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Nintendo Switch Pro release date nears as devs report plans for 4K support

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Rumblings of an upgraded Nintendo Switch model have once again surfaced.

Reports of what the internet has dubbed the “Switch Pro” have been circulating online since 2019, and the latest details regarding the expected upgraded Switch models adds more credence that it will support 4K resolution.

Bloomberg‘s Takashi Mochizuki reported Wednesday that Nintendo has reached out to multiple third-party game developers to ensure their titles are capable of supporting 4K graphics. “Several outside game developers, speaking anonymously as the issue is private, said that Nintendo has asked them to make their games 4K-ready, suggesting a resolution upgrade is on its way,” Mochizuki wrote.

The report didn’t mention any sort of deadline for Nintendo’s request, so there’s still no clear timeline as to when the Switch Pro could be released. But this adds to a mounting body of evidence that Nintendo wants to deliver on higher graphical fidelity, a department that the Switch has been lagging behind in compared to Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles.

There’s a mounting body of evidence to suggest the Switch Pro could be announced soon.Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Bloomberg‘s report comes in light of a big boost in Switch production following the global shortages of the console. The Switch’s recent scarcity was primarily attributed to a halt in manufacturing in China due to the coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns in the country earlier this year compounded by a surge in sales at the start of the pandemic when Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on March 20, 2020.

Demand for both the Switch and Switch Lite remain high, and that momentum could continue into the fall and winter with releases of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. But it’s clear that Nintendo wants a little extra oomph to compete with the upcoming Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

The Inverse Analysis — Mochizuki previously reported that Nintendo plans to bow out of the holiday 2020 competition against Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles. Instead, anonymous sources at Nintendo say the company plans to launch an “upgraded model of its Switch console next year” in 2021.

That could mean that the Switch Pro will launch in March 2021 during the three-year anniversary of both the original Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo hasn’t offered any more glimpses at Breath of the Wild 2 after its teaser trailer at E3 2019, so it’s possible that it’s saving the monumental release for a 4K-enabled Switch.

Not to mention Nintendo also restarted the development of the Metroid Prime 4, which might also be a tantalizing Switch Pro launch title. Offering 4K support and delivering on some of its biggest game promises in the next year or two could be just what Nintendo needs to stay in lockstep with Sony and Microsoft.

The Nintendo Switch Pro remains unconfirmed.

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