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Why this Nintendo Switch Pro rumor means more than you realized

With a new Xbox and a new PlayStation both on the horizon, all eyes are on Nintendo in anticipation of its next move in the upcoming console generation. Sony and Microsoft's new systems are looking to be fierce juggernauts, but it seems like the Nintendo Switch Pro could offer up some healthy competition.

Rumors over the next iteration of the Switch have been gaining traction as of late, including the possibility of 4K resolution. The latest rumor, courtesy of Economic Daily News, offered some revealing insight into what gamers could expect when the Switch Pro is released.

According to the report, which was translated by Nintendo Life, the Switch Pro could be packed with a mini-LED display. This does not mean the upgraded Switch Pro will offer a modern take on the Dreamcast VMUs, but rather an enhanced main display on the unit itself. Nintendo Life described mini-LED as "a 'hybrid' of current backlit LCD screens with OLED-style local illumination." What this boils down to is that a mini-LED provides improved contrast while leaning less heavily on battery power. Not only would the images look better, but the system would last even longer in portable mode.

According to Express.co.uk, mini-LED is a cost-effective alternative to OLED, which suggests that the Nintendo Switch Pro could provide an enhanced experience without a greatly enhanced price.

Earlier in the year, there were some rumors that the Nintendo Switch Pro would not be all that powerful. At the time, 4K output and other performance enhancements were thought to be unlikely. More recent reporting on its 4K potential and mini-LED could possibly put to rest any previous fears.

The Nintendo Switch came out in 2017, and in the three years it's been on the market, consumers have already seen two other variants in the form of a battery upgrade and a portable-only model. If the Switch Pro is to launch in 2021 as rumors have suggested, that would mean Nintendo would have released four unique Switch models in a short four-year span. This is not the first time Nintendo has released upgrades in a short period of time. Only two years after the Nintendo 3DS launched, the company already had two alternate models on the market. Gamers have come to expect such rapid releases from Nintendo, but is this a necessary move?

The Xbox Series X and PS5 are almost here, and that's certainly a reason to push Nintendo to up the competition. The Nintendo Switch was already underpowered by its own generation's standards, and the new Sony and Microsoft consoles will be pushing technological limits even further. The Financial Times had predicted that the Series X and PS5, along with other innovative products, would negatively impact Switch sales, suggesting it was time for Nintendo to up the ante.

According to Bloomberg, Nintendo has had a difficult time meeting the demand from consumers. Even after Nintendo placed production orders for 25 million Switch units in August 2020, it still wasn't enough. In order to keep up, factories have been operating at 120% capacity. Even with two new consoles arriving in time for the holidays, the Nintendo Switch is projected to be the winner of the 2020 holiday season. The Nintendo Switch is still a hot item, so it is unlikely that its sales will stagnate soon. As such, gearing up for a new model of Switch could be premature.

As Switch Pro rumors gain momentum, gamers may be inclined to hold off on purchasing the current model available on the market. This could impact potential purchases, possibly reducing how well the Switch would have performed had there been no word of a new model coming so soon. If Nintendo makes any official announcements, that would likely encourage more buyers who would otherwise pick up a Switch to wait.

Regardless, Nintendo shouldn't have too much to worry about. Over three years in, consumers are still clamoring to get their hands on a Switch. A Switch Pro is already looking like it will be what gamers love from the original, with graphics and performance enhancements to keep up with the competition.

As the new Nintendo Switch is still in the rumor phase, much remains to be seen as to its official specs. Will the Nintendo Switch Pro be able to keep up with the big dogs? Will it be a simple memory/battery upgrade? Whatever happens, 2021 looks to be an exciting year for console gaming.