Talking Point: Nintendo Switch OLED Model Looks Lovely, But May Also Disappoint


© Nintendo

Well, after over two years of speculation, Nintendo has finally unveiled the new Nintendo Switch, simply called the OLED model that’s due to arrive on 8th October. It falls in line with some of the more recent rumours, offering a larger and higher quality screen – at 720p resolution – along with some other quality of life improvements like a wider and more flexible kickstand, a LAN / ethernet port on the new dock and improved speakers.

Now, let’s be completely clear about what this isn’t, it isn’t a ‘Pro’ model. Nintendo gives no indication in any materials that it’ll have improved performance in any way; the TEGRA chip may even be exactly the same as the 2019 ‘Mariko’ iteration that boosted battery life, with OLED screen efficiency likely balanced out by the larger size. The branding and messaging here is simple – games will be the same.

If this feels familiar, that’s because it is. In E3 week we did an article asking “what if Nintendo just released a basic Switch XL?”; the OLED is arguably a notch up from being a simple ‘XL’, but it’s miles off other fanciful rumours. As we highlighted in that article, a lot of the same ‘sources’ and ‘rumours’ of the past few months were repeating similar claims first seen in 2019. Talk of 4K output and enhanced capabilities were bouncing around back then, and what happened was the aforementioned ‘soft’ iteration, where a new version of the GPU was simply more efficient but the end-user experience, ie how we play games, remained unchanged.

And so the pattern has repeated. Aspects of recent reports were on the money – a new model, a 7-inch screen. Other parts of the rumours, all of those about improved capabilities, were wide of the mark. As was the case two years ago, what’s likely happened is a mix of sources leaking legitimate details about new screens ready for construction, while also mixing in some fanciful claims. Part wish fulfilment perhaps, fuelled by the idea that Switch needs more power to maintain third-party support as the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S era takes hold.

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