Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason Nintendo Didn't Announce The Switch Pro At E3

Do you love the Nintendo Switch? Is it everything you want from a gaming system, or do you think it has the potential to be something more? If so, you're probably eager for a Nintendo Switch Pro.

While some speculated in early 2020 that there was a new Nintendo Switch on the way, it wasn't long before fans realized that the Pro system wouldn't release that year. Unfortunately, things weren't looking good for the Switch Pro after Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser revealed that the company was looking to increase the base system's longevity. But the rumors didn't die there.

Momentum picked back up in 2021, when a report from Bloomberg revealed some new clues about the Nintendo Switch Pro's 4K display potential. As E3 approached, the internet was convinced that not only would the event bring news of the next Nintendo system, but that the Switch Pro might be announced ahead of the major expo. Unfortunately, E3 2021 came and went without any mention of an upgraded Switch. If you're scratching your head wondering why there's still no word on the Switch Pro, here are some possible reasons for its absence at E3.

Nintendo wanted to focus on the games during its E3 2021 presentation

Despite any whispers that may have suggested otherwise, Nintendo tweeted exactly what it was going to focus on, in plain sight for the whole internet to see: "Tune in for a #NintendoDirect with roughly 40 minutes of info focused exclusively on #NintendoSwitch software." 

The company didn't lie. It presented almost nothing but new games, though as TechRadar's Adam Vjestica pointed out, the "Legend of Zelda" Game & Watch snuck its way into the show, which does technically fall into the category of hardware. Either way, like Vjestica suggested, something as big as a Switch Pro would have distracted from the company's planned games, and there are some big titles coming down the pipeline.

"Metroid" fans' prayers for a new installment in the franchise were answered when "Metroid Dread" was resurrected. Wario is finally getting his chance on the Switch with "WarioWare: Get It Together." However, the highlight of the presentation was most likely the highly anticipated preview of the "Breath of the Wild" sequel.

Simply put, Nintendo had a lot of important game announcements on its plate that it had to get out of the way before any official word of a Switch Pro could get out.

Nintendo learned from past mistakes

Writing for Polygon, Michael McWhertor said, "Nintendo knows better than to showcase its next major hardware release at E3." After all, the company's poor presentation at E3 2011 is often cited as one of the reasons why the Wii U flopped so hard upon release. According to McWhertor, Nintendo has been announcing new consoles outside of E3 since the Wii U, so the fact that the Switch Pro didn't show up to the 2021 event is not surprising.

You may look at the Switch and think it's so successful that a botched presentation couldn't possibly derail an upgraded version. However, the Wii was also a huge hit, and look what happened to its successor. Even though the Wii U was an entirely new system, it carried the previous console's name — and it still failed to catch on with audiences. 

Some of the biggest flops in E3 history were console announcements, including the infamous Sega Saturn reveal. Nintendo is smart to play it safe and keep its next Switch out of E3 altogether. The industry has entered a new console generation, and there's far too much riding on a Switch Pro to take any chances.

The Switch Pro may simply not be ready

When the Bloomberg report got out hinting at an early Switch Pro reveal, expectations were high — and when E3 was over, questions flourished. Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser had to address the rumors, so he sat down with The Washington Post to discuss what's cooking in Nintendo's kitchen.

With regards to new hardware, Bowser said, "We are always looking at technology and how technology can enhance gameplay experiences. It's not technology for technology's sake." He then went on to explain how much planning is involved when integrating those enhancements, stating, "There's a host of factors that goes into it, and it's something we're always looking at." From this conversation, The Washington Post's Gene Park concluded that "new hardware will be announced when the time is right." 

Bowser gave readers another reason to believe that the Switch Pro is not ready for its unveiling just yet: Nintendo was affected by parts shortages caused by the 2020 pandemic, just like many other companies throughout the industry. Fans may be eager to meet the new Switch, but they certainly wouldn't want the console to be rushed out the door.

Nintendo was already planning to announce the OLED Switch first

On July 6, 2021, the internet finally got to see the next console that Nintendo had been working on behind closed doors. The new Nintendo Switch was announced, and fans were seriously underwhelmed. While gamers had been anxiously awaiting a significantly more powerful version of the beloved hybrid, what they got instead was the same hardware with a few minor improvements, including a better screen, more built-in storage, and an ethernet port in the dock.

Because consumers everywhere were expecting a Switch Pro, it's possible that Nintendo knew it couldn't reveal the new OLED Model Nintendo Switch until all the excitement surrounding E3 had settled. With an upgraded system on the way, fans will probably have to wait even longer for a beefier Switch. That is, if a Pro console is even in the works.

For the time being, Nintendo enthusiasts will have to continue playing their games at 1080p when docked. On the bright side, if one should spring for the OLED model, they'll at least enjoy improved visuals while playing in portable mode.