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OLED Nintendo Switch will give graphics performance a huge boost

Published Mar 23rd, 2021 4:19PM EDT
Nintendo Switch Pro
Image: Nintendo

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Nintendo is about as secretive as Apple when it comes to hardware, but in recent weeks, reports about an upgraded Switch model have begun to crop up with increasing frequency. The latest once again comes from Bloomberg, which claims that Nintendo is going to bring a more powerful Nvidia chip to the next Switch that will allow for better graphics and faster processing speeds — two areas where the Switch trails the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Sources familiar with Nintendo’s plans tell Bloomberg that the new Switch will support Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), which is a rendering technology that uses artificial intelligence to increase graphics performance by upscaling the image. In addition to featuring an OLED display, the next Switch will reportedly be able to reproduce 4K visuals while plugged into a TV. The original Switch model maxes out at 1080p while docked.

“The US company’s new chipset will also bring a better CPU and increased memory,” Bloomberg’s Takashi Mochizuki and Ian King report. “DLSS support will require new code to be added to games, so it’ll primarily be used to improve graphics on upcoming titles, said the people, including multiple game developers.”

While a faster processor will undoubtedly be a boon for older games, but unreleased games will benefit the most from DLSS support. The Switch will never have the power to match the latest offerings from Sony and Microsoft, but simply having third-party games look and run well on the console would be an improvement.

In terms of pricing, an OLED-equipped Switch capable of 4K gaming will likely cost more than the original model. The Switch Pro will cost at least $50 more than the original Switch, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s analyst Matthew Kanterman, who writes: “$349.99 will increase the value proposition of the device, but I still think Nintendo can drive strong demand even at $399.99.” In other words, a $100 price bump might be most likely.

Cobbling together the most credible rumors, the new Switch model with a 7-inch OLED display, upgraded Nvidia chip, and DLSS support should be available before the end of the year for $349 – $399.

At this point, the bigger mystery revolves around the games that release during the launch window of the new Switch. The only other first-party games confirmed for 2021 that have yet to be released are New Pokemon Snap, Mario Golf: Super Rush, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, and both the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes. None of these games are expected to push the limits of the Switch’s processor, and it’s unclear if they are being developed to take advantage of anything the new Switch model will bring to the table this fall.

Hopefully, Nintendo will have more to say about missing games like Metroid Prime 4, Splatoon 3, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild before the new Switch is announced.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.