Nintendo has been dispelling rumors that it was secretly developing a Switch Pro console for years, but the Japanese giant might finally launch the new gaming device this fall. The upgraded Switch model should compete directly against the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles that launched late last year and offer a significantly improved gaming experience compared to the original model.
A new report says that Nintendo might be on the verge of announcing the new console, with an official reveal expected to drop as soon as mid-June, several months ahead of the expected fall 2021 launch.
Sources familiar with Nintendo’s plans informed Bloomberg that new Switch production might start as soon as July. The release date for the informally named Switch Pro console would follow in September or October. The product’s commercial name is so secret that only “a handful of people within the Kyoto-based company” know it.
Nintendo might unveil the new Switch ahead of the E3 gaming event, which will start on June 12th. This would ensure that publishers can showcase their new Switch games at the event.
The Switch Pro is likely to cost more than $299, the price of the original Switch console. Once launched, the original model will be discontinued, the report notes. But Nintendo will continue to sell the $199 alongside the Switch Lite.
Pricier components and rising labor costs in China are the reasons why Nintendo will have to increase the new console’s price, the report says. The device is expected to feature a 7-inch Samsung OLED display and a faster Nvidia GPU that delivers 4K gaming in docked mode.
Nintendo’s suppliers will start shipping the Switch Pro as soon as July, with production set to peak in the October-December quarter. The report says that the current chip shortage will not impact the new Switch’s supply chain in a similar manner to the PS5 and Xbox. Suppliers are reportedly confident they can meet Nintendo’s orders, as parts for the Switch are subject to less competition. Even so, Nintendo isn’t guaranteed to meet consumer demand, as the chip shortage impacted the Switch earlier this year. Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said earlier this month that the company could not meet the demand for the regular Switch.
Nintendo is yet to confirm the new Switch Pro or announce any details about this rumored launch event.
Other companies are looking to replicate the Switch’s success. A report said a few weeks ago that Qualcomm is looking at this particular type of console form factor. Earlier this week, a different story said that Valve is in the advanced stages of developing a Linux-based handheld console similar to the Switch that could play games from the Steam store. According to the report, the “SteamPal” console might be launched by the end of the year.