Rumours of a more powerful Switch SKU have been doing the rounds for what feels like forever, with industry insiders stating pretty emphatically that a “Switch Pro” (or whatever you want to call it) is on the way next year. Given Nintendo’s penchant for refreshing its hardware on a regular basis, this is hardly a shocking development – nor is the fact that the company’s executives refuse to be drawn on such gossip.
In an interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser was asked once again about the possibility of a new Switch console in 2021, and he gave exactly the kind of reply you’d expect:
Let me just break it down. First, we’re always looking at technology. And as we know, technology is constantly evolving and changing. And we’re always looking at what is coming to determine: How can it enhance and improve the gameplay experience? And whether that’s on a current platform, or whether that’s on a future platform, we’re always looking at that.
However, we also see right now — and we just talked about it — that the momentum on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite in the fourth year is strong. And we believe we’re changing the trajectory of another typical console life cycle. And we will continue, for the foreseeable future, to really lean into both of those platforms and the content that comes with it, because it’s the symbiotic relationship that makes the real difference. And it’s why Nintendo Switch is so differentiated.
First, the hardware form factor, obviously, is something — that you have a gaming system that you can play at home as a console, and you can take on the go and play in handheld mode virtually anywhere — is unique and remains unique within the industry. But then the way we build games onto the platform, and the way partners build games onto the platform, is really what matters and the experience that you have when you play. So that’s what we’ll continue to lean into as we go into really what will be the fifth year of Nintendo Switch. And as Mr. [Shuntaro] Furukawa [president of Nintendo] mentioned in his corporate management policy briefing, we believe we’re just at the midpoint of this life cycle on this platform.
Having digested the rather lengthy reply, Polygon queried if the expanded lifespan of the Switch is giving Nintendo the chance to do things little differently this time around, and Bowser agreed:
It allows us to to manage the life cycle differently, I would say. I think that’s the easiest way to put it. Right now, with the momentum that we have, our focus will be on the existing form factors.
So there’s no Switch Pro coming, then? Well, Nintendo’s refusal to confirm upcoming projects has meant precious little in the past and the company will only talk about new hardware on its own terms, and when it’s ready to do so. At the moment, momentum is indeed behind the Switch and Switch Lite, so officially confirming that a new model is on the horizon just before the busiest shopping period of the year wouldn’t make good business sense. However, until more solid evidence is forthcoming, it’s easy to see why so many are sceptical that a Switch Pro is on the way.