In 2016 the “Nintendo Switch” launched gathering up worldwide appeal. Nintendo was always known for having less powerful consoles but made up for it with a wide catalog of first-party exclusives and innovative gameplay. For this generation of Nintendo consoles, the company did something different. Instead of having a device used exclusively at home, why not have a hybrid that also serves as a portable handheld? Thus, the “Nintendo Switch” was born. Every few months fans stir the pot and try to leak that a Nintendo Switch Pro is in the works that will feature 4k graphics at 60fps. However, whether or not these rumors will ever be true, the real question is: would it even be worth it? Today we will explore that question and follow the signs that point to “No”.
So let’s talk theoretically here. What would be the presumed benefits of having a Nintendo Switch Pro? For starters, most people want a Switch Pro to be capable of 4K. The current generation also targets 60fps as the go-to for a majority of their games. While a 1080P console could be more within our reach, it is possible that it might prove underwhelming due to fan expectations. After all, the previous generation of consoles could already hit 1080p so nothing groundbreaking here.
What games would benefit?
Switch ports tend to be hit or miss much of the time. The more graphically demanding the game, the more cutbacks will need to be done in order for it to run. Rather than having a game run at 1080p, the port might run at a significantly lower resolution. Frame rates are also targeted at 30fps while some games manage to reach 60fps by cutting down on resolution. For anyone that has ever experienced any of the other consoles in that generation, playing a third-party port is not only more expensive but also less satisfying. Even if the game is now portable.
Speaking of Switch ports, the “Nintendo Switch” isn’t always guaranteed to receive ports for upcoming games. When they do, the prices are usually increased while the Xbox/Playstation/PC counterparts are already starting to get cheaper. A Switch Pro is fun to fantasize about but in the long run, it would just be a more expensive upgrade for the sole purpose of playing a limited number of third-party games at a higher resolution. So if third-party ports aren’t the selling point for a Switch Pro then what about first-party exclusives?
Some would argue that it would make Nintendo’s exclusive titles look better. However, Nintendo isn’t the type of company to value graphics. Even the fact that the original Switch wasn’t as powerful as its then, “Next Gen” competitors shows where the company puts their time and effort into. Nintendo games are not about being hyper-realistic but rather having a stylized approach. Because of this, first-party games won’t really benefit from that extra power since they are already optimized to look their best on the Switch.
So what compromises would a Switch Pro need to make in order to become a reality? The “Nintendo Switch Lite” made compromises by removing the ability to dock in exchange for being lighter and more compact. This was perfect for gaming on the go while still being able to play console games. However, the reverse would not be as simple.
One of the possibilities that come with a Switch Pro would be to have it be a home console exclusively. This means dropping the portability in order to fit in all the components that allow it to run at 4k. At this point, it loses the portability functionality that makes it the perfect secondary console. It’s fun to easily swap between docked and portable modes. It’s also fun to take console experiences on the go. However, being able to play console experiences exclusively at home takes away the only reason to buy Switch ports.
The Road to Success
The concept of a Nintendo Switch Pro goes against why the company is so successful in the first place. Nintendo doesn’t run the same race Microsoft and Sony do. It broke away from that years ago after it was being outsold by the “Playstation” and the “Playstation 2“. Because of this, Nintendo tried to be innovative in gameplay rather than powerful in hardware.
The “Nintendo DS” featured two screens with the bottom serving as a touchpad. It gave players a brand new way to experience games and still remains widely popular even after its era came to an end. The “Nintendo Wii” also took a left turn. While the “Xbox 360” and the “Playstation 3” fought neck and neck in the graphics war, the “Nintendo Wii” had motion controls which offered a unique 3rd option.
While the “Wii U” wasn’t as successful as the original Wii, the Switch once again innovated how you play games. Right out of the box you had a handheld console that satisfied the craving for a product similar to the 3DS. It was easily dockable for a more traditional home console. Best of all, the Switch came pre-packaged with a controller that could be split in two. This made it so much more economical to play games with split-screen Co-op and for the most part, erased the need to spend $60 on an additional controller. With so much innovation why even bother to try to get back on the same playing field? These functions make it the perfect secondary console even if you do have an Xbox, a Playstation, or a good PC.
Not really worth it
So is a Nintendo Switch Pro really that necessary? On paper, it sounds like a great idea but in reality, it’s just not worth it. The current “Nintendo Switch” is already the perfect hybrid between portable and home gaming. While the “Nintendo Switch Lite” could get away with being portable, a Switch Pro would only be falling in line with the rest of the consoles. It would go against what makes Nintendo so unique and what made their previous systems successful.