For everyone waiting for the rumored announcement of a new version of the Nintendo Switch, it’s finally happened—except it’s not quite the Switch we’ve all been expecting.
This morning, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch (OLED model), a new model of its hit gaming platform that brings a variety of upgrades over the current hardware. Most obvious from its name is the unit’s new OLED screen, which has been bumped up to 7 inches thanks to a reduction in bezel sizes.
Beyond the bump in screen size and quality, the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) now also features 64GB of internal storage (versus the 32GB of the standard Switch and Switch Lite), “enhanced” speakers, and a higher-quality built-in stand that’ll provide for far more viewing angles. The dock itself is also getting some improvements, as along with a new, speaker design, it’ll now feature a built-in Ethernet port.
The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) is set for release on October 8th at a suggested retail price of $349.99. It will come in two flavors: a white set with white Joy-Con controllers and a white dock, and a neon red/neon blue set with the current red/blue Joy-Cons and a black dock.
So, let’s now deal with the reality of what this means. The rumors talked about a new Switch with an OLED screen, but also said that such a screen would be coming along with beefier hardware as well. This new Switch, obviously, is not a Switch Pro, as none of the rumored hardware that would make the console better for playing games on 4k televisions, or which would help current Switch software hit more consistent frame rates and resolutions, is here. It’s absolutely possible—and, really, probable—that an upgraded Switch of some sort is still coming, but the may be a reason that Nintendo had to change its plans on when it would arrive. (Such as the current chips shortages.) Or, you know, maybe the OLED Switch and Switch Pro were always two separate pieces of hardware from the start, and some of the insiders out there have simply been wrong this entire time.
“We are always looking at technology and how technology can enhance gameplay experiences. It’s not technology for technology’s sake,” Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser tells The Washington Post in a new interview today. “It’s how specifically can technology enhance a gameplay experience. And then where do you apply that technology? Do you want to apply it on current existing hardware or platforms, or do you want to wait for the next platform? And then what’s the right gameplay experience with that? There’s a host of factors that goes into it, and it’s something we’re always looking at.”
“As we enter into our fifth year, Nintendo Switch really is redefining what a console life cycle can look like, and the vibrancy of that overall life cycle with a strong cadence of content,” he adds.
And, while we can’t say we were holding our breath for such a move, it is disappointing on some level that the new OLED model seems to use the same standard Joy-Cons we’ve had this entire time—which means it too will likely suffer from analog stick drift issues. Unfortunately, given the current technology all three console companies currently use, fixing that problem is going to take a lot more effort than we’re likely to see anytime soon.