Let’s wind back pre-pandemic, when gamers were spoiled with some incredible titles from the Big N. Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Astral Chain – the list goes on and on. But there was one integral game that began the conversation of Nintendo’s potential to manifest a powerhouse that could both be played at home or on the go. Pokémon Sword and Shield’s lacking performance was met with a critical reception from players that were ready for the hybrid console to make moves that would meet an exceedingly overbearing criteria. The fabled “Nintendo Switch Pro” began to be a talking piece within circles that were high on the subject of the hardware coming to fruition. I mean, without the ability to play your favourite Nintendo franchises in 4K, what’s the point… right?
Enhanced graphical performance that far exceeds its coinciding counterpart? Omission of Joy-cons for the one solid tablet like its miniature version? A Bezel-less OLED screen that runs games at 1080p undocked? An all-round boost to the experience while docked? Forget all that. Well except for the OLED Screen part, we’re getting it but it outputs at a crisp 720p-30fps. You have to remember that pixel density and resolution compression on a smaller screen still looks mighty tasty, and it’s not like the naked eye will be able to tell the difference. Sure it would have been nice to see the Boss version get its bearings through some solid footwork with a higher resolution and frame rate, but that’s the least of our concerns.
Surely we can’t place blame on the worldwide capacitor shortage. This is no rushed-to-market product, this has been in the works for quite sometime. Were Nintendo listening to their loyal fan base? Sure they were, but knew that they had to call it somewhere. The Japanese hardware manufacturer move to the beat of their own drum and aren’t reliant on what Sony or Microsoft have up their sleeve. But I do pose the question of when Nintendo aren’t looking to be the “complementary” console to the PlayStation or XBOX? When does the King dethrone the spoiled prince and reclaim his territory? We’re waiting for that day Nintendo. There is one thing we do know, it’s that the Nintendo Switch still sells gangbusters and needs not to pander to anyone. It really doesn’t matter if they were to strip features (which they did with the Lite), or change the colour of the dock, add a few bells and whistles or even include UberEats to its software, people will still support them – this includes myself.
Why have I pre-ordered the Nintendo Switch OLED? Because I’m a sucker for these things and I love video games. Was it necessary? Not even a little bit. Does it have anything that I can’t already do on my pre-loved unit? Nope. What’s the catch? Why am I so enamoured with wanting this unit? Well first off I love the exclusive aesthetic of the white on black design, which I had grown to appreciate on my PlayStation 5, the extra 2cm’s on the OLED display will make for all the difference while playing Triple-A titles like Metroid: Dread which releases the same day, not to mention Breath of the Wild 2. Yes, everything here spells a direct appraisal for those that play their Switch in handheld mode, so almost a non-negotiable for those that are exclusively docked players, this won’t be on the agenda for them.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. There’s every possibility that Nintendo could come out after October and announce the existence of the legendary “Nintendo Switch Pro”. This could be the ultimate testing bed to commence production on the prophesied upgrade. Would it have been convenient for Nintendo to release a newer iteration of their most successful home console since the Nintendo Wii? I can’t determine that theory without it being put to the test. However, why would Nintendo want to stifle their flourished market? There’s no need for them to flush out their old inventory for new hardware when people are satisfied with what’s on offer. No reason for the Big N to risk a lofty promise of losses from gaining traction in the market after the failure that was the Wii U.
You have to remember that PlayStation 5 units are selling at negative profit, so imagine hardware that’s not only limited due to the capacitor shortage, but costly, affecting Nintendo’s sales strategy and ultimately their turnover, but also fronting consumers with an exorbitant fee? At RRP $549.99, it’s a little rich as it is. It’s questionable to place a premium label on this future version of the Switch, as it entails the guts of the regular, same old device that fans still use as their daily driver. Can’t apply the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” adage, but an aesthetic achievement has been proposed for those that are enticed by somewhat visual improvements from a crisper display. A sharper, vibrant, emphatically saturated experience is promised.
I’m all in. I could have waited, and yes you can wait. There’s no mandate here that demands you to purchase this piece of tech on day one, but I’m sure that if you’re like me, you’ve already slapped down your fitty bones on that sweet OREO Cookie looking model. Doesn’t guarantee a drift fix for the joy-cons, nor does it bode a better CPU or GPU. The Switch OLED model is for the savant, a true connoisseur that appreciates Nintendo hardware regardless of what the gaming conglomerate dishes out. It’s the XL to the 3DS, the Top Loader to the Nintendo Entertainment System, a different iteration of the same hardware with a twist. Unequivocally enable users that have not experienced AAA gaming in handheld to pick up their unit, recline back in their gaming chair and immerse themselves in some visually stunning, sensational escapades. Oh, and the internal network card for wired LAN support should have been on the original dock.
The Nintendo Switch OLED Model releases on October 8, 2021. The unit coincides with the release of Metroid: Dread, which you can now pre-order.