Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Nintendo did plan a Switch Pro, but the console was canceled

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In context: Ever since the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, there have been rumors and claims that an upgraded Pro version of the popular handheld console was set to arrive. That never happened, of course, but a new report reveals that the mid-generation refresh really was planned. Unfortunately, it ended up being canceled.

Despite only arriving five years ago, the Nintendo Switch is already the fifth best-selling console of all time, despite the numerous complaints of Joy-Con drift, having moved 114.33 million units. This success led to analysts and industry insiders claiming an updated Pro version would arrive complete with 4K support, a better processor than the Switch’s aging Tegra X1 SoC, more storage, a better and possibly bigger screen, and more.

The Switch Pro never arrived. What we got instead was the Switch OLED, which, while offering several improvements over the base model, is more of an incremental upgrade; it reportedly costs just $10 more to make.

So, what happened to the Switch Pro that many were convinced would arrive? The Digital Foundry Direct Weekly podcast may have shed some light on the mystery. John Linneman says he talked to several developers who revealed a mid-generation Switch was planned at one point, but the console is no longer happening.

Linneman suggests the cancelation might partly be blamed on the Wii U. The original Wii was incredibly popular when it arrived in 2006, selling over 100 million units, but the Wii U follow-up flopped badly—just over 13 million consoles were bought. Nintendo might have wanted to avoid a similar situation occurring with the updated Switch Pro.

Linneman believes Nintendo will release a next-generation Switch 2 (or whatever it’ll be called) console, possibly packing Nvidia’s Tegra T239 SoC, but we’re not going to see it in 2023. And despite this successor being much more powerful, Nintendo will likely still be nervous about having another Wii U (and, to a lesser extent, GameCube)-style commercial failure on its hands.

Numisteamone

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