RIP Switch Pro, We Hardly Knew Ye
It was fun while it lasted, but with Nintendo confirming that it's not actively developing a console after the Nintendo Switch OLED, it's finally time to sound the trumpets and give the Nintendo Switch Pro a 21-gun salute. RIP to the Nintendo Switch Pro - we hardly knew ye.
Since the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, this brave little bruiser has combined the best of handheld and home gaming to give Microsoft and Sony a run for their money. While Nintendo's rival forces ahead with the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, the Switch has continued to sell like nobody's business and become the best-selling console of 2020.
What's the rumour of a Nintendo Switch Pro?
Just like the Nintendo DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL helped the beloved seventh-gen console become the second best-selling console of all time, it makes sense that Nintendo deliver a mid-gen refresh to keep the Switch flying off shelves. There was already the handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite, but with whispers of a 4K console that could take on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, we were sold.
Rumours of a Switch Pro have been doing the rounds since January, however, it looks like it was one of the biggest gaming industry cons of all time. Multiple retailers had listings for the Switch Pro, but we were massively undersold. The Switch Pro was tipped to have a beefed-up Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor, 64GB SSD storage, and the all-important 4K support.
If the Switch Pro wasn't already a dream of a console, sketchy specs also suggested a whole host of Bluetooth capabilities that would finally allow Bluetooth wireless headphones without the need for an adapter. Sadly, the Nintendo Switch OLED still doesn't offer this annoyingly absent feature. We were on the money with 64GB of storage, but apart from that, the Switch Pro was just an elaborate hoax. Importantly, the lack of a Switch Pro has given Valve the perfect time to swoop in with the Steam Deck.
What has Nintendo said about the Switch Pro?
Despite the OLED seemingly usurping the Pro as the next on the conveyor, hopeful gamers still held onto a glimmer that the Pro could be out there somewhere. In the wake of the OLED's announcement, peripheral manufacturer SwitchUpG claimed it was poised for a Switch Pro release in 2022.
The final nail in the coffin came via VGC, with the site sharing a statement from Nintendo. The gaming giant rebuffed claims that it was making an increased profit, despite the OLED only costing $10 more to make. Added to this, Nintendo reconfirmed, "We also want to clarify that we just announced that Nintendo Switch(OLED Model) will launch in October 2021, and have no plans for launching any other model at this time".
So there we have it. After months of those at the top refusing to confirm or deny the existence of the Switch Pro, it's officially brown bread. Despite all of this, there are still those who refuse to let the Switch Pro go. Pro champions have pointed to Nintendo making similarly standardised PR statements before, only to deliver hardware revisions at a later date. However, it makes sense that the OLED is the end of the road for now.
We're nearly four years into the Switch's life cycle, and with the Switch 2 (or whatever comes next) presumably coming out within the next four years, it's probably more sensible to look at the future and leave the Switch Pro to die. The Nintendo Switch might be a best-selling juggernaut, but assuming that we've got another four years, it would outlive most previous consoles. The Nintendo 64 survived for six years, GameCube six, the Wii seven, and the Wii U got just five.
Financially, we struggle to see how it makes sense to release the OLED and Switch Pro past the halfway point. Even if the Nintendo Switch OLED isn't the Switch Pro we hoped for, it sounds like you get what you're given. Whether the Switch will be a suitable sidekick for the classic console remains to be seen, but either way, their bigger brother isn't on the cards. RIP Nintendo Switch Pro 2021-2021... you will be missed.