Discover more from The Shortcut
The rumored Switch Pro isn’t coming as Nintendo looks to the future
Analyst says developers expected a mid-cycle Switch Pro, but it was shelved
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Pro no more
🎮 The Nintendo Switch Pro may have been real at one time
🚮 Digital Foundry says it was scrapped in favor of future plans
❌ Nintendo probably won’t release a new console in 2023
👴 The Switch is still young by Nintendo handheld standards
🤺 If the Switch successor fails, it could be disastrous for Nintendo
There may have been a Nintendo Switch Pro planned for a mid-cycle update, but it was cancelled before it ever saw the light of day.
According to John Linneman at Digital Foundry during the outlet’s end-of-year Q&A session, his discussions with developers indicated that while the Switch Pro existed, the more powerful follow-up to Nintendo’s hybrid handheld console was scuttled in favor of future plans.
He went on to discuss Nintendo’s challenges in replacing the Switch, pointing out the lackluster sales of the Gamecube and Wii U. Nintendo’s future plans, the trio speculated, would need to innovate without straying too far from the formula that made the Switch such a success.
None of the Digital Foundry analysts believes there will be a new console from Nintendo in 2023. That would put the Switch on track to be one of the company’s longest-lived systems when compared to its standard consoles, though it still has a way to go before it matches the longevity of its previous handhelds.
In the meantime, it’s not like there’s a shortage of games on the system, and we’ve got a list of the best Nintendo Switch games for when you’re looking for something new to play.
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The curse of success
The Switch has been a big win for the company, only surpassed by the original Game Boy, which was discontinued after 13 years in service, and the Nintendo DS, which was never officially discontinued, but ran for seven years before the Nintendo 3DS was launched, and another three before Nintendo turned off its online gaming servers for the system.
Nintendo would want to capitalize on this achievement, but it sits in uncharted waters, having merged its handheld and stationary markets. It doesn’t seem likely that the company would take a split path again, but it’s facing new competition in a handheld market it’s dominated for over three decades, in the form of the Steam Deck, which Valve reported in October had crossed the 1 million sold mark, right before it also announced the console no longer required reservations to purchase.
Granted, that pales in comparison to Nintendo’s 2021 Switch sales of 8.23 million units – its slowest full year reported so far – but there’s blood in the water.
Blood in the water
The strong launch of the Steam Deck – and the emergence of handheld cloud gaming consoles like the Razer Edge and Logitech G cloud handheld – doesn’t immediately threaten Nintendo. But for the first time, a handheld has emerged that isn’t just a more powerful take than the Japanese gaming giant’s is; it’s brought with it a massive library of games, many of which are the same innovative indie games made by the same hungry developers that helped make the Switch such a runaway success.
Whatever the big N has planned next, if history is any indication, it’ll bring something new and uniquely-Nintendo to the table. The company hasn’t missed yet in the handheld gaming space, but if it does now, it could make for a far more competitive environment that could put it in a much more challenging position than it’s been in for years.
For even in the dark days of the Wii U, the company had a comfy toadstool made of 3DSes to rest on. A bad Switch successor could sweep the stalk right out from under it.