Nintendo Plans Switch Model With Bigger Samsung OLED Display by Takashi Mochizuki and Sohee Kim for Bloomberg
Samsung Display Co. will start mass production of 7-inch, 720p-resolution OLED panels as early as June with an initial monthly target of just under a million units, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The displays are slated for shipment to assemblers around July, the people said. Representatives for Nintendo and Samsung Display declined to comment.
The latest model will also come with 4K ultra-high definition graphics when paired with TVs, they said. That could intensify a longstanding complaint of developers, who have struggled with the difference in resolution between handheld and TV modes and now face a bigger gap between the two.
It is a new year and a new crop of Switch upgrade rumors are hitting the proverbial streets on the Internet. Bloomberg is reporting that the next Switch will be sporting a 7-inch 720p OLED and have the power to output 4K when docked to a TV.
These are the dream numbers, right? A consistent 720p in handheld mode with a gorgeous OLED. It’s essentially the reverse of the PlayStation Vita; where that console started with an OLED screen that looks incredible and then pivoted to an LCD in the console revision. With more powerful internals and a beefier dock, the door opens up to 4K resolution. The gap in the resolution is substantial, but 720p will look sharp on a 7-inch screen, compared to say a 55-inch television.
Nintendo Co. plans to unveil a model of its Switch gaming console equipped with a bigger Samsung OLED display this year, hoping the larger touchscreen can prop up demand in time for the holidays, people familiar with the plan said.
The real kicker is that it sounds like Nintendo wants to shoot for a release in Holiday 2021. While that puts a damper on my prediction, it would be great timing for the console. Pokémon Legends: Arceus, while wildly cool in premise, looked a bit rough in its reveal last week. The sequel to Breath of the Wild is on the horizon too. The original game was limited both by the Switch itself, and the Wii U cross-generational support. Having a better console could give these new games more opportunities in how they are played and perform.
Nintendo can’t split the install base of the Switch though. The console is on track to surpass the Wii’s lifetime sales of 101 million units in just 4-5 years. It took the Wii 13 years to reach that number. A new, more powerful console would be extremely welcome and help close gaps between Nintendo’s hardware and Sony/Microsoft’s consoles. But I believe it is crucial that all Switch consoles be able to play the same games. Could Nintendo go the route of the 3DS versus the New 3DS, where there were some exclusive New 3DS only games? Sure, but that could introduce confusion to the market and casual consumer. It will be a difficult line to toe.
First-party games could run great on all Switch consoles: Nintendo is one of the best at optimizing their titles for the hardware. Third-party is a different story. The Switch is already leveraging cloud services to run games like Control and Hitman 3. With a “Pro” console, Those games could theoretically run natively. Cloud gaming could be the differentiator, but it requires a rock solid connection and due to the Switch’s portable nature, that is not possible everywhere the console goes. Third parties could create a divide in the user base, but Nintendo needs third-party support as well.
One last fun idea: How great would it be to launch a 4K capable Switch and launch the sequel to Breath of the Wild this Holiday? Nintendo said we’d learn more about the game later this year. Maybe they were holding off until the new console is revealed to drum up hype for the console alongside the game. Zelda is a system seller and it could help encourage fans to upgrade right away, bolstering their launch sales. One can dream…