Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Nintendo Switch Pro: analysts in conflict over a 2021 version

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It’s a new year, and a new round of gaming announcements is on the horizon – and many believe one of the biggest will be the release of an updated Switch model, the Switch Pro. As rumors continued to circulate, IGN asked several industry analysts for their predictions on the subject.

the Nintendo Switch is approaching its fourth year of production, but rumors that several Switch upgrades have held Nintendo since at least 2019 when several reports claimed that Nintendo was working on new upgraded Switch models beyond the base unit and the Switch Lite.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019, Nintendo was planning further Switch updates to extend the system’s lifecycle, and supply chains have suggested there are plans for ‘improved’ models with better features and displays.

That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a “Switch Pro” – after all, Nintendo has already released a Updated SKU Switch with longer battery life, but components and functionality similar to the base model.

When analysts speculate on what features a Switch Pro will or should include, it typically centers around processing power and the ability to play high-resolution, if not 4K, games. Analysts and observers have pointed out that when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launch, Nintendo will need a more powerful device to maintain parity with third-party games and developers.

There are also additional factors that were not present in 2019 that should be considered in future Nintendo hardware plans, namely the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Sony and Microsoft analysts and console producers said that a pandemic could cause material delays for the foreseeable future, and the new software scheduled for 2021 is already postponed or delayed.

It is also necessary to take into account the huge success that Nintendo sees with the current Nintendo Switch. Console sales have consistently exceeded expectations, and the Switch has been the best-selling console for two consecutive years. With this kind of momentum, some analysts do not see a pressing need to introduce a “Pro” model.

That said, here’s what top analysts think about the possibility of a Switch Pro in 2021.

Serkan Toto; Kantan Games – “ I think a Switch Pro will arrive in the second half of 2021 ”

Toto, a Tokyo-based industry consultant, has been a staunch supporter of a Switch Pro for years and believes that 2021 is the right time for a Switch Pro to build on the financial success of the current Switch model, but also to support sales in the future.

In 2020, the president of Nintendo himself ruled out the possibility of a Pro launch that year. It was January, so Covid had no influence

I think the momentum was already so great that Nintendo didn’t need a Pro model to support sales.

Fast forward to today, and the momentum is still there, but I think four years after the original model launched, now is the time to cool off.

Nintendo doesn’t compete directly with Sony or Microsoft, but they do need third-party support and need to make sure that the technology divide between the Switch and next-gen consoles doesn’t make it too difficult to create ports for it. the Switch.

It’s also a crucial factor in extending the lifecycle of the device: according to the president of Nintendo himself, the Switch is now in the middle of its lifecycle, so a new upcoming model would make sense in that. perspective.

I think a Switch Pro will arrive in the second half of 2021, and just as the Lite launched with a new Zelda, the Pro is set to debut with a hit title.

A key differentiator will be 4K support: I know nobody needs to see Pikachu in 4K, but Zelda and a bunch of other games would look so much better in higher resolution.

The 25 best Switch games (fall 2020 update)

Michael Pachter; Wedbush Securities – “I would be wrong on the ‘no’ side for this year”

Longtime analyst and industry figure Pachter is more cautious and says there will be no new model this year. However, Pachter isn’t completely ruling out a new Switch model either.

It’s a close call. Nintendo doesn’t “need” a new model, since the current Switch is selling so well. More likely, it’ll introduce a new model at the same time it cuts the price of the old one, or more likely, keep the Switch Lite and cut it down to around $ 149 with the Switch Pro replacing the normal Switch at $ 299.

I’d be mistaken on the ‘no’ side for this year, mainly because they had been out of stock on Switch for so long and have chosen to ramp up production. However, I think we’ll see a new one next year.

David Cole; DFC Intelligence – “ Nintendo can accomplish a lot of things just by making minor changes ”

Cole of DFC Intelligence, a US-based strategic marketing firm, not only believes that a Switch Pro is unlikely in 2021, but analysts and observers should reconsider what a “Switch Pro” will look like. Rather than a massive technological leap with 4K graphics, Cole suggests the Switch Pro will be iterative similar to the Nintendo upgraded battery model released in 2019 alongside the Switch Lite.

Normally, we don’t like to speculate on unannounced products like a Switch Pro, but in this case, I’m willing to say publicly that I think there’s unlikely to be a major new console from Nintendo in the pipeline. 2021. However, there may be some tweaking to the existing Switch. Whether that’s enough to call it a “new system” or even a Switch Pro, I think it’s unlikely.

There are a lot of reasons there isn’t a rush to launch a radical new Nintendo console, but I think the main reason is that it doesn’t make a whole lot of business sense.

With companies like Nintendo, new hardware systems are always in development, so rumors are rife. The bottom line, however, is that Nintendo doesn’t need to launch a new hardware product on the market. The COVID situation has dramatically changed the market. Nintendo has struggled to meet an unprecedented demand for manufacturing its current Switch system. They are currently catching up, but manufacturing is still risky in this environment as it’s hard to predict if a push could slow things down again. Given this situation, it doesn’t make sense to risk trying to start making a completely new system.

If you go online, you can see all kinds of bundles for Switch hardware, some up to $ 500. Not just bundled games but different colors and different themes like Animal Crossing or Fortnite where they can charge a bounty.

The beauty of the Switch is that it is also a mobile device. This means that a Switch-owner family will likely need two or more Switch consoles for each family member to play. So there is still a lot of sales potential among the current installed base.

A new Switch Pro-like system would essentially be a way to get existing Switch owners to upgrade. However, there are more cost effective ways for Nintendo to accomplish this. Software and services are much more profitable for Nintendo than new hardware, which has a high initial cost during the initial manufacture. Nintendo’s goal is to generate more revenue per user. Obviously, a Switch Pro would do this on a gross basis, but it would take money away from their existing users who otherwise could purchase more profitable software and services.

Much of the hype goes back to people expecting a whole new Switch system over upgrades to the existing system.

It’s a long way to say that there could be an improved Switch in 2021, but consumers expecting a drastic change will likely be disappointed. Nintendo has already made several Switch hardware updates to take advantage of technological improvements. I hope they will continue to do so. For marketing purposes, they can call it a Switch Pro, but I think if they do, consumers will be disappointed, so Nintendo might not go that route.

What many seem to speculate as the Switch Pro / Switch 2 is a powerful system that supports 4K and more. This is what I think is unlikely. From a business standpoint, Nintendo can accomplish a lot of things just by making minor changes. How this system is called a Switch Pro or a new system is the problem.

Our bet on Nintendo is that we’ll see a great new line of software that looks to take advantage of home controls that are driving video game sales.

Nintendo has often kept its hardware plans close to the chest, making it difficult to predict what the company will do next. Consider the jump from the GameCube to the Wii and then to the Switch.

While our analysts overall agree that the Nintendo Switch cannot remain static, opinions differ both on the timing of the release of new Switch models, on what features the new “Pro” Switch might include.

With so many questions still, and a whole year ahead, do you think a Switch Pro will be likely in 2021? And if so, will it be a full 4K upgrade or something more modest?

Matt TM Kim is a reporter for IGN.


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