We hear from a surprisingly strong source that, after Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo was planning a mid-generation hardware upgrade…
Digital Foundry, part of Eurogamer, is the industry standard for technical (frame rate, resolution…) analysis of games. During their weekly show, DF Direct, the topic of the Nintendo Switch Pro has come up, which we’ve been hearing (and writing about) in rumor form for years, starting in 2020. We first heard that it would get a custom processor built on Nvidia’s Volta architecture. Bloomberg mentioned that it might even support 4K resolution and have more substantial computing power.
From 2021 onwards, the rumors went into overdrive: an improved handheld mode, Nvidia DLSS support, improved performance and resolution for older games, a bigger dock with Ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports… true, this dock with wired internet connectivity was implemented, as the Nintendo Switch OLED has it, but the USB 3.0 ports were still not included. Later on, a Chinese Switch accessories company hoped that the Nintendo Switch Pro would come in 2022, but it did not materialize in the end.
However, John Linneman, an editor at Digital Foundry (who also runs the DF Retro series), mentioned that, supposedly, the big N was planning a more powerful Switch: “I think at one point internally, from what I can understand from talking to different developers, is that there was some sort of mid-generation Switch update planned at one point, and that seems to be no longer happening. And thus, it’s pretty clear that whatever they do next will be the actual next-generation hardware.” He added it this means a new console is in the works, which could come in 2024, but that’s a prediction on his part. It coincides with one of the rumors linked to Nvidia: the Tegra239 SoC could have an eight-core processor, DLSS support, and ray tracing, and it seems too big a leap, so we should treat it as a new platform, not just an upgrade.
So it is unlikely that the story of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be repeated. It was one of the Switch’s launch titles in March 2017 (but also released on Wii U). However, now comes The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which is due on May 12. Unless Nintendo pushes it back to 2024, there’s no way we’ll get new hardware to go with it.
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