After reports surfaced last year that Nintendo would be producing a new Switch model capable of 4K output this year, a new story from Bloomberg has some more specifics about the long-rumored new version of the handheld/console hybrid.
According to the report, the new model will launch in 2021, and include a 7-inch OLED screen that runs at 720p resolution courtesy of Samsung. This is a little bit bigger than either of the Switch models currently on the market, as the original device has a 6.2-inch 720p LCD screen, with the Switch Lite having the smallest screen at 5.5-inch 720p LCD screen. So if you’re playing in handheld mode, there’s not going to be a resolution update. However, Bloomberg’s report says the new device will apparently be able to output to 4K if docked and connected to a 4K-compatible TV.
Bloomberg’s sources say the new Switch model will begin production sometime in June, and will go on sale by the holiday season. Fingers crossed that after the fiasco that was the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 launches, Nintendo might have something in place to avoid shortages.
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While there’s not much information in the way of specs, hopefully the new Switch model might also help games run better across the board. The Switch is only four years old, but it’s still not powerful enough to run a lot of modern console games. Certainly not ones coming to the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. Even Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which was shown off at the end of February, was chugging something fierce when it was revealed. Granted, that game is still a year out, but it does make you wonder if the Switch Nintendo launched in 2017 could use an upgrade. By this point in the PlayStation 4’s lifetime, the PlayStation 4 Pro had been out for a year, having launched three years after the original console was released in 2013.
As hardware revisions become a more common occurrence in console lifetimes, developers have to be more conscious of how well games run on different versions of the same device. Near the end of the PS4 and Xbox One’s life cycles, some games ran demonstrably worse on the original console. A recent notable example included Control, which Digital Foundry said “can see prolonged frame-rate drops in sustained combat, dropping all the way down to 10 frames per second at its absolute worst.” So we might see some performance disparity on Switch games when the new model is on the market.
Nintendo has had some experience making games exclusive to updated hardware. Such as Minecraft, which only worked on the New Nintendo 3DS. So it’s possible some games might just not be playable on the original Switch. If the new system is coming this holiday season, we’ll likely hear more concrete information on it in the coming months.