Will the Switch Pro be a True Upgrade? Making Sense of the Info That Has Emerged Since the Switch Lite Announcement

Will the Switch Pro be a True Upgrade? Making Sense of the Info That Has Emerged Since the Switch Lite Announcement

Even with a new Lite model out, folks are still whispering about an upgraded Switch.

The Nintendo Switch Lite has been announced, but murmurs have still been circling about a second, potentially more powerful Switch console. While Nintendo shot that idea down, there seems to be an updated version of the Switch on the way—a hardware update to the base model, rather than a complete revision.

There have been reports going since March of two hardware revisions to the Switch. The Nintendo Switch Lite has been confirmed as one, but the second is more nebulous and reports have had trouble pegging down what exactly it is until recently. Let's take a look at where it started, all the way up to where we are now.

The Initial Switch Pro Reports

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that two new Switch models were on the way. While one version was a cheaper option that WSJ's sources say Nintendo sees "as a successor to its aging hand-held 3DS device," the other would have more enhanced features targeted at "avid videogamers," though not as powerful as a PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X. The report drew a distinction.

"You would be wrong to think the enhanced version is similar to what Sony did with PS4 Pro and the other is just a cheap alternative that looks very similar to some past hand-held machines, say, Sony's PlayStation Vita," a source told the Wall Street Journal at the time.

A day later, Eurogamer followed up with its own report on the two models. Confirming the WSJ's article, Eurogamer was told the cheaper version of the Switch-what we now know to be the Switch Lite-was meant to recapture the same value proposition of the 2DS. Meanwhile, they got another detail about the souped-up Switch version, reaffirming it wouldn't be a major upgrade but more comparable to the 3DS and New 3DS relaunch.

The Switch Lite is Revealed, But What About the Switch Pro?

Things were then mostly quiet, as Bloomberg reported there wouldn't be a new hardware reveal at E3 2019 for Nintendo. But with the announcement of the Switch Lite, the rumor mill has spun up again.

In a CNET interview with Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser, CNET wrote that "it'll also be the only new Nintendo Switch hardware this holiday, as Bowser says the larger Switch won't get an upgrade right now." This seemed to quell speculation over the more impressive Nintendo Switch. But the upgraded Nintendo Switch might not even necessarily be a new console itself, but an update to the original model.

FCC filings located by The Verge show Nintendo submitting a Class II Permission Change, or a request to alter an existing piece of tech without recertification, to the FCC. In the filing, it lays out a number of changes, including a change of SoC-system-on-chip-and change of NAND Memory type. This isn't uncommon, as companies like Microsoft have made similar console alterations in the past.

However, Digital Foundry's recent analysis of the next Tegra X1 chip pointed towards interesting changes coming to future Nintendo Switches. A Nintendo spokesperson told The Verge today that they have "nothing to announce on this topic;" we reached out for comment, but did not receive a reply by publication.

While we're still mostly left with speculation, a Twitter thread from Mike Heskin corroborates the idea that there is no "Pro" version, but rather an upgrade to the already existing Nintendo Switch. This would include a model number change for the "New" Switch, the new Tegra X1 "Mariko" chip with a GPU revision, and new DRAM with lower battery draw.

It's all still up in the air, but the potential of a stealth upgrade to the Nintendo Switch allows for a number of exciting possibilities, even if it's just a modest performance boost. Considering this new chip is already reportedly in the Nintendo Switch Lite, a theoretical "New" Switch seems increasingly plausible.

Our Takeaways About the "Switch Pro"

Ultimately, dreams of an Xbox One X-style revision of the Nintendo Switch's hardware seems out of the picture. What's far more likely, and seems to be already in motion, is a milder update to boost basic performance. A tune-up, rather than a tank of NOS.

However, with more details of the Switch Lite coming out and the reported similarities between it and the "New" Switch, we might be able to suss out more details of what this updated "Mariko" might be, and what it can do for the console. We might not get two brand-new Switch consoles this holiday season, but a nice boost to the existing console certainly wouldn't hurt.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

In other news

Former Skullgirl Devs Form Future Club, a New Worker-Owned Studio

The creatives behind Skullgirls are taking the wheel.

GhostWire: Tokyo and Deathloop Will Still Be Timed PS5 Exclusives, Phil Spencer Confirms

Bethesda's two timed Sony console launches will honor those commitments in the wake of Microsoft's acquisition.

What Obsidian Is Saying About Fallout: New Vegas 2 Now That Xbox Owns Bethesda

Bethesda and Obsidian are both Xbox studios now. Will our spurs jingle-jangle again?

Warner Bros. Distances Hogwarts Legacy From J.K. Rowling

With the Harry Potter creator facing criticism over views seen as transphobic, Warner is distancing its new game from Rowling.

Need help?

Witcher 3: How to Start the Blood and Wine DLC and Meet Its Level Requirements

We explain how to get to Toussaint and what level you should be when you do.

Witcher 3: All the Correct Play Lines in "The Play's the Thing" Quest

We explain how to perform the Doppler's play with Priscilla, as well as whether to choose tragedy or comedy.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Mystery Gift Codes List (January 2020)

You can get free gifts in Pokemon Sword and Shield by entering certain Mystery Gift Codes. Here’s a full list of all the active codes available right now.

The Outer Worlds Shrink Ray - How to Get the Unique Shrink Ray Science Weapon

This is where you can get the Shrink Ray science weapon in The Outer Worlds, one of the unique weapons in the game.