For years reports have alleged that Nintendo was working on a more powerful Switch, and for years that has yet to come true. Instead of releasing a Switch Pro with 4K graphics this year as it was rumored, Nintendo announced in July that it would simply be take the current version and slap an OLED screen on it. So what happened to long-standing 4K version? According to Bloomberg, development kits still exist and game companies do.
“By the time Nintendo introduced the new console in July, the company had already distributed the 4K kits to external developers and asked them to design software to support the higher resolution.” Bloomberg reported today. “The Nintendo Switch kit contains additional memory to accommodate debugging software and additional ports to facilitate connection to a computer, but otherwise has capabilities similar to the hardware that customers would have at home.”
This new information is based on testimonials from employees of 11 different game companies, according to Bloomberg. One of those sources includes Zynga, which is currently in development Star Wars: Hunters, a match that has been postponed until 2022.
Nintendo, however, disputes BloombergThe report, calling it “inaccurate”, although refusing to elaborate further, was incorrect. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Kotaku.
Bloomberg, and journalist Takashi Mochizuki in particular, the author of today’s article (and previously with the the Wall Street newspaper), was the source of a number of early reports of Nintendo’s Switch plans dating back shortly after the console’s launch. This included first rumblings around the possible Switch Lite, then a report that Nintendo was also working on an improved model. The first time 4K was mentioned it was in August 2020.
âSpecifications for the new machine have yet to be finalized, although the Kyoto-based company has considered including more computing power and high-definition 4K graphics,â he wrote. at the time.
Things solidified again in March of this year, when Mochizuki reported, according to its sources, that âthe latest model will also feature ultra-high definition 4K graphics when paired with televisions. The main focus of the article was a new OLED display that the upgraded switches would use, but the promise of 4K is what most of the gaming community had hoped for and so hung on.
So when 4K was missing from Nintendo’s new hardware announcement over the summer, people were not just collapsed, they were confused. Some even felt fooled by the seemingly bogus reports.
Product changes, even last minute, are not uncommon in technology. This is especially true in such a tumultuous and disruptive year in the supply chain as the last. In today’s report, which is co-authored by tech writer Olga Kharif and includes contributions from two other journalists, a source said Bloomberg the global component shortage may have delayed Nintendo’s eventual 4K plans. Or it might not be in the cards at all. But it certainly looks like it was in the cards at one point.
“The developers declined to speculate on Nintendo’s plans for another console, but said they plan to release their 4K Switch games during or after the second half of next year,” Bloomberg noted in today’s report.
Of course, by 2022 the Switch will be five years old, and the architecture of the Nvidia Tegra chip it was originally built on will be even older. Whether it ends up having 4K or not, we’ll likely have a true successor to the Switch eventually – and whether it’s a continuation of already successful hardware or something completely new that remains to be seen.