Reports and rumors about a possible Switch Pro with 4K are nothing new. But for the first time, there are tangible indications that Nintendo might actually be working on a new console generation.
“Bloomberg” had reported at the end of September that at least eleven developer studios had received hardware kits from Nintendo to be able to develop games for a 4K-capable Switch. The report publicly names one of the studios, Zynga, in the process. This is only possible for a serious publisher like “Bloomberg” if the studio has given its consent. Nintendo itself and Zynga have meanwhile denied the existence of the alleged 4K developer kits.
Denial just an attempt to keep the development of the “Switch 2” secret?
YouTuber “Nate the Hate” has called in his own contacts to find out what really happened. He’s been right in the past with his prediction that N64 games are coming to Nintendo Switch Online. In a video together with YouTube colleague “Modern Vintage Gamer” he talks about the possibility of a new Nintendo Switch.
The first thing they investigate is the denial from developer studio Zynga. The exact wording of the denial: “Zynga does not have a 4K developer kit from Nintendo”. This press statement could be interpreted as if Zynga did not receive the developer kit from Nintendo itself. It is not uncommon for industry partners to give their kits to others who have not had access to them before. For example, in the case where a smaller studio gets the order from a larger one to develop a game.
Zynga is mentioned by name in the “Bloomberg” report. So the company has no choice but to deny owning a developer kit from Nintendo. After all, the developers are legally obligated by so-called “NDAs” (Non-Disclosure Agreement) to keep the ownership of unreleased hardware secret.
Nintendo itself, which had already shot down earlier “Bloomberg” reports as outright false, has also responded on public relations account on Twitter.
A news report on Sept. 30, 2021(JST) falsely claims that Nintendo is supplying tools to drive game development for a Nintendo Switch with 4K support. To ensure correct understanding among our investors and customers, we want to clarify that this report is not true. (1/2)
– 任天堂株式会社（企業広報・IR） (@NintendoCoLtd) September 30, 2021
YouTubers see this statement as an attempt to reassure investors while still not ruling out the possibility of a new Switch. Their argument is that Nintendo only denies the development of a “Nintendo Switch with 4K support” with the statement. However, this would not categorically rule out a new console, but only the name “Switch with 4K support.” After all, the console could simply be called “Switch Pro”, “Switch 2” or something else entirely.
Also of interest: one mistake Nintendo Switch OLED buyers shouldn’t make
New “Switch 2” could have backward compatibility issues
Regardless of what the new console will be called, YouTubers assume that it will be a completely new generation. Nvidia’s aging Tegra X1 chip can be found in all previous Switch models – including the new OLED model. The chip already does not cope well with some games in Full HD resolution, so completely new hardware is needed for 4K. However, this could cause backwards compatibility issues with previous Switch games. That would mean developers would have to adapt their games for the new console generation, similar to the jump from the PlayStation 4 to the PlayStation 5.
4K capability through DLSS
There are already several clues that suggest Nintendo is working on 4K-compatible hardware. First of all, the dock of the new Switch OLED already supports 4K output – even though the console itself is limited to 1080p (Full HD). Furthermore, Nintendo just patented a technology in early October that uses Artificial Intelligent (AI) to upscale lower-resolution images to 4K. We’re already familiar with the term “upscaling” from many 4K-capable TVs. However, AI-supported “upscaling” is more comparable to the “Deep Learning Super Sampling” (DLSS) technology from graphics card manufacturer Nvidia. This is because Nvidia uses machine learning to achieve the same sharpness in upscaled pictures as in native 4K. Manufacturer AMD also has a similar feature for its graphics cards with “FidelityFX Super Resolution”.
How reliable are the rumors about the Switch 2?
Rumors about a successor to the Switch have been circulating for a long time. However, the Bloomberg report is so specific that work on a new console is very likely. Also, the assessment of YouTube’s “Nate the Hate” and “Modern Vintage Games”, who have their own insider contacts, is that Nintendo and game studios are working with 4K developer kits right now. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean we can expect a new Switch anytime soon. Developer kits are often released early to give game studios time to get up to speed with the new requirements. After that, it may be years before a new console actually hits the market.
- Nate the Hate on YouTube