In news that is bound to suck the life out of handheld devices’ batteries everywhere, a report from Bloomberg says that Nintendo is looking to release a new version of the Switch next year, and it might support 4K output.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, the plan to hold off any debut until 2021 was largely influenced by the upcoming launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which is likely to suck the oxygen out of the room for any other video game hardware announcements this holiday season. But when the announcement and subsequent launch does come, it will be alongside a “lineup of new games,” which would explain why Nintendo has been relatively quiet in 2020 beyond a few standouts like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Paper Mario: The Origami King. Whatever this new lineup is, it will be “address a wide range of players, from casual gamers seeking small doses of escapism to more devoted fans putting in marathon gaming sessions.”
While the specifications aren’t nailed down yet, Bloomberg’s sources say that 4K resolution is at the top of Nintendo’s priorities. This both is and isn’t surprising, as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are both targeting 4K output themselves, and Nintendo would likely want something comparable tech-wise for third-party games. However, it is surprising that Nintendo would be that invested in having a device that would be along the lines of its competitors, because the company has not traditionally cared about power. In previous generations, such as the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 era, the Wii was demonstrably less powerful than other consoles on the market. And that hasn’t really changed lately, either. The Wii U and Switch haven’t been able to keep up with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One power-wise, so it’s unclear at this point what Nintendo’s game is here.
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Hopefully this new Switch model will be getting a beefed up battery life to go with all this new output, because when the device is in handheld mode, its battery life can be incredibly short depending on the game you’re playing. At its worst, battery life can only last around 2.5 hours on the oldest models, according to Nintendo’s system comparisons webpage. But Nintendo has been upgrading battery life steadily with each new model, with the latest version of the standard system lasting anywhere from 4.5 to nine hours. The handheld-only Switch Lite exists somewhere in between the old Switch models and new ones, with a battery life that lasts from three to seven hours.
While we don’t know what games Nintendo will reveal alongside this hypothetical 4K Switch, we do know there have been reports that the company is working on bringing several of the Super Mario games to Switch as part of the series’ 35th anniversary this year, but we’re in August and there’s been no official word on them yet.