With the recent discovery of a reference to the new model of the Nintendo Switch by dataminers, fans have been speculating whether it could be the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro. Although Nintendo has yet to make an official announcement regarding the upgraded model of the Nintendo Switch, its potential price could be a breaking point for Nintendo’s current demographic.
As Nintendo thrives with competitive prices against the hardware titans in PlayStation and Xbox, the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro could potentially impact its sales to its current market. If the Nintendo Switch Pro is announced at some time in the future, it’s likely that its price could be a deciding factor in its success or failure.
For the longest time now, Nintendo has carved out a specific market for itself with its consoles. Rather than competing with PlayStation and Xbox in the latest hardware upgrades, Nintendo has seen success by targeting a demographic that’s more concerned with accessibility and an affordable price range. That philosophy is exemplified by the success of the Nintendo Switch, with its ability to function as both a home and portable console. Despite having weaker hardware, the Nintendo Switch excels at being easy to use, and its ability to pick up and play is unmatched.
One of the biggest reasons that fans doubt the existence of the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro is that there is simply no need for it. After all, the Nintendo Switch remains wildly popular despite being nearly four years old. The Nintendo Switch even outsold the PS5 during the latter’s launch month despite being a generation behind. Perhaps the most obvious reason for this success is that its price point of $299 USD attracts a variety of consumers, even those that already have a PlayStation or Xbox. Along with a fantastic list of first-party titles, Nintendo has thrived on its reputation as affordable, midrange consoles like the Nintendo Switch.
As a result, if the Nintendo Switch Pro contains enough hardware upgrades to warrant an increase in price, then Nintendo’s current market of players looking for cheaper alternatives may be impacted greatly. Either the Nintendo Switch Pro has to market itself as a competitor to PlayStation and Xbox with its hardware or the new model will have minor, incremental upgrades so it can keep its original price. If Nintendo plans to reveal the Nintendo Switch Pro, it’ll not only need to justify the price, but ensure that current Nintendo Switch owners have a reason to upgrade.
While Nintendo has yet to confirm the existence of a new model of the Nintendo Switch, dataminers were able to find some information about a new retail model for the Nintendo Switch codenamed “Aula.” The biggest upgrade appears to be an updated display of some sort that is tied to a new manufacturer. Although it’s impossible to tell whether the display will be a minor upgrade to mini-LED or a major upgrade to OLED, it’s clear that any potential price increases will depend on the Nintendo Switch’s display upgrade. Though rumors of an OLED screen have been popular amongst fans recently, OLED screens are still very expensive to produce, and would increase the retail price of the Nintendo Switch dramatically.
Another interesting datamined upgrade was potential 4K support on the Nintendo Switch. Although there was no confirmation of the display changing resolution itself, a number of rumors have popped up regarding the ability to upscale the Nintendo Switch’s resolution. If this is the case, the new Nintendo Switch model will likely use DLSS upscaling in order to display 4K resolution instead of native rendering. While 4K upscaled support might not increase the price of the Nintendo Switch, it’ll still need hardware upgrades like better cooling and faster clocks in order to keep up. As a result, these minor hardware upgrades could also increase the price of the potential Nintendo Switch Pro.
Regardless of what hardware features will be implemented on the Nintendo Switch Pro, Nintendo will have to tread carefully with its pricing. The biggest issue is that Nintendo has never released an upgraded version of a home console before. While Nintendo has released upgraded versions of its handheld consoles like the GameBoy and Nintendo DS, none of these upgrades have ever increased the MSRP price drastically. At this point in time, fans who are familiar with Nintendo attribute the low cost of its consoles with its biggest benefits. If the Nintendo Switch Pro becomes the first upgraded version of a home console, its pricing could be a potential breaking point for Nintendo’s sales.
The current Nintendo Switch costs $299 USD which is much cheaper than its competitors PS4 at $399 USD and Xbox One at $499 USD. If the price of the Nintendo Switch Pro only went up by $20 or $30, it’d likely not be a big deal. After all, previous handheld Nintendo consoles experienced minor price increases to match up to their hardware upgrades. On the other hand, the current rumors surrounding the Nintendo Switch Pro seem to imply more expensive upgrades such as an OLED screen or better processor speeds. While these would be great upgrades to have, none of the upgrades are able to match up to the hardware of the PS4 and Xbox One. It would be difficult to convince current Nintendo Switch owners to upgrade their consoles if the Nintendo Switch Pro didn’t offer significant hardware improvements.
Moreover, the fact that Nintendo has cultivated its brand around cheaper alternatives could directly affect potential sales of an upgraded Nintendo Switch Pro. The target audience Nintendo has built is concerned about accessibility and pricing over the latest hardware. An updated OLED screen or 4K capabilities are great potential upgrades but unless the Nintendo Switch Pro retains a similar price to the original Nintendo Switch, fans will likely be uninterested.
As a result, pricing becomes the biggest issue for the potential Nintendo Switch Pro. If the pricing is too high, it alienates Nintendo’s current target audience who are concerned about affordability and ease of use. Most likely, these datamined upgrades signify silent updates to the current model of the Nintendo Switch rather than an upgraded console. While the existence of the Nintendo Switch Pro isn’t completely ruled out, there are too many disadvantages in its potential pricing model that would negatively impact Nintendo’s sales.
A new model of the Nintendo Switch is rumored to be in development.