019, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki said that “Nintendo has ideas for further updates to the Switch lineup after those two models to make the platform’s lifecycle long.” The two models he’s referencing are the base model Switch and the Switch Lite, which was already announced at that time and came out a month after his report. 

Along with those comments, analyst and CEO of Kantan Games, Serkan Toto, expanded on what Digitimes reported on. 

The Digitimes report claims that the new Switch will upgrade to a magnesium alloy frame instead of a plastic one and will have a better CPU, according to Serkan. This goes along with his own stance that there’s a pro version of the console coming this year, which he made comments on last week

Along with all of the signs pointing to this happening, the timing also makes a lot of sense for Nintendo since both Microsoft and Sony are releasing new consoles at the end of 2020 that will make the original Switch even more dated in comparison.

Not everyone uses the Switch as a primary console, but with how hard it is already for third-party developers to make their games run well on the hybrid console, an upgraded version with just better internal components would be a huge step up. Other smaller additions like fully functional Bluetooth, a better screen with smaller bezels, and a more powerful docking system that allows for better performance would all likely be included to make it worth the purchase. 

Despite multiple reports that this new model is coming in mid-2020, however, other experts are more cautious when approaching rumors regarding Nintendo’s hardware. 

NPD Games analyst Mat Piscatella notes that Nintendo marches to the beat of its own drum and, even if the Switch Pro does release this year, it likely won’t be as powerful as many rumors are predicting it to be. 

“Nintendo’s benchmark upgrade path on hardware has been in place… forever,” Piscatella said.  “What they like competing against (and what they don’t) is part of the DNA at this point. I’d take any rumors with copious grains of salt.”

Those comments are in direct response to some of the reports predicting that the Switch Pro would have hardware that would let it rival the base model Xbox One or PlayStation 4 units in terms of performance. And while that isn’t completely unbelievable, Nintendo has never chased power and continues to show that accessibility is what it would prefer to focus on. 

Piscatella went on to clarify this in a later statement

“What I’m saying is that the timing and scale of hardware iteration from Nintendo has been consistent for decades now, and that the timing is fairly predictable and the upgrades moderate,” Piscatella said. “Some of the rumors are way beyond what history would suggest reasonable.”

It seems Piscatella is also agreeing that a newer model is on the way soon, but that the upgrades are going to be much more moderate compared to what some sources and most users want. 

A newer version of the Switch will eventually be released as we move further away from its original launch date, but that doesn’t mean any of these rumors are true. There are signs pointing to a big Nintendo Direct happening later this month, so maybe some news will be shown when that takes place.