Nintendo finally unveiled its new Switch OLED overnight. And while it certainly looks pretty, the specs are a borderline insult.
There were a lot of rumours leading up to the announcement of this new console. For at least a year the industry has been speculating about the a Nintendo Switch Pro.
In the end we ended up with the Switch OLED, and it’s not difficult to see why the official name doesn’t contain the word ‘pro’.
The biggest upgrade to the console is the 7-inch OLED screen. It’s 0.8-inches larger than the regular Switch and, as the same suggests, has an OLED display.
And this is great – a larger OLED display on a handheld console is lovely. It will will also have double the storage capacity, coming in at 64GB, which was desperately needed.
But this is where the excitement ends.
While there were rumours of Nvidia’s DLSS tech and 4K output to a television, neither turned out to be true.
Nintendo has confirmed that the Switch OLED has the same GPU as the regular Switch. Not only that, it will continue to only display at 720p while handheld and 1080p while docked.
Elsewhere under the hood, the story is similar. The RAM and CPU will also be the same as the original Switch, which came out in 2017.
And as for the battery life, it will be up to nine hours — just like the refreshed Switch, which was released in 2019.
While there will be enhanced audio, it seems like it will be restricted to the console itself. Nintendo has confirmed that the audio experience will remain the same through TV speakers and headphones.
And when asked about improvements for Bluetooth headphone audio, Nintendo had this to say:
“We have nothing to announce on this topic, but like the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite consoles, Nintendo Switch (OLED model) supports Bluetooth tech for the Joy-Con controllers.”
Nothing about this is impressive.
In 2021 the Nintendo Switch sold the most consoles of any company in the world. It also made $US16.6 billion in revenue. The only time it ever brought it more money was in 2008 – 2009 when the Wii was the new kid on the block.
With this in mind, it is downright scandalous that it will be flogging new consoles for $539.95 with such outdated specs. That’s more expensive than the Xbox Series S — a next-gen console that also has Game Pass on its side.
And once you hit the $500 threshold, it’s not just about hardware anymore. Users should also be able to expect considerable updates to software, which doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a thing with the Switch OLED yet. Plus, Nintendo isn’t exactly forthcoming when it does make any software updates to the Switch.
While I don’t expect a Switch to have the same inclusions and capabilities as a Xbox Series X or PS5, this is still all quite insulting.
A new kickstand, ethernet port and improvements to the native screen and audio is not enough. But in saying that, in reality it probably is.
History tells us that despite the minimal upgrades to this console, it will probably still sell like hotcakes.
As of March 31 of this year, 84.59 million Nintendo Switches had been sold worldwide. 28.83 million of those were sold in the 2020 financial alone, largely thanks to COVID-19.
At the end of the day, Nintendo can probably get away with avoiding expensive upgrades and instead change just enough things to make the Switch OLED sell through the roof.
In the very least, people may simply upgrade in the hopes that Joy-Con drift won’t happen this time around.
Am I happy about this?
Do I think this figurative middle-finger to players will impact sales?