It’s not a straight-up successor to the OG Nintendo Switch. Instead, it’ll likely pack in some updated internals and support 4K gaming…

All the headlines of late have been focussed around the PS5 and new Xbox console. But that could all change in a matter of months, following rumors that Nintendo is prepping for the release of the Nintendo Switch Pro in 2021.

Industry analysts, speaking at Games Industry, predict a new Switch console will launch in 2021, picking up where the OG Switch left off and adding in beefier internals and support for 4K gaming.

The twist, however, will be that the console remains largely the same – at least on the outside.

Internally, it will support 4K gaming in docked mode via upscaling technology and a new 720p OLED display made by Samsung for handheld gaming.

The Nintendo Switch Pro is NOT The Nintendo Switch 2

This rumored Nintendo Switch Pro is not a straight-up sequel to the original Switch. Rather, it is a refinement of it. A full-fat sequel to Nintendo’s ultra-popular Switch console isn’t expected for a couple of years.

The Nintendo Switch Pro will support 4K gaming and beefier internals, meaning better performance and more power, according to the analysts. To date, one of the biggest criticisms leveled at Nintendo is that its Switch uses such low resolution for its games.

Adding in support for 4K gameplay on the Nintendo Switch Pro will satisfy most users and keep existing Nintendo fans happy until we get a fully-fledged sequel to the Switch.

Still, Nintendo execs are cagey about any new developments with the Switch. One told Polygon that the Switch was at the “midpoint” of its lifecycle. He added that the company was in “no rush” to replace it.

However, Nintendo has been asking its developers to support 4K TVs in dock-mode, so that’s certainly something. Why else would it do this if it weren’t planning a 4K model in 2021? Simple: it wouldn’t.

Nintendo Switch Pro Specs

Nothing is known about the specs for this rumored new console from Nintendo. But given that it will support 4K gaming, we have to assume it will carry a lot more RAM and a new CPU.

And given the strength of the chip market right now, as well as the advent of 5G, Nintendo is well placed to have its pick of the litter.

On the subject of 5G, there is a chance we could see this added too. This would future-proof the Switch Pro, adding plenty of capabilities for improved on-the-go gaming.

Will Nintendo Switch Pro Have 5G? 

Here’s a statement on 5G from Nintendo exec Ko Shiota from 2019:

“5G can send a large amount of data without latency. We are aware that this technology has been gaining a lot of attention, and Nintendo is also investigating it. However, we don’t only chase trends in technology. When considering what to offer in our entertainment and services, we think about both how the technology will be applied to gameplay and what new experiences and gameplay we can offer consumers as a result of that application. Cost is also an extremely important factor when it comes to 5G. It’s difficult to use even an outstanding technology if the cost is too high, so we will continue to also thoroughly investigate the cost of new technologies.”

Nintendo Switch Pro Will Outsell PS5 / Xbox In 2021

Ampere Analysis’ Piers Harding-Rolls is also extremely bullish about Nintendo’s sales and market share for 2021. According to the analyst, many had written off the Switch in 2021, claiming it would run out of steam.

However, Harding-Rolls is confident that we’ll see a Nintendo Switch Pro model launched in 2021 and this, combined with Nintendo’s already very impressive sales and market penetration, could see it outselling both the PS5 and Xbox Series X once again this year.

Harding-Rolls is now including the Nintendo Switch Pro in his 2021 forecasts. That’s not an official confirmation. But it is about as close as we’ll get ahead of an official announcement from Nintendo.

As for when we’ll see this new model, Nintendo is rumored to be looking to get the Nintendo Switch Pro out during the first half of 2021, a rumor that has been doing the rounds since late-2019.

If true, this means we don’t have long to wait until an official announcement or, as is often the case ahead of launches, more concrete leaks appear online.

Either way, 2021 is shaping up to be a good year for Nintendo fans…