Nintendo dropped a surprise announcement yesterday for its brand new console, the Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) – yes, that’s the official name of the new product. The main highlight of the updated Switch is the addition of a larger, more vibrant OLED screen, along with a number of other changes.
But beyond the screen upgrade, this OLED Switch is…well, largely the same as its predecessor, for better or worse. While it’s not quite as exciting as it was rumoured to be, the new console will still sell quite well. The thing is, there’s no real need for Nintendo to upgrade the Switch any more than this to keep consumers interested.
This is not a new strategy for Nintendo either. In the past, it has released many different iterations of its consoles in the same generation. Take the Nintendo 3DS: there are a total of four different versions of the portable console. Well, six, if the Nintendo 2DS and Nintendo 2DS XL are also taken into account.
Each new iteration of Nintendo’s consoles bring incremental upgrades, and unsurprisingly, the same applies to the OLED Switch. Compared to the previous version – which may continue to be sold alongside this OLED model – the biggest upgrade is the 7-inch 720p OLED screen from a 6.2-inch LCD panel of the same resolution.
You also get slimmer bezels with the OLED Switch, a sturdier, wider stand that is now adjustable, as well as a new dock with a wired LAN port. Oh, despite its larger display, the OLED Switch still has the same quoted battery life between 4.5 to 9 hours of use on a single charge, so that’s neat.
And…that’s it. Unlike what rumours have suggested, there’s no 4K support when the OLED Switch is hooked up to a TV; it still only outputs up to 1080p resolution like the current Switch. Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) support for improved graphics performance is not available either.
In a statement to The Verge, Nintendo even clarified that the OLED Switch has mostly the same internals as the current model. Well, aside from the larger 64GB built-in storage instead of 32GB.
If you’re an existing Switch user – especially if you purchased the revised 2019 model – there’s little reason to upgrade to this OLED version. After all, most of the upgrades are focused on the handheld experience of the console.
Once the OLED Switch is connected to a TV, you get exactly the same gameplay experience; even the Joy-Con controllers are the same. Unless you absolutely need the LAN port of the new dock, the updated Switch won’t really appeal to current owners.
However, those who own the Switch Lite may find the OLED Switch compelling for its superior handheld experience, though the latter is a much bigger system. More importantly, it’s an especially attractive option if they’ve been waiting for an excuse to get a new Switch that can be connected to a TV – this was one of the disadvantages of the handheld-only Switch Lite.
Besides that, the OLED Switch may just be the one to convince potential owners to pick up the system, regardless of how incremental the upgrade is over the current model. Speaking from personal experience, I wanted to get the Switch for the longest time, but I didn’t want to purchase the older model when a new version is just beyond the horizon.
In fact, that’s exactly what happened when I got myself the original 3DS XL. It was only a couple of months after I got the console when the “New” 3DS XL was introduced.
Now, if I hadn’t bought the revised Switch back in 2019, I would definitely be interested to pick up this OLED model instead, even if it costs slightly more over the existing model. For context, the current Switch retails at $300 (about RM1,250) in the US, while the OLED version is set to go for $350 (approximately RM1,455) once it is available on 8 October 2021.
Yes, the upgrades that the OLED Switch bring aren’t exactly game-changing, but as I’ve said earlier, Nintendo don’t exactly need to update this handheld console any more than what it already did for the Switch to fly off the shelves. It’s already a very successful product as it is.
By releasing the OLED Switch, the Japanese company can continue to maintain the sales momentum of the console, and maybe move even more units with the bigger, better system.
As “unexciting” as the Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) is, I’m confident the new console will still be well-received. While I was personally hoping the Joy-Con controller would be updated accordingly – my right Joy-Con is already drifting a little bit – the new Switch is still a great addition to Nintendo’s lineup.
Hopefully, once the OLED Switch is available here in Malaysia, it won’t be priced too high due to limited stocks – that’s what happened when the revised Switch and Switch Lite arrived here back in 2019.