Nintendo Switch Pro: All the reasons why we need one

Nintendo Switch Pro

The rumors about the Nintendo Switch Pro continue to spread while Nintendo keeps a low profile. There are rumors, and of course, countless claims from insiders. In the between, we also have a lot of players that are starting to realize that the current Nintendo Switch needs an upgrade. And that’s exactly the point of this article – Nintendo needs to bring new hardware, be it through the Nintendo Switch Pro or a new generation. Going on a different route than the competition, we are more inclined to believe in a Pro variant. Several reasons make us ask for a new console, but there are also some challenges that Nintendo needs to overcome. Through this article, we’ll try to elaborate on why it’s time for a new Switch.

The Nintendo Switch’s hardware is starting to become obsolete

Okay, the target of the Nintendo Switch is not to offer the same level of gaming that desktop consoles offer. Instead, Nintendo wants to offer the more powerful handheld console it can. The hybrid console offers a great gaming performance and allows you to play anything on-the-go. However, the NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip inside this console is starting to age badly.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

This year, Nintendo launched Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and evidence of outdated hardware started to appear. As per the review on IGN, the game ran like garbage in the current hardware. There were multiple clipping issues where Pokémon get caught in walls or underground. Moreover, the game also suffered from camera issues. These are not simply examples of poor optimization. The console is starting to have issues with its games. The game came as a refresh for the formula with open-world elements. However, the console didn’t handle it so well.

Modern games are struggling with the current Switch, a Nintendo Switch Pro can fix the issues

If Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is a good example, there are many more. Curiously or not, most of these are from recent releases, that show the obsolescence of the current hardware.

Bayonetta Bayonetta3 GIF - Bayonetta Bayonetta3 Nintendo - Discover & Share GIFs

Bayonetta 3 was highly-anticipated and took several years to develop. The fans of the legendary witch, however, became disappointed with the game’s performance. The game targets 60 fps which is ambitious for the Switch.

However, it falls to 45 FPS or even below several times. If it wasn’t for the old hardware, the game could be one of the best on the platform.

Another example is Sonic Frontiers. The game is available on consoles, and as you may expect, the Switch port suffers a lot. Even though Sonic’s graphics are not the best in the industry, the game suffers on Nintendo’s console. Sometimes it runs below 30 FPs which nowadays basically feels like a “laggy” experience. Moreover, there are some pop-in elements throughout the world.

There are still some examples of studios that made “magic”. Splatoon 3 achieves 60 frames per second in gameplay, which Xenoblade Chronicles run at 30 FPS and is more stable that the last entry in the series.

Third-party studios are getting “tired”

The Nintendo Switch has a huge amount of players. Also, the handheld appeal is what pushes this console into a specific niche. There is a niche of players that can’t be at the front of the TV all the time, these benefit from the Switch. Naturally, they want to play modern games on the console. The problem is that some studios are starting to get tired of the hardware in the current console.

Not everyone wants to go through the costlier task that CD Projekt Red had to go to bring The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to the hybrid console. This port was considered impossible but happened. Even so, there are studios that don’t want to go through the hassle. Square-Enix, for example, which is still one of the most notable Nintendo partners, didn’t want to port Kingdom Hearts 3 to the console. Instead, it offers the cloud-based version of the game. There is a server streaming the game to players, and the internet is always needed.

The current Switch is not fit for new AAA titles

Elden Ring

Nintendo Switch fans hoping for the arrival of FromSoftware’s games like Sekiro or Elden Ring are out of the luck. A new Nintendo Switch Pro could put the console closer to these recent releases, opening the possibilities for developers.

With the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series, the gap between the Switch and the AAA games is getting bigger. Unless Nintendo launches a hardware revision soon, players will be stuck with big N titles, indie games, or specifically-made games.

Developers are starting to give up on ports for the PS4 and Xbox One, and these were superior to the Switch. Why they would bring a PS5 game to the Switch?

Nintendo Switch

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Microsoft promises to bring Call of Duty games to the hybrid console. However, it’s unclear whether the company will make regular ports or will bring cloud-based games. With the current hardware, the last option is the more plausible. Of course, there is the most ambitious and less probable method of bringing Game Pass to Switch. We all know that Phil Spencer would put the Game Pass on a fridge, but considering Nintendo’s goals this won’t happen.

The Nintendo Switch sales aren’t the same as before, the Nintendo Switch Pro could fix this

With the launch of the new generation, the Nintendo Switch is losing its position in the market. The console is undoubtedly a hit. Despite the hardware, the console sold over 114 million consoles. Much of this is due to the approach of a hybrid console, the second is due to the exclusive games that drive fans to the platform. But the sales are losing steam since 2021. The PS5 surpassed Nintendo’s console in recent months.

Nintendo says that the drop in sales is due to production, and not demand. That excuse is believable, after all, we went through major shortages in the industry, COVID outbreaks, etc. The problem is that the Switch is always in-stock at major retailers. We don’t think that Nintendo is lying, but the info is incomplete.

We still expect a major boost in the sales of the Nintendo Switch in the next months. The launch of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – the highly-anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild – has the potential to give the console the last breath in terms of sales. But for how long this will be sustained? That’s the big question.

The challenges in the hardware department preventing the Nintendo Switch Pro

We all say that a Nintendo Switch Pro is needed, but the question is – what will power the new console?

The Nvidia Tegra X1 came in 2015 – one year before the console’s release. In 2019, the company revised the chip to improve the battery life, but the performance was unchanged. In 2021, Nintendo presented the Switch OLED with a gorgeous display, but again, the performance was the same. All these revisions still bring the old Tegra X1, and the problem is that we can’t spot a replacement for this SoC.

Nvidia Tegra

The Tegra X1 is an ARM-based processor just like the ones we see in smartphones. Nvidia tried to find its way into this segment with products like tablets, but it changed its strategy. Nowadays, the company’s ARM chips are the Xavier and Orin, which mostly focuses on automotive, industrial, and robotics with an emphasis on machine learning. These chips are not fit for a portable console, especially because they’re demanding power.

Anyway, Apple has shown how powerful and efficient ARM-based processors can be with the Apple M-series. Nvidia could partner with Nintendo for a specific processor for the Switch. This kind of partnership works well with Sony, for example, which has its processors coming from AMD.

The Nintendo Switch Pro will bring a custom NVIDIA SoC – and that takes time

The most recent rumors tell us about a custom Nvidia processor the Nintendo Switch Pro. This chip carries the T239 codename and is based on Nvidia’s Orin. One variant of this chip could easily handle 1080p at 60 FPS. Also, since it’s custom, we can see Nintendo adding features like HDR, adaptive sync, DLSS, and ray tracing. The DLSS can change the experience on Switch. And it’s one of the most requested features. Through DLSS, a 720p game can easily become a 4K game without much sacrifice.

The problem is that custom chips take time and a lot of testing. As per the rumors, Nintendo and Nvidia started to work on this chip in 2021. But so far, the leaks have been missing the parts that make us believe in a new SoC.

Nintendo Switch Pro

According to Nintendo’s President Shuntaro Furukawa, there won’t be new hardware in the company’s current fiscal year. The fiscal year ends in April of 2023. For that reason, we have bold reasons to believe in the launch of the new console after that deadline. Otherwise, the executive would not mention any new hardware. The new hardware won’t come in the current fiscal year, but that also means, that there is new hardware – so we can expect it for late 2023. 

The Nintendo Switch was launched in March 2017, while the OLED came in September 2021. The PS5 and Xbox Series X came in November 2019. So a launch window between April and December 2023 can be considered by Nintendo. Maybe, just maybe, Nvidia and Nintendo are secretly working on the hardware and will only give us details in the next year. Anyway, we can’t discard a delay in this release.

The Nintendo Switch Pro could take a ride in the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Also, the console could open the doors for new ports.

In the end, we will have to wait and hope for the best

The reasons why we need a Nintendo Switch Pro are becoming more and more evident. In the next year, they will become even more evident with the launch of many games using Unreal Engine 5. Until 2024, we believe that it will be impossible for the regular Switch to run AAA titles, and ports will become less frequent. For that reason, the Nintendo Switch Pro is inevitable, but we will have to wait for Nintendo’s right time of reveal.

Curiously, launching hardware revisions seems to be easier for companies than Sony than it is for Nintendo. As per new rumors, Sony is planning to launch the PS5 Pro as soon as 2023.

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