Gaming Evolution: Making the Case for the Nintendo Switch Pro in 2024

Written by admin December 28, 2023

The Nintendo Switch burst onto the gaming scene in 2017, offering a revolutionary hybrid home/portable console experience.

Over 100 million units sold later, it remains one of the most popular consoles ever released.

However, with rival next-gen offerings from Sony and Microsoft raising the graphical benchmark, I believe that Nintendo could release an upgraded “Switch 2” model going into 2024.

Processing Power and Graphics

The current Switch utilizes Nvidia’s custom Tegra X1 processor, which was cutting-edge technology in 2017.

However, it struggles to match the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

An upgraded CPU/GPU would enable 4K graphics when docked, bringing Nintendo closer to parity with Sony and Microsoft.

Potential upgrades for a Switch 2 processor include:

* Nvidia’s latest Tegra chipset (Parker or Orin)

* Customized AMD processor similar to Steam Deck

* DLSS integration for AI-powered upscaling

* Implementing Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology could also help a Switch 2 match the native 4K output of rival consoles.

* DLSS uses AI to upscale lower-resolution graphics to 4K without a substantial performance hit.

* With significantly faster base hardware and DLSS, a Switch 2 could output impressive 4K visuals when docked while retaining better battery life for portable play.

Improved Battery Life

The original Switch’s maximum battery life caps out at around 5–9 hours, depending on the game and settings.

For a portable-focused console, this falls well short of expectations.

Nintendo could take inspiration from the Steam Deck and leverage advanced power management and lower-nanometer chips to substantially extend on-the-go playtime.

Upgrades might include:

More advanced 40nm or 28nm chip manufacturing

Customized power management firmware

Higher-density battery technology

With these upgrades, battery life for a Switch 2 could hit the 7–10 hour range if things are looking good, allowing for possible lengthy travel gaming sessions.

Timing of a Potential 2024 Release

Analysts debate whether 2024 is the right timeframe for launching a Switch successor versus a simple mid-generation upgrade like the Switch OLED.

Nonetheless, 2024 holds some compelling reasoning from both strategic and component availability standpoints.

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Maturing Console Cycle

By 2024, the normal console cycle maturity suggests sales of PS5, Xbox Series X, and Switch will naturally decline without newer/upgraded models available.

Releasing a shiny upgraded Switch in 2024 would enable Nintendo to restart momentum later in the cycle.

Supply Chain Improvements

The global chip shortage has severely constrained the production of current-gen consoles. However, component supplies are projected to steadily improve through 2023. An upgraded Switch launching in 2024 would sidestep supply issues faced by earlier consoles.

4K Adoption Rates

Although 4K television adoption continues growing rapidly, standard 1080p TVs currently still dominate households globally.

If Nintendo timed the Switch 2 launch for 2024 or later, 4K capability would match the install base of supporting televisions.

Strong First-Party Game Support

While hardware specs are crucial, software sells systems.

Nintendo enjoys arguably the strongest first-party software lineup amongst console manufacturers.

Series like The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Smash Bros, Splatoon, and more move millions of console units.

A sampling of major Switch game franchises that could drive Switch 2 hardware adoption include:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

New 3D Mario platformer

Mario Kart 9

Super Smash Bros Ultimate sequel

Splatoon 3 sequel

Metroid Prime 4

These system-selling franchises can drive multi-million unit sales on nostalgia and brand recognition alone. Combined with upgraded Switch 2 capabilities, Nintendo’s first-party games could propel the console to new heights.

Stiff Competition in the Console Market

While Nintendo’s software lineup and hybrid console portability stand out from the competition, both Sony and Microsoft are heating the console battle as well.

The capabilities of the PS5 and Xbox Series X pose an existential threat if Nintendo falls too far behind in technological capabilities.

PlayStation 5 Powerhouse

The PS5 features genre-defining exclusives like God of War: Ragnarok alongside cutting-edge graphics and near-instant load times. PlayStation also continues investing heavily in critical and fan-adored franchises like Spider-Man, The Last of Us, Gran Turismo, and more.

Xbox Game Pass with Activision Blizzard

Xbox may lack the sheer number of exclusives but more than compensates with Game Pass — a Netflix-style gaming subscription with hundreds of downloadable games playable on many platforms.

Microsoft’s concluded $69 billion acquisition of Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard will further boost Game Pass with more hit games going into 2024, and I am excited to potentially see Game Pass hit the Nintendo Switch ecosystem in 2024.

Given Sony and Microsoft’s increasingly dominant positions, Nintendo faces growing pressure to substantially upgrade Switch hardware to stay competitive.

Conclusion: Bold Move or Wait and See?

Considering the massive success but aging components of the original Switch, Nintendo has difficult decisions regarding if/when to release upgraded hardware.

While 2024 holds compelling reasons around console lifecycles, component availability, and software pipelines, a conservative “wait and see” approach has also served Nintendo well historically.

After all, they do usually subvert expectations with their new releases.

Ultimately, with strong new offerings from the competition, Nintendo must walk a tightrope balancing bold investment in more powerful (and more expensive) hardware versus maximizing profit on proven older designs.

If PlayStation and Xbox continue aggressively pushing technology and market share post-pandemic though, 2024 could be the year Nintendo finally makes an undeniably bold move with a Switch 2.