Enlarge /. What exactly can we expect from a 4K quality Nintendo Switch? We doubt the built-in display will achieve 3840 x 2160 resolution, but will it still keep the popular "hybrid" nature of the system in terms of portability and TV compatibility? And will there be exclusive games? After today's reports, we still have questions.
Nintendo / Sam Machkovech
An updated version of the Nintendo Switch console finally seems to be in sight. Multiple outlets have claimed that Nintendo's long-rumored plans for a more powerful switch with an expected launch in 2021 are finally moving forward.
According to reports from Bloomberg and the United Daily News in Taipei, the specifications of this system are currently in flux, according to sources familiar with Nintendo's plans. Late Monday Bloomberg's report claims that Nintendo is considering upgrades like "more processing power and 4K HD graphics". These details are consistent with a machine translated version of the UDN report from earlier.
Interestingly, the UDN report points to an aggressive release schedule as early as the first quarter of 2021, with hardware production starting in late 2020. However, no such timeframe is mentioned in Bloomberg's report. Both reports mention a lack of announced software for Nintendo Switch this holiday season, and Bloomberg reporter Takashi Mochizuki claims it was intended by Nintendo's side to bolster the "launch" software for the updated Switch next year.
Should Mochizuki's claim be true, we could see games like the heralded sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being prepared for this new switch. (This Zelda game was already announced at E3 2019, only to disappear during this year's not-quite-E3 series of game announcements.) However, none of Monday's reports clarified whether or not this system and the existing Switch will be interoperable whether either system will have exclusive software. While both reports mention that it is an "upgraded switch model", they do not state whether it is completely similar to the hybrid home-and-portable nature of the existing switch, nor whether it should be upgraded to higher ones Resolutions may only require a home model.
Games industry experts have long speculated that Nintendo might eventually release an "HD Switch", although earlier rumors about such a console were faltering at some point. Those rumors hinted at the creation of a smaller switch to fill the void left by Nintendo's cheaper 3DS console, and those rumors came to fruition late last year. Months later, Nintendo flatly denied the possibility that a new, unannounced Switch model could arrive before the end of 2020.
While Nintendo will soon face more intense competition from PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the underserved Nintendo Switch has no problem holding its own against current competition (when there is constant sell-off at American retailers like Amazon and Best Buy). The 2020 mega-hit Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold more than 22 million units in around 4 months, while the hardware itself has sold more than 61 million units since Switch launched in 2017.
Nintendo didn't immediately respond to Ars Technica's questions about a possible new Switch model.