Surprisingly, this story took an unexpected turn this week as sources for The Wall Street Journal of Japan came out with a release window for what is said to be the next model of Nintendo Switch consoles coming some time during the second half of 2019. In reality, this rumor is essentially three rumors in one. We have had a draft of this article since last Friday but waited on finishing it since there are more details needed and a general aura of confusion as outlets seem to confuse the various rumors, melding them into one.
On the one hand there are likely to be two revisions meant to silently replace the original Nintendo Switch hardware but look and perform identically. This is to reduce hacking of the system. One of those revisions has already been made and feature no new parts but instead a simple addition of code to microchips which were previously laying dormant in the Switch, perhaps waiting for this inevitable need to protect it against hardware exploits found within its main system chip.
However, the biggest and most exciting rumor is that of a “New Nintendo Switch” perhaps known to many in the underground as a Switch Pro said to house double the RAM as the original Switch, a 4K Graphics Rendering capability (while docked, 1080P in handheld mode), and increased CPU power thought to be enabling more third party titles to release for the Switch platform, albeit potentially exclusive to this new model.
And thus brings up the most confusing part of this rumor. Will Nintendo really split their ecosystem into two lineups of games? If so, how will fans react to it? So far mega fans like SwitchForce and their audience have been mostly against this possibility stating a feeling of “betrayal” if the rumors turn out to be true. Overall, much of the popular opinion is that this could just all be a little too soon, but did hackers force the hands of Nintendo?
With Nintendo Switch currently hacked and open to piracy (without the chance of updates fixing it) we’ve been waiting for the hybrid handheld / home console gaming device to be silently replaced with a hardware revision. The fact that it hasn’t happened yet could suggest that the exploit discovered in NVIDIA’s Tegra chipset cannot be easily remedied.
As we saw with PSP and Vita, piracy of a game system so early in its life span can lead to third party developers losing faith in a platform. Thankfully only a small percent of gamers are aware and / or willing to partake in such Switch hacks at this time, which can lead to accounts being banned and even game cartridges being locked out of online functionality forever.
First and foremost, this one may not end up coming true. Even if it does, it could take a while. However, there is substantial evidence surfacing regarding a new Nintendo Switch unit coming to the market. This unit could address both the hacked Switch issue as well as the demand for even more third party titles like Destiny 2, Overwatch, and next year’s Resident Evil 2 (the 2019 Remake announced during PlayStation E3 2018). It could even bring 4K Gaming to the home experience of Nintendo Switch.
Even before The Wall Street Journal of Japan’s posting, the sources for this rumor have been strong, but will this move ultimately end up upsetting fans? That remains to be seen. Over a month ago ReviewTechUSA reported on industry insider Marcus Sellars dropping the bombshell in a now deleted tweet, with many discussions taking place after the fact. I don’t blame him there, since a lot can be debated about this information aside from it just being true or false. If the Switch family of game consoles is to change in such a drastic way, there are countless ways it could be done.
New Nintendo Switch would use an NVIDIA Tegra 2 SOC with enough power to hopefully provide 4K Gaming when docked as well as allow for harder to develop games to be ported over to the system with less work on the part of developers. That means no more port-begging from Switch fans – if they upgrade. Oculus is also working on a VR solution for the Switch, which could greatly benefit from a New Nintendo Switch.
Here are some highlights of the specs expected:
- NVIDIA Parker Chip (AKA Tegra X2)
- 8GB LPDDR4 RAM
- 64GB Internal Storage
- 4K Output (docked), 1080P Output (handheld)
- Improved battery life / memory bandwidth / processing power
Additional rumors surrounding the Nintendo Switch lately:
- More affordable Switch supposedly in development with JoyCons that cannot be removed (seems counter-intuitive to the design, might be a false rumor)
- Nintendo Switch 4K upgrade dock for normal Switch units (might not be practical, and performance add-ons are historically unsuccessful at market)
Nintendo Switch would continue to receive all first party Nintendo exclusive games, with none of them being exclusive to the “New Nintendo Switch” AKA “Switch Pro” model. It would also be likely to see a slight hardware revision if NVIDIA can finally fix their exploit, locking out hackers and repackaging the base model Switch as a cheaper, family-friendly model in the Switch Family.
But if this model is introduced too soon, at too high of a cost, or without a substantial amount of games to promote it, this could backfire and upset the fans they have won over with the system. It seems a risky move considering that the Wii U was a major failure in business terms and Nintendo has done well to take the world by storm with Switch. New Nintendo 3DS was seen to have almost no exclusive games, and even though it didn’t upset gamers, it was also released 4 full years after the original Nintendo 3DS.
In the end, Nintendo may have been forced into rushing the decision to design such a product, and are surely having a hard time considering when or if it should be released any time soon. The hacking issue hasn’t gotten out of hand yet in terms of affecting sales, but third party confidence is an issue to keep in mind. Strangely enough, Nintendo was also considering a 3DS Successor at some point which could use the Game Boy branding. We will see where this one goes, until then – keep it real, keep it gaming!