Although Nintendo still hasn't officially announced a more powerful version of their latest console, rumours about the hybrid next-gen version of Nintendo Switch are becoming increasingly more detailed as we are getting closer to 2021.
The more powerful version of the console was first mentioned back in October of 2018 when The Wall Street Journal claimed that the beefed-up Switch was coming in 2019.
That didn't happen, but the Switch Pro rumours continued nonetheless.
In January of 2019, analysts Dr Serkan Toto (CEO of Kantan Games) and Michael Pachter predicted both "Pro" and "Lite" models of the console.
Switch Lite, a cheaper and handheld-only version of the system (Picture: Nintendo)
And Nintendo Switch Lite was indeed the next Nintendo console, released on the 20th September 2019.
Now, the only missing piece is the stronger "Pro" version of the system.
And while at the start of this year Nintendo confirmed that they have no plans for a new Switch version in 2020, that doesn't mean they have no plans to release it sometime next year.
Over the last several months, various rumours and reports about the upgraded Switch console were circulating around the internet, some more and some less reliable.
Here's everything we know about the Switch Pro (or Switch 2, how some call it) console based on those reports.
Nintendo Switch Pro Release Date
Just as the console itself, the Switch Pro release date is currently just speculation and a topic of several rumours.
Taipei-based the Economic Daily News has reported that the new Switch console could arrive by early next year.
Possibly around March 2021, but these plans might have changed in the meantime given the COVID-19 crisis and world-wide production issues caused by lockdowns, especially in China, the location of many Nintendo factories.
Media Markt, one of the biggest consumer electronics retailer in Europe, has recently updated their online search with multiple mentions of "Switch Pro", which might suggest we could soon get an official announcement of the new console.
(Picture: Media Markt)
It's reasonable to say that we might see a Switch Pro version as early as January 2021, but more realistically around March or April next year.
Maybe even on the console's four-year anniversary (Nintendo Switch was released on 3 March 2017).
Nintendo Switch Pro Specs
When it comes to rumours about the new Switch, the ones about the system's specs are definitely the most inconsistent.
Some are claiming that it will be a modest update to the base version, some that it will be a huge leap forward in hardware.
The most detailed rumour about the new system's specs came from a now-deleted 4Chan post.
4Chan insiders are more often than not just a fake leakers, but they guess things right from time to time.
This particular leaker claimed that the console will pack a custom Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor, a 64GB SSD, 4K video support, and two USB-C ports.
The regular Switch version has Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, a 6.2-inch display with 720p resolution, and 32GB of storage, so this could be quite a big upgrade, if true.
Nintendo Switch Pro might come with a custom Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor (Picture: Nvidia)
Probably the most interesting thing about this 4Chan post was a claim that the Switch Pro would be a TV-only console, and won’t be playable in portable mode, which sounds like a pretty radical change, given that one of the console's key selling points is its portability.
In general, insiders and analysts are predicting that Nintendo will focus more on better power efficiency and less energy consumption, and not that much on raw power.
Starting from August 2019, all new Switch units are being produced with an upgrade to battery life, which was drastically improved from an estimated 2.5 to 6.5 hours to 4.5 to 9 hours, and that's something we can expect with the Switch pro as well.
Switch Pro Graphics (DLSS 2.0, 4K support)
Earlier this year, an interesting Nvidia ad for a Senior Embedded Software Engineer was spotted.
The ad specificated that Software Engineer would work with Tegra Solutions Engineering on "next-generation graphics & AI technologies for gaming consoles and AI edge devices."
This new engineer will work on "solutions to use artificial intelligence in graphics technologies like NVIDIA's DLSS 2.0"
Given that the Switch is currently the only Tegra-powered console, it's quite possible that Nvidia is working on a new GPU for the next-gen Switch, which will support DLSS 2.0.
DLSS 2.0 might drastically improve image quality and resolution(Picture: Nvidia)
Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) is AI technology that offers image quality comparable to native resolution while rendering only one quarter to one-half of the pixels, which could work wonders for consoles that pack less power, like Switch.
In September, a report from Bloomberg suggested that Nintendo has been asking developers to make their games 4K-ready for Switch, which heavily implies that the next Switch console will support 4K resolution.
This sounds almost unbelievable, given that Switch currently have issues even to render 1080p properly, and it is limited to only 720p in handheld mode.
But Bloomberg can be considered to be a reliable source, and so there might be some truth in this report.
With the help of DLSS 2.0 and an improved new revision of the Tegra X1, this might become a reality, at least for a docked mode.
Switch Pro Display (Mini-LED, Dual-screen)
One of the most concrete news about the new Nintendo console came recently from the Economic Daily News.
According to their report, rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro will come next year and it will use Mini-LED technology for its main display.
Economic Daily News claims that Nintendo has plans to part ways with its current screen suppliers, Japanese companies Sharp and Japan Display Corporation (JDI), and that it has already issued to Innolux "a large order for the next generation Switch."
(Picture: Nintendo Life)
The mini-LED display could drastically improve image quality and reduce battery power consumption at the same time.
Unlike traditional LCD backlights, Mini-LED screen has more focused backlighting with a lot of smaller diodes that are less than 0.2mm.
Mini-LED displays can offer deeper and darker blacks, richer colours, and better contrast, all thanks to thousands of small LEDs.
Another interesting thing to notice is that this new version of Switch might have dual-screen, similar to Nintendo DS and 3DS handhelds.
This comes from April's Nintendo Switch firmware update 10.0.0, and if Switch Pro indeed comes with dual-screen, the look of the console as we know it might be drastically different.
New Switch Controller
The Switch Pro might come with a new version of Joy-Con controller as well.
A patent filed by Nintendo talks about a new controller design along with a few images.
The patent is called "Controller for computer," but the pictures are clearly showing the recognizable shape of Switch's Joy-Con with a few changes. The patent is purely about the design, there's no mention of features and new technology that will come with it.
The patent of a new Nintendo controller design (Picture: Nintendo)
What's particularly interesting about this patent is that the design of these controllers implies that Switch Pro will not to have a handheld mode, because they have no bumps on sides, that current Joy-Cons use to connect with the main body of console.
Strangely enough, this supports claims from above mentioned 4Chan leaker, that the new console won't have portable mode.
Nintendo Switch Pro Price
Like almost everything else about the next-gen Switch console, we are entering the realm of speculation when we talk about how much this new console might cost.
Kantan Games' CEO Serkan Toto thinks that the Switch Pro will cost around $399, which aligns nicely with the current price ranges that Nintendo covers, $199 for the Nintendo Switch Lite, and $299 for the base model.
Our guess is that the price might be around $350 so that it can compete with the all-digital PS5 ($400) and Xbox Series S($300).